July’s dinner recipes take full advantage of all the wonderful, seasonal produce available at this time of year. Where I live, this month is just about the end of the local growing season, too hot, while many of you are just reaping the benefits of gardens begun just a few months ago. And, for me, it is also too hot to grill. What you say! Since I am fortunate to be able to grill 12 months a year, the thrill is not seasonal. Some days I do not want to deal with the heat and the hot grill. So. many of my meals on these very hot days are prepared in an air-conditioned house.
Garden Fresh Meatloaf
Serve with a green bean salad and fried Italian peppers, recipes below.
2 lbs. grass-fed, organic, lean ground beef
2 carrots, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
Half of a large green bell pepper, finely diced
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Half pint grape tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup of your favorite fresh herbs, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup ketchup
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup water
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add all the diced vegetables and garlic to the skillet and cook until tender.
Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the beef in a mixing bowl. Add the cooked vegetables, beaten eggs, ketchup, water and bread crumbs.
Combine thoroughly and place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan.
Bake the meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, about 60-75 minutes.
Let rest a few minutes and then unmold, slice and serve.
Green Bean Salad
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
To make the vinaigrette:
Whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a serving bowl; set aside.
For the green beans:
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil; add the beans and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a bowl of ice water. Drain well and toss with the vinaigrette, oregano, feta and onion.
Chill before serving.
Italian Fried Peppers
10-12 long Italian frying peppers
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, sliced thin
½ teaspoon crushed fennel seed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Wash and dry the peppers.
Heat a large saute pan over medium to high heat and add just enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds
Add the peppers and season with salt and pepper. Turn the peppers over a few times to coat in oil.
Add the fennel and oregano and cook for about 10 minutes until soft and beginning to brown. Can be served at room temperature.
Shrimp Tacos For Two
Serve this entrée with a cucumber salad. Recipe below.
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 small clove garlic grated
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, tails removed and deveined
4 corn tortillas
Homemade Tomato Salsa, recipe link
Shredded Garden Leaf lettuce
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese
Combine olive oil, lime juice, cumin, paprika, garlic and red pepper in a zip-top plastic bag, add the shrimp and seal. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Remove shrimp from the bag; discard marinade. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
Arrange the shrimp on the pan and grill 2 minutes on each side.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat 4 corn tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and place them in a metal taco holder.
Place the holder in the oven and heat the tortillas until just beginning to get crispy, about 10 minutes.
Remove the holder from the oven and fill each shell with shrimp, tomato salsa, cheese and shredded lettuce.
Cucumber Salad with Ranch Dressing
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, sliced into 1/4″-thick half-moons
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small sweet onion sliced into thin rounds and halved
¼ cup ranch dressing (recipe link here)
Chopped fresh dill, optional for garnish
Place cucumber slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Alternate the cucumber and onion slices on a serving plate. Drizzle with the ranch dressing, garnish with dill, if using, and serve.
This is a great one pot meal. If you do not have access to fresh cherry peppers, you can use the jarred version instead.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
All-Purpose flour, Kosher salt and black pepper
4 cloves garlic
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
½ cup dry white wine
A dozen fresh sweet red cherry peppers, halved and seeded
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes, optional
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the potatoes to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat.
Season the chicken with a 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.
Cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
Return the potatoes to the skillet.
Add the wine, artichoke hearts, red chile flakes, if using, and cherry peppers.
Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Stir in the oregano and serve.
Grilled Greek Salmon
Serve with a Tabbouleh Salad (click here for recipe link), Tzatziki Sauce and Pita Bread or Chips.
Sumac is a middle eastern spice that’s tangy and a little tart. If you don’t have it, use more lemon zest instead.
1 1/2 lbs fresh salmon fillets, cut into 4 equal pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sumac
Tzatziki Sauce, recipe below
Mix together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, dill, dried oregano, crushed red pepper and sumac in a plastic ziplock bag.
Place the salmon fillets in the bag and close the bag.
Gently massage the marinade into the fish to coat it evenly, refrigerate and allow the fish to marinade for about 30 minutes.
Heat an outdoor grill to medium high.
Place the fish on a foil lined baking sheet skin-side down, turn the foil edges up and pour the marinade over the fish.
Slide the foil onto the grill, close the lid and cook the salmon for about 8-10 minutes.
Remove the foil from the grill by sliding the foil back on the baking sheet.
You can also cook the salmon in the oven.
Bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes.
Spoon some Tzatziki Sauce over the top and serve with Tabbouleh Salad and pita chips or bread.
This sauce is delicious on top of grilled salmon.
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place the yogurt in a medium bowl.
Grate the cucumber on a box grater onto a paper towel, roll up and squeeze the towel to remove some of the liquid.
Add it to the yogurt along with the remaining ingredients and stir.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator before serving.