Oh hello Friday. So happy to see you again. How is it already August? I know we still have about a month and a half left of summer but once August rolls around I tend to get that feeling like summer is slipping through my fingertips. I guess your mind gets like that since school used to start back up again around this time. Well that doesn’t apply to us anymore so there is plenty of fun to be had!
Since getting Sadie and moving into our new house we have been doing a lot cooking at home this summer. I always enjoy cooking old family recipes and also trying new ones. My favorite thing to do over the weekends this summer has been going to the farmers market on Saturday mornings and getting fresh local ingredients to cook for dinner. Nothing like whipping up a good meal with summer tunes in the background and a glass of wine in hand. This is the plan for this weekend too.
Since the weekend is upon us I thought I’d share a few great recipes I’ve tried and loved this summer. Most are summer focused but there are a few random ones thrown in here as well but worth mentioning. Some are linked to other sites and some I just note the ingredients and directions below. Enjoy!
#1 Summer Chicken Parmesan – I made this during the work week once and I loved it! There is something so divine about the taste of sauteed crushed cherry tomatoes and zucchini in the summer.
#2 Chicken, Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad: I make this salad every summer. It’s my fav! The amount of ingredients doesn’t matter just add whatever you want! Toss Arugula, chopped chicken breast, chopped watermelon, pistachios, and goat cheese with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I also add a little salt and pepper on mine too. Such a refreshing taste. In order to make leftovers I keep the ingredients separate.
#3 BBQ Chicken w/ Vinegar Marinade and Grilled Mini Bell Peppers and Corn on the Cob: I’m sure you can visualize what this plate looks like because it is the quintessential summer plate. A couple notes on the chicken marinade: before you slather on the bbq sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s) soak the chicken in a vinaigrette and you’ll want to grill the chicken with the marinade on it until you have about 5-10 minutes left to go. Then you will put the BBQ sauce on for the last 5-10 minutes making sure it doesn’t burn. Grilling with this method adds a really robust flavor you won’t get by only using BBQ sauce. When Brett made this we used olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt pepper, soy sauce, and chili powder. Also, have you ever grilled mini bell peppers? If you haven’t you must try. They are easier to make and serve since you don’t need to cut them up. They are just the tastiest!
#4 Bolognaise (pictured above) – This isn’t a summer recipe by any means but sometimes you need an excuse to bust out your favorite red wine on a rainy summer night. Am I right? We have certainly got our fair share of rain lately…I loved this recipe so much I made it twice within a 2 week time frame. A few tweaks I might make next time…add in a pancetta or some fattier meat. I wouldn’t recommend using only ground beef…Make sure you add in a little ground pork. I guess I like a salty fatty flavor to my meat 🙂 I also might add some fresh oregano.
#5 Summer Carbonara – I almost forgot about this recipe I made about 2 months ago. I really established a new found love of pasta ever since we came back from Italy on our honeymoon. I think it’s time to go back…You can do a lot with pasta using simple fresh ingredients. This one is a new favorite and makes great leftovers. I used prosciutto instead of bacon because I prefer it better!
#6 Bratwurst, Stuffed Hamburgers, Caprese Salad, and Potato Salad – This is summer on a plate! Grilling bratwurst is nothing special but we also grilled onion and green/red peppers to throw on top. You can also add sauerkraut. Hamburgers are pretty straight forward when grilling. I love the hamburger meat at the meat counter at Whole Foods and stuffing them with onions and garlic for extra flaver. For the caprese salad pick up fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil at your local farmers market (it is summer after all and makes all the difference!). I add a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to mine. We were also very ambitious and made corn on the cob…because I just wanted to eat all the summery things.
Here is my dad’s potato salad recipe (all the credit goes to him! Leave enough time to prep! About 3 hours before you mix up the ingredients)
Ingredients (can be adjusted based on preference):
6 medium red potatoes
1-2 cups mayo (depends how much you like)
1/2 cup sweet onion (again, less or more based on preference)
salt and pepper
optional toppings below (I love adding bacon and egg)
6-8 pieces of bacon
3 hard boiled eggs
mild cheddar cheese
- Boil potatoes.
- Place potatoes in a covered pot of cold water, place heat on medium, and cook until just tender. Don’t overcook until they are falling apart. May take 30-45 min…or longer. Just keep checking and be sure to cook them slowly.
- Let potatoes cool at room temperature (about 2 hours) then place in the fridge until you are ready to prep.
- When you’re ready, chop up the potatoes.
- Then you’re ready to mix everything in. Start with 1-2 cups of mayo, a squeeze of lemon juice (to your liking), onions, and salt/pepper. Fold mixture 6-8 times. Just be careful not to over fold.
- Taste and tweak as you wish (More mayo or lemon, etc).
- Add in and gently mix other ingredients you want to add. Again, I love to add bacon and egg to mine!
#7 Fresh White Fish and Ratatouille – This is a great healthy meal for you to make. I used to hate the way I cooked white fish until I found this recipe which explains the way the French cook their fish (which is SO good). I will definitely be making this fish again very soon. The ratatouille recipe is a nice side dish to your fish. Note it takes a long time to chop all of the veggies so make sure you save enough time for that.
#8 Cream of Crab Soup – I don’t have the link for this so I typed it up below. We ate crabs over the 4th of July from Steamers and had a lot of leftovers so we saved the crab meat to make soup the following day. The quality of the crab meat you use is very important. It really will make or break your soup so make sure you get great quality lump backfin crab only. Please don’t get the Philips crab meat at the store. It’s cheap but gross and will ruin your soup making efforts.
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup chicken broth (we tend to use more than what this so play around with it if you would like)
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp Old Bay
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1 lb lump crab meat
- Melt the butter in a double boiler. Add the onions and cook until soft.
- Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until combined
- Add the chicken broth, stir frequently until the mixture thickens
- Add the cream and the milk and keep stirring. The soup should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. This will take 20 minutes.
- Add the Old Bay, salt, pepper, and the celery seeds.
- Stir in the crab meat
Note: this soup improved upon standing and the flavors get a chance to blend. Reheat slowly and do not bring to a boil. A touch of dry Sherry is a nice addition as well.
#9 Bouillabaisse – Seafood stews can be tricky but this one is good! Great for a fancy dinner at home for a special occasion…I like this recipe because it isn’t overpowering with the tomato flavor. My mother-in-law made this for us a few years ago when they lived in Charleston. I asked Brett to make this for me for my bday. It is delish! Side note it also makes great leftovers to throw on top of a salad or bed of pasta!
#10 Buttercream Frosting – I celebrated my birthday with my family over the weekend of 4th of July. I have a pretty big sweet tooth so I love a good buttercream frosting. I am a big believer in making your own frosting from scratch whether you are a chocolate or a vanilla person – it is a big game-changer compared to the store bought ones. Highly recommend this one the next time you bake cake or cupcakes 🙂