Comfort food is easy when it’s cold outside, but can be challenging to stand over a stove or a fire in the heat of summer.
Luckily, summer also brings fresh produce, and plenty of ideas for cool foods, light meals, and frozen drinks and treats.
These recipes focus on fresh items to create satisfying but not heavy dinners for hot summer days. And… if you’re one of those jolly folks who celebrate “Christmas in July” or just want a non-traditional cold drink, you can have:
FROZEN HOT COCOA
Melt chocolate in a the microwave on half power, in 20 second increments, stirring until smooth. Once melted, stir in hot chocolate mix, sugar and
a little bit of milk. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
In a blender, add some more milk, a few cups of ice, and the melted
chocolate mixture. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately, topped with fresh whipped cream.
BACON BLEU CHICKEN SALAD
- 2 cups spring salad mix
- 1 small chicken breast
- Pepper and Garlic Salt
- Italian seasoning
- 1 rasher of bacon; cooked, chopped
(a rasher is a “portion” so, depending on how much you like
bacon, this can be one or ten slices!)
- 1/3 cup candied pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese or Gorgonzola
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- Optional salad veggies: cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions
You can also use your favorite blue cheese dressing instead of ranch and crumbled cheese.
Lightly sprinkle both sides of each chicken breast with garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Grill chicken breast and chop into bite-size pieces. Assemble all other ingredients into a bowl and toss.
- 5 cups cubed watermelon (from 1 watermelon)
- 1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced
- 2 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Process watermelon, cucumber, onion, and jalapeño in a blender until smooth. Stir in vinegar and salt. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes. Serve in small bowls or glasses.
- 1 750 ml bottle hearty, bold rosé (such as a Pinot Noir or Merlot rosé)
- 1/2 cup sugar • Strawberry syrup
- 8 oz strawberries, hulled, quartered
- 2-1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Pour rosé into a 13”x9” pan and freeze until almost solid (it won’t completely solidify due to the alcohol), at least 6 hours.
Meanwhile, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add strawberries, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes to infuse syrup with strawberry flavor.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl (do not press on solids); cover and chill until cold, about 30 minutes. Scrape rosé into a blender. Add lemon juice, 3½ ounces strawberry syrup, and 1 cup crushed ice and purée until smooth. Transfer blender jar to freezer and freeze until frosé is thickened (aim for milkshake consistency), 25–35 minutes.
Blend again until frosé is slushy. Divide among glasses. Rosé can be frozen 1 week ahead.
A refreshing ending to your summer party.
- 2 cups fresh strawberries*
- 2 cups buttermilk • 1 cup sugar
- 1 t. vanilla extract • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs
Process strawberries in a food processor or blender 30 seconds or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Pour strawberry puree through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing with back of a spoon. Discard solids. Add buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla to puree; stir until well blended. Cover and chill 1 hour.
Pour strawberry mixture into freezer container of a 1-1/2 qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze.
If you do not have an ice cream maker, place the mixture in a deep stainless steel baking dish and freeze for 45 minutes. As it begins to freeze near the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir vigorously with a spatula. Return to the freezer.
Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it’s freezing. If you have a hand held mixer or blender, use one of those. Repeat this process for 2 to 3 hours, or until frozen.
*16oz. package frozen strawberries, thawed, may be substituted.