Favorite Summer Recipes

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, May 10, 2011.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Warm weather is upon us, so I thought a thread about what we like to make and eat in the summer would be fun.

    I especially like to do sandwiches and crock pot foods and things that don't need to heat the whole house up. I have both a George foreman grill and a sandwich maker along with two crockpots. They get a real workout in the summer. We don't have a grill that works so I don't grill.

    One of our favorite quick things is to do grilled cheese in the sandwich maker. Lots of the time we do a healthier sort of grilled cheese by making toast and then putting slices of american cheese on them and microwaving them for a few minutes. Really cuts down on the grease and fat, esp with lower fat cheese.

    But with the sandwich maker I use a thin smear of cream cheese, sliced american or sharp american (from the deli), and then spray the cooking surfaces with cooking oil spray. I do NOT butter the bread or spray it directly. It gets some oil from the spray and that is enough to make it yummy.

    If we have it, this is yummy with a bit of good ham or crispy bacon. The kids like to dip the sandwiches in ranch as they eat.

    I also do a great salad of diced roma tomatoes, burpless cucumber, thin sliced red onion and some chopped fresh basil in a dressing of olive or grapeseed oil, vinegar and a little bit of sugar. I let this sit for a few hours up to a day (never lasts longer than that) and the flavors blend super well.

    Years ago husband and the kids fell in love with the Tuna Skroodle at Souper Salads. It is a pasta salad with tuna in it, served cold. I mix shaped pasta like rotini or farfalle with a can of tuna, ranch, mayo, chopped cucumber and shredded carrot, sometimes even a big handful of shredded broccoli stems (TONS of nutrients, fiber, fairly neutral flavor, good texture for us) and chopped eggs.

    My absolute FAVORITE summer dessert is frozen lemonade pie. I fell in LOVE with this when I worked at Bob Evans. Thankfully as a manager I was able to learn their recipes for stuff they made in the store like this and their ice cream pies.

    Lemonade pie has a graham cracker crust. Mix 1/2 of a container of lemonade concentrate (thawed) with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (like Eagle milk but any brand will work). If you want to add yellow food color you should do this at this point, just a couple of drops. I don't use it. Then I whip 2 cups of whipping cream (aka heavy cream) with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. You can use a small container of cool whip type topping if you want. You can put 1/4 cup of sugar in the cream as you whip it if you want, though we like it a bit tarter so we leave it out. Fold the cream and lemonade concentrate mixture together just until mixed. Put into the crust and freeze at least 3-4 hours. You can sprinkle the top with colored sugar or other sprinkles if desired. Serve frozen. YUM!!

    The cornstarch in the whipped cream will stabilize it and keep it from deflating. This can be done in most any recipe calling for whipped cream. There is a company called Oetker or Dr. Oetker, forget which, that sells packets of stuff called stabilizer for whipped cream. It is basically corn starch and stuff to keep it from caking. The genreal rule is 1 tsp cornstarch for every cup of cream. Put it in the cream when you start to whip it and then whip as normal. It can make a big difference in how well a dessert holds up if you serve it in a hot room or if you whip the cream ahead of time.

    I hope you all enjoy the recipes. I cannot wait to see and try some of your favorite summer recipes!!! Also if anyone has recipes using crescent rolls (from the tubes in the dairy section) I would love to have them. Walmart now makes a generic version that is just as good so they are a lot mroe affordable for us.
     
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Mmmmmmm. Now I'm hungry. lol

    My crockpot gets a major workout in the summer. Which is why I went and bought a new one.

    I wish someone knew how to make cornbread in a cast iron skillet on the stove instead of in the oven. That's usually one thing I give up over the summer due to how hot the oven makes the house. mother in law used to do it that way but I was never around when she made it.
     
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    We have The Griddler (it's really PCs but we use it) and I grill everything on it from burgers (for H) and chicken and veggies, paninis, everything! And everything comes out great, juicy, yum. In summer, we mostly grill; H won't have a gas grill, so it's the old Smoky Joe, charcoal style for us. If we're running late, I pull out the Griddler.

    On the smokey Joe I've made pizza, dinner rolls (pillsbury kind), and rotisserie chickens. Anything to avoid use of the oven!

    Instead of a heavy tomato sauce, I'll make a light sauce for pastas by using a can of petite diced tomatoes with the flavorings, my favorite is the basil garlic. Anyway, I'll usually boil some sausages, drain, cut them up and place into a large skillet. Add the can of diced tomatos, then I will add a touch of olive oil, some Italian spices, calamata olives, and capers. Set to simmer while I cook some pasta such as angel hair. Toss gently and serve. Make sure the pasta is well drained or the sauce will get watered down. Serve with some fresh ciabatta bread, lightly brushed with olive oil and grated parm, toast lightly.

    For desserts, we usually stick with fresh fruits jazzed up, such as berries and whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce. I enjoy sorbets, but they can be loaded with sugar, so you can take a bag of frozen mixed berries, thaw a little, place in blender with a touch of lemon juice and puree. Sweeten with splenda to taste, place into container and freeze. Voila! Homemade sorbet without all the sugar.

    So that's all I can come up with so early in the day!
     
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I love pasta salad, tuna salad, egg salad... But the kids don't like pasta salad, Jett doesn't like tuna salad, and Onyxx doesn't like egg salad (though she loves tuna salad with eggs...) Cold stuff.

    We try to grill burgers and hot dogs or bratwurst fairly often.

    I love - LOVE - cold leftover fried chicken. The kids won't eat it unless it's hot. And it makes me NUTS that they (mostly Jett now) won't eat ALL the meat off the bone - OH NO, might TOUCH some cartilage! My Grandma would've smacked my rear.

    I try to make lighter stuff, but I have picky kids. Sigh.
     
  5. ML

    ML Guest

    Manster and husband are also very picky so I seldom prepare my favs: pasta salads, salad with diced up chicken, for that matter anything chicken. husband hates chicken.

    Sus that lemonade pie looks amazing. I wonder if you could do a lower fat version -- of course it wouldn't be as good but I'd like to try.
     
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Farmer's Market starts this Friday night! This year, I definitely want to try grilling veggies and fruit. A friend of mine is King of the BBQ (even has his own table at a local BBQ restaurant), and last time we were at Tony's for dinner, he grilled salmon on cedar plank, and zucchini, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, onions, and yellow squash, and for dessert, peach halves and bananas on the grill. OMG.

    It gets so darned hot here that I fix lots of salads and sandwiches. I probably won't use my oven again till October.
     
  7. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hot weather = wraps... on cold, rainy days, we plan on cooking a larger meat supply... ham, chicken, pot roast - the "left-over" meat (as in, "planned left-over") is chilled, taken off the bone, and put through the grinder (way faster than chopping fine!) and put into 2c containers... keep out what can be used in 2 days and freeze the rest...

    Wrap = tortilla, meat, all sorts of raw veggies (grated or chopped fine), sour cream or other additives as desired, topped with grated cheese before rolling, and eaten COLD. If its hot enough out (we don't get SO hot up here, but can get 80+ for a week or two at a time...) we have this almost every day.

    Each person makes their own... so, one person doubles the onions, the next leaves it out, etc. - helps with picky eaters, too!

    Add fresh fruit (berries! yum!) and/or sorbet etc...
     
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If you can find the Flat Wraps in the bakery or deli section, buy the light ones (the light Italian flavored ones are awesome tasting) and use them for wraps instead of the tortillas. They have a whopping NINE (yes, 9) grams of fiber in ONE wrap. the fiber bars tend to have around 5 per bar! They are also BIG so you can spit one iwth someone or save half for later if you don't have the appetite of a teenage boy or adult male who hasn't eaten in 12 hrs, lol! They add a LOT of flavor also.

    For a FAST pasta salad, cook the pasta and when the water is back to a boil after adding the pasta, toss in frozen veggies of your choice. If you have raw chicken instead of already cooked chicken, you can add it with the pasta when you put the pasta in. Just use a pasta that needs about 10 min of cooking. THen you can just drain it all and not have other pans to wash.

    Another hint for pasta salad is that if you want to serve it cold, chill it BEFORE you add the dressing. The pasta will absorb a LOT of salad dressing or whatever if you add it while hot. Then you don't get the flavor of the dressing (I use ranch mostly) unless you add a lot more b ut you get a whole trainload of calories. I usually toss the pasta while I spray cooking oil like Pam or from a pampered cheff type sprayer. This keeps it from sticking and doesn't add nearly as many calories or grams of fat.

    Another hint for keeping the summer bills down, esp if you are NOT an extreme couponer with a ton of bottle of dressing in the pantry, is to buy your ranch dressing in the institutional or bulk size. Usually you can get a gallon of ranch for around $7 to $9. Here a 24 oz bottle of the store brand of ranch is around $3, so for the cost of 2-3 bottles of ranch you get 128 oz (1 gallon). If you have washed some old dressing bottles or even have some mason jars and lids or other containers you can divide it into other containers and ti will last for about 3 mos in the fridge. Putting it in smaller containers means a kid doesn't pour too much and your hand/arm doesn't hurt when you pour out dressing. Instead of taking the entire seal off of the top of the container, put a hole in the edge of the seal near the rim on one side and on the other put a smaller hole. Then you have a pour spout and enough dressing to keep you in salad and pasta salads for a long time to come. I actually figured out last month that if we throw away HALF of the gallon container we have STILL saved substantial amts of cash on dressing - which is amazing, in my opinion. I often get the Sam's brand of ranch and it saves even more. But most Walmarts carry the industrial gallon size Kraft Ranch dressing in the grocery section if you don't have a Sam's nearby.

    For an AWESOME creamy frozen treat try freezing a banana or two and then tossing them into the blender. Or mashing bananas and putting them in the icecream maker. NO other ingredients needed to make a sweet, creamy wonderful treat. husband didn't believe me and onlly ate a bite or two of the frozen banana puree because he thought it must have a TON of fat in it. Then he and thank you forgot I had just done it the week before and saw something about it and tried it. THEN he remembered and he and thank you ate an entire bunch of bananas made into this 'ice cream' in one sitting!

    As for making my lemonade pie lower in fat, of course you can. If you can find light or low fat condensed milk it can be used. You can also use low fat or even fat free cool whip type topping instead of the whipped cream. We don't do that because all the chemicals in cool whip make me really sick and Jess also (migraines), plus we like the taste and feel of real whipped cream. You can even whip milk that is lower in fat if you are patient enough and get the milk, bowl and beaters cold enough. Takes MUCH longer to whip, not sure if the cornstarch would stabilize it but would try, and if it gets warm you have lost the battle. I read about this being done at a restaurant in a magazine a few years ago. You can also use low calorie frozen lemonade concentrate if you can find it and use splenda or nutrasweet to sweeten the cream if you want.

    Heck, it still tastes awesome if you use frozen pink lemonade, limeade, or even strawberry dacquiri mix (like bacardi). A friend tried it with the peach-white grape juice concentrate (welch's brand) and it was really really bland tasting though. Just remember to use six oz of frozen concentrate to 1 can of eagle milk and 2 cups of cream, whipped (or 1 reg size tub of coolwhip. or half of the big tub of coolwhip).

    Heck, you can even skip the crust if you want.

    When I can find it I will post a recipe for an AMAZING frozen coffee icecream. I got it from a restaurant that went out of business and it is AMAZING.
     
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Split a wrap? are you kidding? or maybe we're just active (not athletic - not a single sport between us - but with two larger dogs, two "teens" and a raft of renos on a regular basis...)

    In our house... "Adult and near-adult" males eat TWO, "adult and near-adult females" eat either 1.5 (ok, ok, so I guess we DO split one - sort of! - we split the wrap, then fill separately) or two depending on the day...

    But then... when its "fill your own", you get... adult male with wrap so full it splits (almost every time), and sub-adult female with more wrap than filling!

    C'est la vie! (that's life)
     
  11. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    For the wraps we use the tortillas I get the section where you buy taco stuff. I usually put meat from a rotisserie chicken, lettuce, salsa and cheddar cheese. A fajita.

    I put frozen waffles in the toaster and instead of syrup, I put ice cream and make a sandwhich out of it. It's awesome for breakfast, or you could just buy ice cream sandwhiches and skip the toaster! I just made easy child some frozen waffles topped with whipped cream and strawberries...he acted like I was the greatest chef ever!
     
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    What about an electric fry pan for cornbread?

    BAKING IN YOUR ELECTRIC SKILLET: Certain kinds of cakes, such as coffee cakes, cake mixes, and any muffin or modified conventional method cake can be acceptably baked in an electric skillet. For baking CORN BREAD MIXES, follow the instructions below.
    Corn Bread Mix

    • 1 box packaged corn bread mix
    Prepare according to the directions on the package. Pour batter into a baking pan that fits loosely in the skillet and place on a low slotted or perforated rack to prevent burning at the bottom. If you do not have a rack that fits in your skillet, metal skewers or poultry lancers may be used to rest the baking pan on. Place the cover slightly ajar on the skillet and bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until done.
     
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