Summer is a great time to try out your cooking skills. With various fruits and vegetables coming into season, as well as time off from challenging college courses, many delicious recipes can be experimented upon until they are perfected. Whether you have friends coming over, a stay-at-home date night with your significant other, or a family gathering, these 4 easy summer recipes will help you win over your guests no matter the occasion.
Hibiscus, Lemongrass, Basil and Honey Sweet Iced Tea by Half Baked Harvest
This amazingly colorful sweet tea is sure to be a crowd pleaser at any event. Flavorful, full of antioxidants and packed with energizing agents, this drink is both refreshing and replenishing after a hot summer day. This recipe will yield about 1.5 quarts of tea.
- 5 cups water
- 1 lemongrass stalk, thinly sliced, plus extra stalks for serving
- ¼ cup honey (can substitute coconut sugar or maple syrup)
- ½ cup dried hibiscus flowers
- ¾ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice, plus lime slices for serving
- Bring the water to boil in a medium-sized pot. Remove from heat and add lemongrass, honey, hibiscus flowers, and basil leaves.
- Cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain into pitcher and discard the used lemongrass, hibiscus flowers and basil.
- Stir in lime juice and taste; if needed, add more honey.
- Chill until cold. Serve over ice with a fresh lemongrass stalk, basil, and lime.
Grilled Tomato “Lollipop” Toasts by White on Rice Couple
Tomatoes are a summer staple, and this appetizer is the perfect excuse to fire up the grill! This recipe is so simple, yet delicious, and will yield about 10-12 skewers.
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil or grape seed oil
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bamboo skewers
- Sliced crusty bread
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.
- While they are soaking, combine the oil, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a bowl. Allow this to sit for 15 minutes.
- Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes, and remove the stems. Add the tomatoes to the bowl and mix until they are properly coated.
- Skewer 4-5 tomatoes on each skewer, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat the grill to medium/ high heat. Brush the leftover oil mixture onto the crusty bread.
- Grill the tomato skewers for about 3-4 minutes on each side. After, grill the crusty bread on both sides until crispy.
- Spread the ricotta cheese on the crusty bread and top with the tomatoes.
The Main Dish
Summer Veggie Tostada by Like Mother Like Daughters
A more summery version of a traditional tostada, this recipe puts to use many fresh summer veggies. Make sure to take a trip to the local farmers market for this!
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels from 3 ears of sweet corn
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 medium dried zucchini or summer squash
- 1 cup organic black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- Flour tortillas
- Olive oil
- 1 pound peeled and chopped garden tomatoes
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Grated soft white cheese (optional)
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced
- Slice the corn off the cob and sauté in hot olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Season it and remove.
- Add additional olive oil to the pan, and sauté the red onion until soft and begins to brown. Add garlic and stir until the fragrance is released (about 30 seconds).
- Add the zucchini and sauté until it begins to soften (about 2.5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
- Return the corn to the pan and add in the beans and oregano. Stir and heat gently. Add seasoning if desired, and remove from heat.
- Combine the tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set it aside. Brush both sides of a tortilla with olive oil and slide it into a hot nonstick pan over medium heat.
- Gently press it with a spatula, and flip it over when it turns golden and crispy.
- When both sides are done, remove it to a rack and repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- To assemble the tostada, place a couple of spoonfuls of the veggie and bean mixture on the tortilla. Sprinkle with white cheese and add a generous spoonful of the tomato salsa. Top with a few slices of avocado.
Limoncello Pudding Popsicles by I’m Bored–Let’s Go (21+)
Limoncello is an Italian favorite, and this dessert is one that guests won’t be able to pass up. This creamy popsicle is the perfect way to cool off after a long afternoon of cooking, and it can be prepared beforehand, so you’ll have more time to spend with your guests!
- 1 3.9oz box of lemon pudding (instant or cooked)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup Limoncello
- Zest from 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon lemon extract (or fresh lemon juice)
- Combine the pudding mix, milk, and cream in a bowl and whisk for 2 minutes (for instant pudding). If using cooked pudding mix, simply cook according to package directions.
- Add limoncello, lemon zest and lemon extract. Whisk together.
- Pour the pudding mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until completely frozen.