Summer is fast approaching. In fact, here in Arizona where I live, temps have already hit those triple digits with record heat. With summer comes pool parties, barbecues, and the need to slow down and cool down. It's the perfect time for finding a few easy summer recipes to whip up some cool summer bites.
I always crave salads during the summer. I like light, citrus flavors. I love to eat sushi or a cold ceviche. I love fresh fruit, garden-ripened tomatoes, crisp cucumbers. Oh, and the melons. I could eat melon for every meal. Those are the flavors that scream summer and I started searching for just the right summer bites that cool me down when the days get hot. Here are some of the best easy summer recipes I found.
I love a good ceviche for summer. These are served chilled and they take the heat off with all the fresh flavors. This shrimp ceviche recipe is provided by Sierra Bonita Grill in Phoenix.
- 1 lb Raw Shrimp (peeled, deveined and tail removed)
- 10 Limes, juiced
- 2 c. Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Cucumber, diced
- 1 Serrano Chile, chopped
- 2 TBLS Salt (season to taste)
- ½ bunch Cilantro, chopped
- 1 c. Chopped Red Onion
- 2 c. Clamato
- ½ Avocado, for garnish
- Tortilla Chips
- Marinate the shrimp in lime juice in the refrigerator for four hours or up to overnight.
- Combine the remaining ingredients with the shrimp after it has marinated.
- Garnish with avocado slices and cilantro sprigs.
- Serve with crispy tortilla chips.
Sauce Seasonal Watermelon Salad
Summer means longer days, warmer weather and—back by popular demand—the refreshing Seasonal Watermelon Salad available for $8 at Sauce Pizza + Wine. If you want to try this blend of watermelon, feta cheese, and jicama in arugula and spinach with a white balsamic vinaigrette, you can stop by any of the Phoenix area Sauce locations, or for those out of the area, try your hand creating the watermelon salad at home.
- 5 oz Watermelon, 1″ cubes
- 1 TBSP Red Onion, julienned
- 2 oz Jicama Batons, 1½” x ¼”
- 3 oz Spinach and Arugula blend (50/50)
- 3 TBSP White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 2 TBSP Feta Cheese
- 1 TBSP Pumpkin Seeds, roasted & salted
- Combine watermelon, jicama, red onion, spinach and arugula blend, and vinaigrette in a mixing bowl. Gently toss to combine everything well.
- Garnish salad with crumbled feta and pumpkin seeds.
Mesquite Grilled Steelhead Salmon
Paul Martin's American Grill, with locations in Arizona, California, and Texas, serves “seasonal & delicious” American fare. What's more perfect for summer than a mesquite grilled Steelhead Salmon (which is actually a trout, but in the same family as salmon, and has a flavor much like a Pacific salmon). The salmon is served up on a Quinoa and Bulger wheat salad with a zesty Meyer lemon vinaigrette. If you prefer, you can visit one of the restaurant's locations, or put this on your own grill for a tasty and easy summer recipe.
- 1 filet (6-7 oz) fresh Steelhead or any wild caught salmon
- ½ tsp blended oil
- Kosher salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 portion Quinoa and Bulgur Salad, recipe below
- 1 oz Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe below
Quinoa and Bulger Wheat Salad:
- ¾ cup Quinoa and Bulgur Wheat, cooked and chilled
- 1 TBLS Radish, julienned
- 5 Mint Leaves, hand torn
- 1 oz Fresh, Wild Baby Arugula
- 1 pinch Sea Salt
- 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette:
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ cup Fresh Squeezed Meyer Lemon Juice
- 2 tsp Meyer Lemon Zest
- 2 TBLS Champagne Vinegar
- 1 cup Green Onions, finely sliced, whites only
- ¼ cup Fresh Chopped Italian Parsley
- 1 TBLS Kosher Salt
- Rub salmon with oil and then season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place salmon on the grill with serving side down and cook to medium.
- While salmon is cooking, prep one portion of bulgur and quinoa salad according to recipe. Place salad in the middle of the plate.
- Place salmon over salad when done.
- Drizzle one ounce of lemon vinaigrette on top of salmon.
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
What better way to celebrate the long summer days than with the light and fluffy Whoopie Pie? Lucia Schnitzer, owner of Luci's Healthy Marketplace in Phoenix, Arizona, shares her recipe for red velvet whoopie pies that you can make at home. If you are local, stop by Luci's Healthy Marketplace at 16th Street and Bethany for a selection of fabulous homemade treats and more. You can't buy the whoopie pies at Luci's, but there are plenty of other delicious treats you can take home for summer.
- ¾ cup Butter, softened
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 large Eggs
- ½ cup Sour Cream
- 1 TBLS Red Food Coloring
- 1½ tsp White Vinegar
- 1 tsp clear vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ cup Baking Cocoa
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Baking Soda
- 2 oz Semisweet Chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1 pkg (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened
- ½ cup Butter, softened
- 2½ cups Confectioners' Sugar
- 2 tsp Clear Vanilla Extract
- White Baking Chips, melted
- Finely Chopped Pecans
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs, sour cream, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
- In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
- Stir in cooled chocolate.
- Drop dough by tablespoon 2″ apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are set.
- Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy, then bet in confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth.
- Spread filling on bottom of half of the cookies; cover with remaining cookies.
- Drizzle with melted baking chips; sprinkle with pecans.
- Refrigerate until serving.
One of the things I find with summer is that I want a light breakfast, but one that fills me up. Have you ever tried making overnight oats? These are perfect for busy summer mornings. This recipe, courtesy Chef Julie Moreno at Jewel's Bakery and Café in Phoenix, is easy, quick, and healthy, making it a perfect easy summer recipe.
- 1/3 c. Milk
- ¼ c. Rolled Oats
- ¼ c. Greek Yogurt
- 2 tsp Chia Seeds
- 2 tsp Agave or Maple Syrup
- ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ c. Fresh Berries, or any fruit of your choice
- Combine milk, oats, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, sweetener, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir until combined.
- Fold in fruit.
- Cover bowl.
- Refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.