Tag: summer

Pasta Salad Skewers

Finally, a recipe that seems fitting for a summer holiday weekend.  I made these Pasta Salad Skewers for my cooking club, inspired by a pin that I saw from Babble.  They are meant to inspire kids to eat vegetables, but I think they’re fun for adults too!

I used cheese tortellini, grape tomatoes, peppers, cucumber slices, artichoke hearts, and olives.  The original recipe included fresh basil leaves, which would have been a nice touch.  You could even include grilled vegetables like onions, zucchini, and mushrooms.

The skewers are a clever way to serve pasta salad, and would complement any BBQ.  I offered a salad dressing for “dipping” that’s not pictured.  Whether you make these skewers or not, have a great Memorial Day!

 

pasta salad skewer

Roasted Corn and Parmesan Omelet

Can you believe that even after making this large batch of Corn and Zucchini Chowder, there was still a ton of corn left?  My Dad roasted a batch in the oven, and I took some of that home with me, along with a tomato from their garden.  I’ve been pretty busy lately, but I am so happy I took the time the other day to prepare myself this beautiful lunch.

 

 

I was inspired by this recipe for Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Corn, Goat Cheese, and Tomatoes.  Really, you should take a look at the link, the picture is gorgeous.  There’s no real recipe here, but I made a 2-egg omelet using about 1/4 c. of roasted corn, and a large tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan.  At the same time, I sliced the fresh tomato onto a baking sheet and drizzled the slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I baked them at 400F for 10-12 minutes.

In less than 20 minutes, lunch was served.  This was so much better than my other option, yet another peanut butter and banana sandwich. 🙂

 

Corn and Zucchini Chowder

Now this is the perfect recipe for August, and it happened all by accident.  My sister had a ton of corn on the cob left over from my nephew’s party.  My parents had purchased zucchini from the Farmer’s Market the day before, and had thyme and tomatoes in their garden.  We put this all together with some household staples to create a delicious soup.  After a busy few days of parties and birthday cake, we all welcomed a fresh and healthy meal.

I was inspired by this recipe, which uses pureed corn and milk to create a creamy base without using cream.  I know that corn chowder typically includes potatoes, but we didn’t have any on hand and I don’t think you’ll miss them.  This soup is colorful and delicious just the way it is.

 

 

 

Corn and Zucchini Chowder

1 T olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
2 large zucchini, chopped
7 c. corn kernels, divided
2 c. milk
4 c. vegetable broth, divided
1 T fresh thyme
1/2 t black pepper
Fresh tomatoes, chopped
Cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large pot.  Add onion and zucchini, and saute for 10 minutes until softened and lightly brown.  In the meantime, add 4 cups of corn, milk, 2 cups broth, thyme, and black pepper to food processor and blend until smooth.  Add pureed mixture to pot, along with remaining 3 cups corn and 2 cups broth.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes until heated through.  Serve garnished with shredded cheddar and chopped tomatoes.

 

Crockpot Baked Beans with Bacon

My favorite recipe for Baked Beans is a vegetarian one, but we were at a family party a few weeks ago and had an amazing version with bacon.  My Mom tracked down the details, and it turns out to be an old family recipe.  I hate to tinker with tradition but the original recipe used a pound of real bacon and I was convinced that you could get the same smoky flavor with much less.  I also wanted to convert it to a crockpot recipe since oven space is a precious commodity when you are cooking for a crowd.

This recipe was easy to put together, and makes a lot of baked beans.  Good thing we had that much, because they turned out to be quite a hit at the party.  In fact, there was only a large spoonful left at the end of the night.  I like using a mix of beans, but you can use whatever you happen to have on hand.  I am not ready for summer to be over, but if you must have an ‘end of summer’ BBQ, you might want to give these a try.

 

 

 

Crockpot Baked Beans with Bacon

12 oz. turkey bacon, such as Oscar Mayer
2 (15 oz.) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 oz.) cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (26 oz.) jar pasta sauce
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

Cook bacon in a frying pan until crispy.  Cool slightly and crumble.  Add crumbled bacon, beans, and sauce to the crockpot and stir well.  Cook on High for 3-4 hours, then turn to Low until ready to serve.

Summer Orzo Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

I was inspired by this recipe from Cooking Light, but think of this as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style salad.  Choose a pasta.  Choose a variety of fresh vegetables, and don’t forget the avocado.  Choose a fresh herb or two.  And then toss it all together with a spicy buttermilk dressing.

This combination in particular was good, but not spectacular.  The salad needed something else – maybe some queso fresco, or perhaps something crunchy like pumpkin seeds.  The buttermilk dressing has a nice kick, but be sure to make some extra so the salad isn’t dry.  This was a fun adventure, but I’ll just choose a slightly different path next time!

 

 

Summer Orzo Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

1 c. orzo, cooked and drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved
1 green pepper, chopped
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts only, chopped
2 c. mixed greens
1 avocado, diced
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/4 c. buttermilk
3 T lemon juice
2 T plain Greek yogurt
2 T light mayonnaise
1 t chili powder
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t red pepper
1 t minced garlic

Mix orzo, tomatoes, pepper, scallions, mixed greens, and basil in a large bowl.  In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk, lemon juice, yogurt, mayonnaise, spices, and garlic.  Toss dressing and salad.  Chill before serving.

-Adapted from Cooking Light

 

Zucchini Cheddar Drop Biscuits

I’ve had this recipe for Zucchini Cheddar Drop Biscuits saved on my Pinterest for months.  I was fortunate enough to be invited to a dinner party, and thought it would be a good opportunity to try the recipe.  I felt very Southern taking a dishtowel-lined basket of biscuits to a party, and I am happy to report they were a hit!

I changed a few things from the original recipe, cutting back the salt and increasing the amount of zucchini.  You might notice that these biscuits appear a little flat.  I think the extra zucchini may have weighed them down a bit, but the texture was still fairly light.  Although I love just about anything with zucchini, I think it’s the cheese that really makes these taste great.

If you have some extra zucchini around, try these biscuits for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  If you still have extra zucchini, drop them off at my house please.  🙂

 

 

Zucchini Cheddar Drop Biscuits

1 c. shredded zucchini
2 1/2 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1 stick butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 c. nonfat milk
1 c. shredded cheddar, such as Cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar

Place shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Press with a fork, and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Cut in butter with two knives, or a pastry blender, until all of the butter pieces are the size of small peas.  Add milk, cheese, and drained zucchini.  Drop batter in large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes.

-Recipe slightly adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

Spinach Basil Hummus

My extended family has an annual summer picnic complete with swimming and bocce, and I was assigned to bring chip and dip.  There is some seriously good food at this picnic, including several traditional recipes like my favorite Zucchini Appetizer, my Mom’s Potato Salad and Lemon Squares, and even Pizzelles.

I wanted to bring something relatively simple but flavorful.  While I am definitely not the first person to put spinach in hummus, I threw this dip together without working from a specific recipe.  I think it came out pretty well, although it had to compete with a lot of other great appetizers.  But with fresh basil, this dip would be good for any summer party.

 

 

 

Spinach Basil Hummus

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 (15 oz.) cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 T minced garlic
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper

Puree all ingredients in a food processor.  Chill and serve.