Cooking, Food

Favorite Summer Foods

It’s really almost September?

While our tummies keep rumbling for corn, crab and more, let’s review our favorite foods from this summer — all easy to make at home with the freshest ingredients and simple kitchen tools!

What were your favorite summer dishes? Did you make anything gorgeous? Let us know in the comments!

Wishing you a happy, healthy, hearty Labor Day!

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It’s not too late! More summer cooking ideas:

Grilling Tips
Summer Salads
Best Produce Recipes

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Cooking, Food

Endless Summer: Freezer 101

Preserve the flavors of summer for a spark of joy all year long! Freeze herbs, melons, and more to use year-round for smoothies, cocktails, desserts and more.

How to freeze herbs:

paul-morris-128424-unsplashMake sure herbs are washed, thoroughly dried and chopped. Place in a zipper bag and freeze or place in ice cube trays, covered in oil, before freezing.

How long? up to two weeks

Use it: soups, sauces, stews, braises

How to freeze melons:

photo-1513435160994-a731e7e5cb52Cut melon in half, and remove the seeds and rind. Slice, cube, or cut into balls and place in freezer bags or airtight containers.

How long? 10-12 months

Use it: smoothies, fat-free fro yo

How to freeze blueberries:

photo-1470072768013-bf9532016c10.jpegWash and dry thoroughly, then place in sealed containers and freeze. Or, freeze in the container they’re in; just make sure to wash before using!

How long? 10 months

Use it: smoothies, oatmeal, baking

How to freeze peaches and plums:

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Plums:

Peel them if you want first. Then halve and pit them. Cut into slices or cubes and place on a baking tray in the freezer. Freeze until they’re frozen through; it should take a few hours or you can leave them overnight. Once frozen, place in airtight containers or sealed zipper bags.

How long? 6-12 months. If the quality degrades, make jam!

Use it: baked goods, smoothies, jam

photo-1532704868953-d85f24176d73.jpegPeaches:

Peel first, then slice and toss with 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Place on baking tray and freeze a few hours or overnight. Transfer to sealed zipper bags.

How to freeze broccoli & cauliflower:

foodism360-397360-unsplash.jpgFrozen vegetables at the store are frozen at their peak quality. You can also DIY when veggies are in season! Choose the freshest option you can find, ideally from the farmers market.

Wash and dry, then chop into small pieces. Blanch in a pot of boiling water for three minutes. Cool it right away in an ice bath for three-five minutes, then blot dry or run it through a salad spinner. Place in zipper bags or airtight containers, and freeze.

How long? 12 months

Use it: Toss into soup, stir-fry or pasta, or steam or boil it for 60-90 seconds to serve as a side dish.

How to freeze corn & peas:

rawpixel-745958-unsplash.jpgCorn:

Similar method as above, but cook the corn according to its size: small ears about 7 minutes; medium ears about 9 minutes; large ears about 11 minutes. Then cool in an ice bath for the same amount of time. Store in plastic zipper bags.

How long? 6-8 months

Use it: Soup, sauce, stir-fry, pasta. Thaw and add to salsas.

Peas:

Remove from shell and blanch for 2 minutes. Then cook for 2 minutes, place in zipper bags and freeze.

How long? 6 months

Use it: Soup, sauce, stir-fry, pasta

Cooking, Food, recipes

The Best Summer Produce Recipes

Yellow, green, blue and red: has your summer been colorful so far? Are you seeing the brightness through the rain?

We’re riding this tasty rainbow as long as possible, with our favorite recipes using summer’s best ingredients.

The good news? The ingredients alone taste so good, you barely have to do any work! The perfect recipe for summer relaxation.

What we’re eating

ACS_0121August is peak time for some of nature’s best delights. Right now our kitchens are full of corn, tomatoes, zucchini, blueberries, cherries, peaches and plums.

What we’re cooking

On days when it’s too hot (almost every day), it’s simple salads and cold soups. On more ambitious days, we start in the morning when the kitchen is at its coolest!

Here are some highlights from our summer menu:

Appetizer

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

An easy crowd pleaser and a great excuse to pretend you’re in Italy! We never need help stimulating our appetites, but if you do snack on these with a Negroni, Aperol spritz or prosecco. Saluti!

Main

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

This looks like a long ingredient list, but you probably have a lot of these things on hand. Don’t worry; no need to make your own pasta sheets (unless you want to!) Hate mushrooms? Leave them out and make the rest as is. If you want, use peeled fresh tomatoes instead of the canned ones.

Or

Avocado-Basil Zucchini Noodles with Chile-Lime Shrimp & Corn

Easy, breezy and a perfect summer dish. Throw the corn and shrimp on the grill to make it even easier!

Or

GZ’s Ultimate BLT

Show off summer’s finest with a classic BLT. Bonus: watch your family and friends’ eyes light up with joy when they realize they’re getting bacon for dinner. Pick up a few beautiful heirloom tomatoes for a hearty thick-cut slice on each sandwich, and buy extra avocado for any veg pals.

Side

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

Once you try Chef Tyler Florence’s trick for corn on the cob, you’ll never worry about boiling again. The easiest recipe makes delicious, slightly crispy corn. Use your favorite seasoning: simple good butter and sea salt; cayenne and sea salt; or cinnamon and sugar.

Dessert

Plum-Cardamom Crumble with Pistachios
We’ll keep saying it until the leaves fall – there’s nothing better than summer stone fruit desserts, and this plum-cardamom crumble is perfection on a plate. The leftovers are great for breakfast with Greek yogurt!

Find out what else is in season and keep your kitchen stocked!

Basics, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Grilling, recipes, Tools

You Can Grill That!

Let your grill do wonders beyond burgers and dogs.

These are easy grilled foods for a party – or just for you! Not only does the grill work its magic in these recipes, but cleanup is super easy too so you can relax and enjoy.

Tip: Keep all your essential grilling tools (tongs, squeeze bottles, pastry brush, etc.) clean and handy for when the grill calls your name!

ACS_0115 (1)

  1. Pizza
    Perfect for al fresco summer dining, especially for groups, warm grilled pizza can be equally good and often better than a sad, soggy delivery pizza. That char really works wonders, and it’s super simple! Consider making a veggie one with no cheese for vegan/dairy-free friends and as a nice lighter option for everyone. Pair with a light red (chill it if you want!) or Lambrusco. The pizza can sit out for a bit, as long as it’s not boiling hot outside, so those who arrive late can still enjoy a piece (if there’s any left!) Use your sharpened knife or kitchen shears to slice it!
    Get the recipe.
  2. Grilled Lettuce
    This is an insanely easy way to impress friends and a great side dish for pizza! Channel your inner Giada with a colorful salad of grilled lettuces. All you need is your colander, cutting board, knife, tongs and olive oil bottle. You’ll just want to make sure this hits the grill before any meats, so your veg friends can enjoy without worry!
    Get the recipe.
  3. Avocado
    A quick few minutes on the grill, a little lime juice, salt & pepper creates individual guac bowls you can eat right out of the skin! Spice it up if you want with cayenne, paprika or hot sauce. No need for a huge bowl of guac to sit outside and brown in the heat when you can have a fresh, simple solution. (Also, yahoo for portion control!) Serve with tortilla chips and veggies of your choice.
    Get the recipe.
  4. Stone Fruit
    Warm dessert with no oven action? We’re in! There’s nothing like winding down a summer night with seasonal fruit, a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream (or whatever flavor you like!) and a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy the glory of peaches, plums and nectarines while they’re here!
    Get the recipe.
  5. Grilled Pound Cake
    If you have a cake-loving crowd (the best kind of crowd!) why not throw an already made cake onto the grill? This is basically impossible to mess up because most of the work is done! If you don’t have peaches, try another stone fruit or serve with any fresh berries you have on hand!
    Get the recipe.

 

recipes

Back to Basics.

back-to-basics300-resize-600x338.jpg

Have you been into ANY store lately? If you haven’t let me fill you in, Back to School and Halloween…that is what you’re missing. It feels as if  bite sized jumbo packs of candy and school shopping sales come earlier and earlier each year basically putting a timer on the remaining days of summer. But after a season of outdoor eating and BBQ’s there is something refreshing about the idea of the fall, getting back into routine and schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer just as much as the next Basic Gal (does anyone else get a little depressed when you notice your tan fading?). Most use the new year as a clean slate and way to start fresh, but I like to use Labor day for that. It’s the perfect time to get back on track, refine and reset your goals to finish off the year strong.

Let’s get back to the basics.

To me a well thought out and planned meal prep is the perfect example of this concept. The summer is great because it’s filled with BBQ’s, outdoor activities, long days at the beach/lake etc, which sometimes leaves little time or desire to think about what next week’s meals will be. Which is totally fine by the way. Being spontaneous and a bit go-with-the flow is part of what we crave about the summer (It happens to the best of us – I am writing this as I get ready to head out to a afternoon party on the east end of Long Island). But to get back to normalcy and know that your food is already prepped and ready to eat just makes the summertime sadness a little bit easier. It can be overwhelming to think about but let’s break it down.

There are so many good resources to help you come up with your perfect back to basics prep. We live in a world where almost every social media platform throws recipes in our face. On any given day you will find thousands of Instagramers showing off their completed meal preps or on Facebook, Tasty & the Food Network constantly posting easy to recreate video recipes. So as you are scrolling through your newsfeed, save a recipe video that interests you or that looks amazing. It’s okay if you don’t try it right away, but saving it will keep ii in the back of your mind and easier to find later on. Let’s not forget the mother-load of a recipe resource Pinterest, even if you have no idea what you want to make a simple “Lunch Recipe” search will for sure get you started in the right direction. Create boards, whether its one board for all recipes you find or specific categories my meal type or ingredient, keeping yourself organized will get you a head in the meal prep game. 

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For me, I have 4-5 easy, uncomplicated, time saving, nutritious recipes that I like to refer as the ‘basics’. These are the backbone to my meal preps. When I have a really busy weekend and don’t have time to sit down and research creative meals, I will go back to basics (see what I did there?). It gives you the peace of mind of knowing that no matter what is going on in your life, you know you have these recipes to fall back on. You will quickly find that they will become staples in your rotation.

Check out the list of my Go-To basics. All of these recipes can be made at the beginning of the week for lunch and/or dinners.

FitmenCook
Worlds Tastiest Chicken Brown Rice  Broccoli
turkey-taco-lunch-bowls-6-600x900
Turkey Taco Lunch Bowls
ChickenThigh
Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

 

healthy-chicken-broccoli-quinoa-casserole-1
Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

 


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