As the saying goes, it’s summer and the living is easy, so here are some of my Favourite Summer Recipes. I hope you will find something to try and maybe even add to your collection to repeat year after year. That is the real secret to making it easy.
Over the years I have created a seasonal strategy and organized some of my recipes so the change of seasons brings me new ideas for every occasion. How do you collect recipes? My haphazard system continues to evolve and there is no secret. Simply collect recipes in a way that makes sense to you. The best method is one that allows you to find the recipe you want, when you want it.
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Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Variety in the kitchen keeps food interesting. There are actual health benefits to eating a varied diet but I simply focus on creating good habits and systems so I can cook a variety of different foods. With so many fruits and vegetables available plus access to ideas from cooks all over the world, the choices are unlimited.
My favourite summer recipes include ones for outdoor dining, barbecues, picnics, family celebrations, potlucks and desserts that are guaranteed to bring rave reviews.. Everyone on a restricted diet will tell you it takes time to get into the groove of preparing more meals and transporting food everywhere you go; but they seem to agree it’s worth the effort and gets easier over time. So pay attention to what doesn’t work for you and see how you can improve.
What’s In Season?
As a young cook, long before the Internet, I so wanted to know what was in season and it took me years to figure that out. Yet when I look at my list it seems so simple, just a few ingredients. Then my husband might buy corn on the cob in June that has come a long way to disappoint a lot of people. Locally grown corn in August is what I will feast on. I also try to avoid paying an arm and a leg for cherries from half way across the world. If I just wait a few weeks I can buy “local” BC cherries for the price of only one arm. If you pay attention you’ll figure it out.
Here is a short list of fruits and vegetables that I look forward to including in my summer meals when they are at their peak.
July – strawberries, rhubarb, cherries, fresh herbs, different greens
August – raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apricots, corn, green beans, swiss chard, snap peas and new potatoes and always more herbs
September – tomatoes, peppers, carrots, zucchini and eggplant
And now the list of what I call my Favourite Summer Recipes.
My Favourite Summer Appetizers
- Spicy Thai meatballs in lettuce cups with fresh mint and cilantro from my herb garden
- Grilled Shrimp Martini with fresh corn in August…the best summer appetizer ever.
Main Courses For Summer
If you do some grilling away from home you need reusable grilling sheets. They can be cut to any size you want so get a few of them. If these are new to you check out this post titled the Reusable Grilling Sheet.
- Southwestern Summer Menu inspired after a vacation to the American southwest.
- Pasta with Fresh Sorrel and Feta Cheese – a soupy sauce made with white wine and chicken stock plus fresh sorrel from my garden. You can skip the sorrel and wine is always in season.
- Grilled Sausage and Vegetable Pizza with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette because everyone needs a special pizza for each season, don’t they?
- Vietnamese Pork in Tomato Sauce is served on a bed of lettuce with tossed with fresh herbs and served with nuoc cham dipping sauce. If you’re looking for something new try it!
- Grilled Salmon with West Coast Dill Barbecue Sauce is super simple
- Thai Turkey Burger is unique yet fits the bill for burger night
- Grilled Chicken with Adobo Paste and my tweet about this recipe says “the best damn rub you’ll make this summer”
- Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad
- Mediterranean Salad Nicoise using green beans from my garden, this is a classic made with canned tuna and perfect for late summer.
- Chicken with tapenade and tomato basil sauce is quick and easy with store bought tomato sauce, just add fresh basil and it is a summer celebration.
- Grilled flank steak with chipotle honey sauce is a favourite for carnivores and who doesn’t love chipotles.
- Tandoori Shrimp on the barbecue should have had a more enticing name, it is finger lickin’ good!
- Bison Burgers with Saskatoon-Blueberry Barbecue Sauce was created after I picked Saskatoon berries in my friends’ garden
Soups, Salads and Vegetables for Summer
Whether it is from my garden, a friends garden or a Farmer’s Market, fresh summer produce inspires me to repeat these recipes.
- Warm Spinach Basil Salad is a salad version of pesto
- A Round Up of Summer Salads I posted last year
- Farm to Table Gazpacho is all chopping and no cooking, find a friend and chop together
- Roasted Tomato Soup for the day my sister tells me she has too many tomatoes
- A simple lettuce salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing and garnished with edible flower petals…because they’re beautiful and you can eat them.
- Green Bean Soup with cilantro and Parmesan cheese may sound unusual but by the end of summer when we have some cool days I can’t wait to make this one
- Corn with Feta and Lime is greatly appreciated after you’ve had it plain with butter many times.
Summer Potluck Salads
At home I put individual portions of any big salad in 1-cup or 2-cup Mason jars and label them gluten free. Then at the party I set the big bowl on the table for everyone and don’t worry about cross contamination.
- Spicy Sesame Noodle Salad
- Apple Quinoa Salad with Feta
- Southwestern Quinoa Salad
- California Roll Salad
- Angel Food Cake with Edible Flowers for anyone up for a challenge
- Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp because rhubarb is prolific and free
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Grilled Fruit Skewers with Honey-Cinnamon Glaze
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches because everyone should have a favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe and a way to turn cookies into dessert.
- Cherry Hand Pies
- Grilled Peaches drizzled with Homemade Raspberry Sauce (I make this sauce with berries from my garden)
- Fruit Tart filled with Vanilla Cream and topped with fresh berries
- Raspberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake made from an everyday brownie recipe
I’d love to hear in the comments below if you have a seasonal strategy to the way you cook or if you found something here that was helpful.