Cool and Easy Recipes for Summer

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Summer berries.

Summer Berries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the weather forecast, we will be flirting with 100 degrees here in Atlanta over the next week or so … summer has arrived with a vengeance. When it is this hot, it’s time to get out of the kitchen – or at least spend as little time in there as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of light, quick, and easy recipes that you can do in no time flat.

Don’t scoff at summer salads – they are beautiful to look at, filling, and don’t require much stove time – if any. Plus, the gorgeous fruits and veggies available this time of year means a variety of salad options, from a sweet berry salad loaded with blueberries, walnuts, and gorgonzola to something with more zing such as  zucchini and asparagus salad. The great thing about salads is using what you have on-hand (such as all of those gorgeous fruits and veggies you picked up at the farmer’s market) and tossing it together. There’s no wrong way to make a salad – start with one of these great recipes or just make it up as you go along.

Grilling outdoors is a favorite summertime activity. Many apartment communities have outdoor grills available for use. If you don’t have an outdoor area available, a trip to a local park can turn lunch or dinner into an event. When it is just too hot to go outside, a tabletop electric grill is a great alternative. Grilling vegetables brings out the flavor – try using skewers and loading peppers, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and grape tomatoes onto them. Or, toss some eggplant on the grill. Here’s a recipe that just shouts summer: grilled salmon with mango salsa! While you are at it, grill some fruit, such as pineapple slices. Serve with vanilla ice cream for the ultimate summertime dessert.

Speaking of dessert, summer’s bounty of blueberries, peaches, cherries, blackberries, mangoes, raspberries, plums, and melons means Mother Nature has provided dessert for you – just toss some in a bowl and serve! Fruit this good doesn’t have to be baked into a pie or whipped into a cake, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to do just that – at least every once in a while. Try making summertime pies and cakes next time you want something just a little decadent.

Summer means ice cream. My favorite childhood memories involve racing to the ice cream truck after hearing that delightful canned music headed down my street. If you’ve never tried making homemade ice cream, give it a try. You don’t need a special machine or special ingredients – just some time. The best part of making your own ice cream? You get to choose the flavors! From coconut to blueberry to rum, you choose the ingredients and enjoy the results.

Enjoy the beautiful, colorful fruits and vegetables of the season with as little effort and kitchen time as possible – that’s my goal for the summer. What’s yours? Share your best summertime cooking tips with us on Facebook!