Ah, summer. A time for lazy evening walks, for enjoying the smell of fresh-mown grass, for gazing up on clear, starry nights.
And, of course, a time for avoiding a hot oven at all costs.
With the long, hot days of summer ahead, here are some easy summer recipes to help you keep your cool.
Cold Dinner Recipes
Here’s an easy, no-cook recipe from Martha Stewart for those evenings when you’re in the mood for something chilled and light. From start to finish, it should only take you about 20 minutes:
Tomato Gazpacho with Prosciutto-Mozzarella Sandwiches
2 pounds plum tomatoes
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 baguette, split horizontally
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
Core and quarter tomatoes, setting two aside for garnish. Combine the tomatoes, tomato juice, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil and puree in two batches in a blender until smooth (about 3 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl. Season gazpacho with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 1 day).
Drizzle cut sides of bread with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Layer prosciutto and mozzarella on bottom half of bread; season with salt and pepper. Close sandwich, and cut into quarters. Garnish soup with diced tomatoes, and drizzle with oil; serve sandwiches alongside.
Cold Strawberry Soup
Another great summer soup recipe is one of the most requested summer dishes from The Esquiline's kitchen: cold strawberry soup, a deliciously refreshing summer meal.
For the complete recipe and instructions, as well as ideas for other summertime dishes, read our blog, The Most Requested Recipe at The Esquiline.
Summer Snack Recipes and Ideas
Here are some light summer snacks that are perfect for when you’re on the go or simply enjoying an afternoon in the sun. First up is a simple trail mix recipe from Taste of Home that’s perfect for your next walk or hike.
Easy Trail Mix Recipe
2-1/2 cups milk chocolate M&M's
1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
1 can (3 ounces) chow mein noodles
1-1/2 cups raisins
1-1/4 cups peanuts
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. For storage, place in an airtight container.
Yield: 8 cups
One of the easiest summer treats to prepare is a popsicle. You can buy popsicle molds at just about any store that sells grocery items, or use plastic cups and popsicle sticks. Then you’re free to experiment with different iced creations.
You can stick with your favorite juice, frozen in popsicle form, or get creative and add some fruit or other fresh ingredients.
For example, mix quartered strawberries with white grape juice and freeze. Or try vanilla yogurt mixed with some of your favorite fruit.
Of course, summer brings us the perfect ready-made snack in the form of fresh fruits. Fruit is a healthy summer snack food alternative that tends to be high in fiber and provides excellent nutritional value without tons of calories.
One tip for enjoying fruit this summer: try freezing grapes. They make a cool and refreshing snack to pop in your mouth when you’re trying to cool down on a hot summer’s day.
Related: Fresh Produce Recipes
Easy Summer Drink Recipe
We would be remiss if we didn’t include a recipe for one of the most the classic summertime drinks: lemonade. Here’s an easy lemonade recipe from the Food Network:
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (5 to 6 lemons)
1/2 to 3/4 cup superfine sugar, to taste
1 cup crushed ice
4 cups water
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Serve over ice.
Healthy Eating, Healthy Living
Healthy eating is an important part of maintaining your physical wellness, which in turn is a vital component of holistic living. Fore more on holistic living, check out our blog, Why is Everyone Talking About Holistic Living?