Five Summertime Recipes

Posted on 04/14/2015

The only thing I love more than cooking, is cooking during the summertime.  Crawling out of the annual Midwestern-winter slumber, there’s something so refreshing about cooking fresh, healthy foods over the course of the spring and summer seasons. 

I want to keep the introduction of this blog post short for two reasons.  First and foremost, I’d prefer to spend more time discussing the individual recipes, while sharing photos of the final products.  Secondly, less time reading = more time grocery shopping!  Follow the simple steps below.

Read the blog post. 
Go grocery shopping.
Return home.
Poor a glass of your favorite beverage.
Put on your favorite music playlist.
Get to cookin’!

1.   Grape and Almond Chicken Salad

A perfect mix of sweet and salty.  This recipe includes red grapes, almonds, avocado, mixed greens, chicken and amayonnaise-based dressing.  Start by grilling the chicken.  While the chicken is cooking, gather the mixed greens, sliced red grapes, diced avocado and almonds into a large mixing bowl.  Once the chicken is fully cooked, it can be either cubed or shredded and then added to the salad.  In a separate small mixing bowl, stir two-four tablespoons of mayonnaise topped with mixed herbs, salt and black pepper.  Once completely stirred, complete the final step by adding the dressing to the salad.

Grocery List // Mixed Greens Lettuce, Red Grapes, Avocado, Almonds, Chicken Breast, Mayonnaise, Herbs, Salt, Black Pepper

2. BBQ Chicken Infused Sweet Potato

Capture summer BBQ flavor in a single bite!  This is one of the best recipes I’ve tried in quite some time.  Plan ahead, the prep time for this meal is approximately one hour.  Begin by preheating the oven to 450 degrees.  Clean the required number of sweet potatoes (one small-medium sized sweet potato per person).  Once cleaned, I prefer to wrap my sweet potatoes in tin foil.  Use a light brush of olive oil to avoid sticking.  Place in the oven for a total bake time of 45 minutes.  On the grill or in a pan, fully cook a single or multiple chicken breasts (depending on the number of hungry eaters).  Add a few tablespoons of BBQ sauce near the end of the cooking process.  Mix and lather.  Once the chicken is fully cooked and glazed in sweet, zesty BBQ sauce, begin the step of shredding the chicken.  For this step, I prefer to use a fork to simply pull (shred) the chicken into small pieces.  Once the 45 minute timer sounds, remove the sweet potato from the stove, placing it into the bottom of medium sized bowl (a cereal sized bowl works best). Execute a midway cut, partially slicing the sweet potato in half.  Gently mash.  Once the base is set, add the shredded chicken topped with black beans, sliced green onions and feta cheese.  Let the dish sit for five minutes before eating.  This allows all of the flavors to mix.

Grocery List // Sweet Potato, Black Beans, Green Onions, Feta Cheese, BBQ Sauce, Chicken Breast

3. Avocado and Strawberry Slaw

The simplest of today’s five recipes, this meal takes minutes to complete.  Begin by placing a handful of broccoli slaw on a plate or in a bowl.  On a separate plate, slice an avocado and a handful of strawberries.  Add the sliced foods to the bed of slaw.  Top the dish with an Asian-themed dressing of your choice.

Grocery List // Brocolli Slaw, Avocado, Strawberries, Asian-Themed Dressing

4.  Cauliflower Bacon Mash

This recipe is a great substitute for traditional mashed potato recipes.  With less starch (sugar), cauliflower based recipes are often considered healthier alternatives.  My preferred method of mashing cauliflower involves using a “Ninja” to blend a mixture of cauliflower, one cup of water and two-four tablespoons of sour cream.  The water and sour cream help mix the cauliflower into a paste or “mash”.  Once mashed, add the contents to a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add salt, black pepper and a pinch of cinnamon.  Continue stirring for five-ten minutes.  Either before, during or after the mashing process, begin cooking the bacon in a separate pan.  Feel free to substitute turkey bacon.   Once the mash is warmed and stirred in a final mash, add it to a medium sized bowl.  Add the sliced, cooked bacon, sliced cilantro and shredded cheese.  Let the dish sit for five minutes before eating.

Grocery List // Cauliflower, Cilantro, Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, Bacon, Salt, Black Pepper, Cinnamon  

5.  Spiced Shrimp Lettuce Wrap

Grab your favorite kitchen knife, making sure it’s ready to slice and dice.  Begin by slicing and dicing the tomato, red pepper, green pepper, onion and cilantro.  Next, add two-four tablespoons of mayonnaise to a small mixing dish, followed by several dashes of your favorite chipotle sauce (I prefer Tabasco’s Chipotle Flavor).  Make sure the shrimp is thawed and cooked.  Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Stir thoroughly.  Finally, prepare the lettuce hearts by peeling off individual pieces and then adding a large spoonful of the now mixed ingredients.

 

Grocery List // Tomato, Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Cilantro, Onion, Mayo, Chipotle Sauce, Shrimp

I hope you enjoy these fine eats!  Let me know what you think-

Matt