Spring and summer are some of my favorite times to cook. I love anything on the grill, salads, and lighter recipes on warm, summer nights. We cook a few recipes often that I wanted to share with you guys. They are easy (like just a few steps) and could also be great for entertaining. Let me know if you guys make any! I would love to see if you make any 🙂
Pico de Gallo- This is Manny’s speciality. It is requested at every party we have. This isn’t just any pico de gallo, there are a few key steps he takes that makes all the difference.
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 2 jalapenos
- handful of cilantro
- 1 lime
- salt to taste
- pinch a garlic power
- Dice tomatoes, onions, jalepenos and cilantro. Mix together.
- Add juice from the lime, salt, and garlic. You can add more lime juice if you would like.
- Let is sit from 1- 2 hours. (this is key! it makes all the difference)
Grilled Pizza- Have you ever said to yourself in the summer, “no, I will not turn on the stove on a 90 degree day because it’s just too hot out”? That happens to me so much! In Chicago a few weeks ago, it was blazing hot for a few days and there was no way we were cooking inside. I decided to make a pizza on the grill. Simple, but you can make it what you want. Meatless, no sauce, etc. Great for a light, summer meal.
I got all my ingredients from Mariano’s, but I know Trader Joe’s carries very similar ingredients. After one failed attempt (I couldn’t lift the pizza on the grill without all the toppings sliding off!), there is one key I learned on grilling it.
- 1 ball pizza dough (about 1 pound), store-bought.
- 16 oz. San Marzano tomatoes
- Cheese such as torn mozzarella (Mariano’s has delicious housemade mozzarella!), grated Asiago or Parmesan
- Toppings such as herbs, thinly sliced vegetables, pepperoni and salami, prosciutto, chopped greens such as kale or green peppers
- Olive oil
- Tongs for grilling
- Heat the grill: My grills get to 600°F with the lid on. Aim for at least 550°F. Direct heat is best. Every grill is different so keep an eye on the heat.
- Prep your dough: It should be stretched or rolled out into a thin circle. (I don’t own rolling pin, so I use a wine bottle. Works just the same!)
- Brush the dough with olive oil on the side you will place down onto the grill
- Grill one side of the pizza (this is absolute key! I didn’t do this the first time and the toppings slid right off). Let the dough cook for about 3 minutes, with the lid off, or 1 to 2 minutes with the lid on.
- Top the pizza. Spread on a thin layer of sauce or tomatoes, cheese, and toppings. It shouldn’t be too heavily loaded, or the pizza won’t cook well.
- Cook the pizza with lid on for 3 to 5 minutes. The edges should be crisp and well-done, and the cheese should melted.
- Drag the pizza off with the spatula or tongs and let cool.
Pasta Salad with Veggie Pasta- I discovered veggie pasta when I had my son because I needed ways to sneak in veggies. I like Barilla, but there are other brands as well. I find this has the most comparable flavor to regular pasta. I love making this early in the week and using it for leftovers for lunch. I load it up with lots of veggies and it makes a healthy week day meal.
Serves: 4-6 people
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes
- 1 box of uncooked pasta, of your choice (I like veggie pasta)
- 1 medium squash, diced
- 1 medium cucumber, diced
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 8 oz cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1⁄2-3⁄4 cup Italian salad dressing (to taste)
- 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise (I like Kraft Olive Oil Mayo)
- 8 oz. reduced fat feta cheese
- McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning (I buy this in bulk and put it on every salad. I’m obsessed)
- salt and pepper
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
- Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.
- While pasta is cooking, dice and chop your veggies.
- Drain and pour pasta into a large dish.
- Stir in veggies.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the salad dressing and mayonnaise, then pour this mixture over the salad and toss again, to coat.
- Top with feta and McCormick Seasoning.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve. I prefer at least 30 minutes chilled, but it’s ready in 15 minutes or so.
Until next time,