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.
Kicking Off Summer with Barritt’s Ginger Beer
And just like that, the summer season has officially arrived. That means BBQ’s, parties, and long days hanging outside. This past Memorial Day, we had a BBQ and it happened to be very very hot (like 95 degrees). I wanted to make some cocktails that are easy and refreshing for really warm day.
To be honest, I am not the best bartender, but I have been experimenting a lot recently. With some recipe research, I found Barritt’s Ginger Beer. This ginger beer helps making cocktails super easy, just adding a few other ingredients. Perfect for a novice like myself. I also liked that they have Diet Ginger Beer option as well.
My husband and his friends are huge bourbon drinkers, so the Kentucky Mule was perfect. It’s one of the easiest cocktails I have ever made. Just bourbon and Barritt’s Ginger Beer, garnish with mint. Really, that’s it. I made these per order, but because they are simple, it wasn’t a problem
For my friends, I have a few that do not drink, so I decided to make a mocktail. I found the Mexican Mule. Another very easy cocktail, just tequila, lime Juice and Diet Barritt’s Ginger Beer. Garnish with lime and jalapeno. I replaced the tequila with lime soda water and it was delicious. I had one and didn’t even miss the tequila. I made a pitcher of it ahead of time (no ice until drinks were served) and guests could add their own tequila if they wanted. Another very easy cocktail and a major crowd pleaser.
Both mule recipes turned out to be a huge hit and made our BBQ that much better. Definitely perfect for those hot, summer days ahead of us.
They also have several other mule options that are just as easy like an Irish Mule, Moonshine and of course, the traditional Moscow Mule. Check out some of their recipes and let me know what you think!
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Until next time,
This Instagram post is sponsored by Barritt’s Ginger Beer, but all opinions and views expressed are my own.