Hot summer days are perfect for grilling, fun get-togethers, and of course, ice cream. What to eat during the hot summer months is an important consideration, because it can boost your energy levels and make those long work days a little more enjoyable. Hopefully these 7 recipes will inspire you to identify your favorite summertime treats, and combine them with creative new recipes. These dishes are not just great for this summer period; they are also delicious year-round!
1. Caprese Salad
A caprese salad is a simple Italian salad that contains fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. It is also known as insalata caprese which is a combination of mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and basil. If you have not tried eating the dish yet, then you are missing half of your life.
You can always make caprese salad in just 5 minutes or less.
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced into rounds
1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Small handful of fresh basil leaves, whole or torn into pieces
Step 1 : Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then prepare the tomatoes: Slice them into rounds and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before placing them into the oven for 35 minutes (or until they start to brown).
Step 2 : Next, prepare the balsamic dressing: Combine olive oil and red wine vinegar in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together until combined, then add honey if desired (optional).
Step 3 : Remove tomatoes from the oven once they are done roasting and let cool while you prepare the mozzarella cheese slices by laying them out on a plate that has been lined with paper towels (to absorb any excess liquid).
Step 4 : Assemble salad by placing three large basil leaves on each plate followed by two slices of tomato topped with one slice of mozzarella cheese;
Step 5 : Garnish with Basil and serve it.
2. Tuna Pasta Salad
This delicious tuna pasta salad can be enjoyed on its own or served with a side of crusty bread. If you're not a fan of tuna, chicken or ham works equally well. Try experimenting with different types of pasta to see what you prefer.
6 ounces macaroni
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound can tuna in spring water, drained
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
Juice from 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Step 1 : Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to package directions, about 10 minutes. Drain the cooked pasta in a colander and rinse under cold running water until no longer warm.
Step 2 : In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and mustard. Fold in the celery, red onion, parsley, and pickles. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3 : Fold in the drained pasta and tuna until evenly combined. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
3. Chicken Avocado Wrap
This Chicken Avocado Wrap is perfect for those hot summer days when you don't feel like spending hours in the kitchen cooking. It's also perfect for a quick dinner on a busy weeknight.
1 sliced avocado
300 grams chicken breast
100 grams arugula salad
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste
Step 1 : Rinse the chicken breast under running water, pat dry with paper towels and cut into thin slices. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 2 : Heat some olive oil in a pan on medium heat, add the chicken breast slices and cook for about 5 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Set aside and let cool down, then cut into smaller pieces.
Step 3 : Wash the salad, dry with paper towels and cut into smaller pieces.
Step 4 : Cut the avocado into thin slices and pour over with some lemon juice (to prevent it from turning brown).
Step 5 : Cut the tortilla into two halves and place half of the salad on one side of each tortilla. Top with half of the avocado slices, half of the chicken breast slices set aside earlier and season with some more lemon juice if desired.
Step 6 : Fold both sides inwards and roll up firmly to form wraps while securing ends with toothpicks so they don't open up while eating.
Step 7 : Serve it hot.
4. Grilled Chicken with Spicy Peach Salsa
1/2 cup of peach preserves
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound total)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Step 1 : In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine peach preserves, lime juice, honey and cinnamon.
Stel 2 : Stir until mixture begins to slightly bubble. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 3 : Heat grill to high heat. Once heated, lightly oil the grill grate with canola oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Step 4 : Season chicken breast halves with salt and pepper on both sides, then add to hot grill grates. Cook for about 6-7 minutes per side or until cooked through (internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F.).
Brush with peach mixture on each side during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Step 5 : After the chicken is cooked, remove it from the grill ; place on a plate.
Step 6 : Serve it hot.
5. Mexican Taco Pasta Salad
Mexican Taco Pasta Salad is perfect for hot summer days when you want to cook a little, but not too much. It's very versatile and tastes good served either warm or cold. It can also be served as an appetizer or as a side dish with other Mexican meals.
1 lb. ground beef or shredded chicken (lightly seasoned)
1 small onion, chopped
1 small olives
1 jar of salsa (your choice of mild, medium or hot)
2 cups of frozen corn (thawed)
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed, optional
1 package of taco seasoning mix (or use homemade taco seasoning)
1 cup water (or more to taste)
4 cups of pasta (your favorite shape and size, such as rotini or shells)
Step 1: Cook the pasta for about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water until it is cool.
Step 2: Add mayonnaise, sour cream and taco seasoning mix to a large bowl and mix well with a whisk or a wooden spoon.
Step 3: Combine the cooled cooked pasta, corn, tomatoes, olives and green onions in a bowl.
Step 4: Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving so that all of the ingredients can mingle well together.
Step 5: Serve cold with tortilla chips or on top of fresh lettuce greens!
6. Quinoa Spinach Pesto Salad
2 cups cooked tri-color quinoa
1 cup spinach, chopped in small pieces
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: (makes 4 servings)
Step 1 : Cook 2 cups of quinoa according to package directions and allow to cool.
Step 2 : Once cooled, put the quinoa in a large bowl. Add the spinach and mix well.
Step 3 : In a food processor or blender, combine the pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil leaves and pulse until combined.
Step 4 : Slowly add the olive oil with the motor running until completely incorporated.
Step 5 : Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the pesto sauce to the bowl of quinoa and spinach and toss until thoroughly mixed.
Step 6 : Serve warm or chilled as a side dish or main dish for lunch or dinner.
7. Mexican Layered Dip
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
1/2 cup salsa (mild, medium or hot)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 (1-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
3 cups shredded lettuce, divided
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced, divided
1 (8-ounce) package shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 avocados, peeled and chopped, divided
Step 1 : In a medium bowl stir together the refried beans, green chiles and salsa until blended.
Step 2 : Spread bean mixture over a 12-inch platter or in a 9 x 13-inch pan.
Step 3 : In a separate bowl mix the sour cream with the taco seasoning mix; spread over the beans. Top with 1/3 of each: lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and avocados.
Step 4 :Repeat layers two more times.
Step 5 : Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator to chill before serving.
Pulling together a meal isn't always easy, but it doesn't need to be tedious and time-consuming. This collection of recipes is designed to take the hassle out of the experience and help you create delicious meals on a whim.