If you didn’t know summer had arrived by the date on the calendar, you would defiantly notice by stepping outside. Temperatures have been extremely high. Everywhere. Living in Florida, I‘m used to high summer temps, but this year has been brutal. I don’t know about you, but when it is this hot, I’m not in the mood for heavy meals.
Summertime is a great time for salad. Now, before you think ...how boring...salads can be lots of fun. There are multiple ways to spice up a plain old salad.
I keep many different salad dressings handy. Depending on the type of meat or cheese I might throw into the mix, dressing can add a whole new flavor.
I always mix up my greens. Romaine. Iceberg. Spinach. Bib. Greenleaf lettuce. Red leaf salad. Or a mixture. I love vegetables, and with so many available during the summer months, adding different tastes and textures adds a new dimension to the same-old routine. Top if off with chicken or turkey, some shredded cheese or nuts, and you have a cool, filling meal.
Since grilling is always popular during the summer months, I try to serve side dishes that are colorful and tasty. Below is one of my all time favorite recipes, which goes great with grilled chicken.
Summer Vegetable Tian
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium yellow squash
- 1 medium potato
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- to taste salt & pepper
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Sautê the onion and garlic with olive oil over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent (about 5 minutes).
- While the onion and garlic are sautéing, thinly slice the remaining vegetables. Make sure the potatoes are very thin so that they soften quickly while in the oven.
- Coat the inside of an 8x8" casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spread the sautéed onion and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Arrange the other sliced vegetables, stacked vertically like dominos, in an alternating pattern. Season the top of the vegetables generously with salt, pepper, and dried thyme.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and top with the shredded cheese. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.
Here’s a potato recipe I also love. Great with white or red meat.
Savory Grilled Red Potatoes
· 1 large sheet heavy duty aluminum foil
10 mins Prep time 30 mins Cook time
· Toss potatoes and oil in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat well.
· Place potatoes in center of foil. Bring up sides of foil; double fold top and ends to tightly seal packet.
· Grill over medium-high heat 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, turning packet over halfway through cook time. (it may be longer, depending on the setting off the grill)
I add 1 cup of shredded mozzarella or Italian mix cheese. Just sprinkle over the top of the potato mixture before closing foil.
And of course, fruit is in great abundance during the summer. A cool and refreshing way to end a meal.
Now I’m hungry so I’m signing off to go eat lunch. A salad, of course.
And if you like to take a few minutes and read during lunch, check out my latest Heartwarming book, The Bridal Bouquet.
Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA TODAY bestselling author of twelve novels. She is currently working on new stories for Harlequin Heartwarming, The Business of Weddings series. Visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at Tara Randel Books