Things that are fun in the summertime: going to outdoor concerts, attending fairs and festivals, walking in the park and relaxing at the pool. Something that’s not fun in the summertime: spending time cooking, especially in front of a hot stove. Here are a week’s worth of healthy recipes you can make for dinner pretty quickly.
Farmers’ Market Pasta Salad
8 to 10 servings
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced into half moons
- 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1 cup diced firm, ripe fresh peaches (about 2 medium)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- Parmesan Vinaigrette, recipe below
- 6-oz penne pasta
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 10 oz.)
- 1/3 cup torn fresh basil
- 1/3 cup torn fresh Italian parsley
Toss together the first 6 ingredients and half of the dressing in a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions.
Add hot the cooked pasta, chicken and basil to the vegetable mixture; toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a serving platter and top with parsley. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette.
Makes about 1 cup
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Process Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, pepper and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add basil and cilantro; pulse 5 or 6 times or just until blended.
Carrot Spice Muffins
Make these when you have time and store them in the freezer for when you need them.
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup agave nectar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup low fat yogurt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (about 3)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with non-stick spray or use muffin liners.
Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients. Add the liquid to the dry and mix just long enough to combine.
Add the carrots and stir to combine.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups–it will be very thick. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Salmon Cucumber Boats
- 6 oz canned pink salmon, drained or leftover cooked fresh salmon
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons plain low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 cucumbers, peeled
Combine the first six ingredients. Halve cucumbers lengthwise, remove seeds in each half and stuff with salmon mixture. Chill.
Salad with Tangerines
- 4 cups fresh lettuce or spinach, torn into bite size pieces (about 1/2 pound)
- 1 seedless tangerine, peeled, pith removed and sectioned
- 1/2 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tangerines and nuts.
In a medium bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until well combined. Toss with salad mixture and serve.
Chilled Tomato Soup with Melon
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 of small melon, such as cantaloupe or honeydew, plus a wedge of seedless watermelon
- 1/4 cup chopped seedless cucumber, optional
- Basil pesto, thinned with a little water for garnish
In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes with the olive oil, basil, garlic, vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook over low heat until hot but not boiling, about 10 minutes.
Pass the soup through the fine disk of a food mill into a medium bowl to remove the tomato seeds and skin.
Cover the bowl and chill the soup in the refrigerator overnight or quick-chill it by setting the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water.
Cut the melons into 1/2-inch dice. Pour the soup into bowls. Garnish with the melon, cucumber, if using and drizzle with the thinned basil pesto sauce and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The tomato soup can be refrigerated for 1 day without the garnishes.
Grilled Shrimp Pita
- 1 pound large shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided, plus additional for brushing grill
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 3/4 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
- 2 cucumbers (about 1 pound), peeled
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 1/2 pound)
- 1 small red onion, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rings
- 4 whole-grain flat breads (pita)
- 8 small romaine leaves
Preheat an outdoor or indoor grill.
Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Stir together 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon oil and 1 tablespoon each dill and oregano in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to combine. Marinate, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
To make cucumber sauce: Stir together 1/4 cup of the yogurt, half of the garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon dill in a serving bowl. With a vegetable peeler, cut cucumbers into lengthwise ribbons, discarding the seeded core. Toss cucumber ribbons with yogurt mixture and pepper, to taste.
To make yogurt sauce: Combine the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon dill and remaining garlic in a small serving bowl. Season with pepper, to taste.
Toss tomatoes and onion with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil in a bowl.
Grill shrimp, tomatoes and onion in a lightly oiled well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or grill pan or basket, turning once, 5 minutes or until shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, tomatoes are softened and onion is golden and tender. Transfer to a plate; cover and keep warm.
Grill flat bread until golden brown and slightly crisp. Transfer to 4 serving plates; top evenly with cucumber salad, shrimp, onions tomatoes, and romaine, if desired. Top with yogurt sauce.
Rib-Eye Steak with Pistachio Butter and Asparagus
- 2 tablespoons shelled, roasted unsalted pistachios*
- 1/2 cup arugula, packed
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 boneless rib-eye steak ( about 8 oz)
- 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
Process pistachios and arugula in a food processor until minced. Add butter and blend until smooth, scraping down the inside of the bowl as needed. Transfer to a small container and chill.
Heat a charcoal or wood-fired grill to high (450°F to 550°F; you can hold your hand 5 inches the above cooking grate only 2 to 4 seconds).
Coat steaks and asparagus with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill steaks, turning once, until done the way you like it: medium rare or medium.
Grill asparagus in the last few minutes, turning once, until tender-crisp.
Transfer the steak to a cutting board, dollop steaks with butter and tent with foil. Let rest 5 minutes. Slice steak and serve with asparagus.
Make ahead: Chilled Pistachio butter will keepup to 1 week.
*If you can’t find unsalted pistachios, use unsalted butter to balance the salty nuts.
Fresh Grape Tomato Salad
- 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt to taste
- Romaine leaves, optional
Mix tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and garlic powder together in a bowl. Crumble oregano between your fingers to release the flavor and add to the tomatoes; stir to coat. Season with salt. Let flavors marinate before serving, 5 minutes or up to an hour. Serve over a romaine leaf, if desired.
Halibut Kebabs with Grilled Bread and Pancetta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds boned and skinned halibut, cut into 2-in. chunks or firm white fish available in your area (such as grouper, swordfish, cod, etc.)
- 4 cups 1 1/2-in. cubes crusty Italian bread, such as ciabatta
- 3 ounces pancetta, sliced paper-thin
- Four – 10 inch metal skewers
Heat an outdoor grill to medium (350°F to 450°F).
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Add halibut and bread. Toss to coat, then set aside for 5 minutes.
Skewer an end of 1 pancetta strip, then alternate fish and bread cubes on a metal skewer weaving pancetta between them. Repeat 3 times.
Grill kebabs, turning frequently, until fish is cooked through and the bread is slightly charred in places, about 6 minutes. Remove to a serving plate and cover with foil.
Don’t turn off the grill – you will need it to grill some of the ingredients for the salad below.
Grilled Peach-and-Avocado Salad
- 1 large peach, peeled and chopped
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and halved
- 1 firm avocado, peeled and quartered
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups loosely packed arugula
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Process 1 large peach, peeled and chopped; 6 tablespoons olive oil; vinegar and honey in a blender until smooth. Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
Gently toss 2 large peaches, peeled and halved and avocado in 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Grill, covered with the grill lid, 2 minutes on each side or until charred. Slice and serve over arugula. Top with peach vinaigrette and cheese.
- Summer Soups (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Healthy Summer Salad Dressings (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- French Lentil and Tomato Salad (thoroughlynourishedlife.com)
August 21, 2014 at 8:23 am
The parmesan vinaigrette sounds perfect and so many fresh, summery ideas.
August 21, 2014 at 8:26 am
Nice change for salads, Annie
August 21, 2014 at 8:24 am
I havs SO many tomatoes at the moment and I’ve never thought to make a soup that also includes melon! Gotta give this a try!
August 21, 2014 at 8:26 am
You will find it very refreshing, Karen.
August 21, 2014 at 9:00 am
Great choices Jovina. I’m getting in a little slump with my summer cooking. Nice to see some new interesting choices!
August 21, 2014 at 9:02 am
Happy to be able to inspire you.
Our Growing Paynes
August 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm
The cucumber boats are a great idea for a light summertime dish.
August 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm
Yes, perfect for this time of year. Cucumbers are is season and taste good.
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