If you need quick, refreshing dinner ideas for this hot + humid first week of school!!! There’s a few recipes, or not-really-recipes that I wanted to share, because getting back into a routine can be challenging. And even though it hasn’t been a bad summer for heat, sometimes it just takes a new idea to bring some life back to our fruits and veggies we’ve been enjoying. So I’ll keep the words short and hopefully you enjoy these simple recipes I’ve been eating on an almost daily basis!
1/4 Medium watermelon cut into chunks - doesn’t have to be pretty
1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Puree the watermelon in a food processor. Add in maple syrup or honey and squeeze of lime juice. Puree again to combine all ingredients. Pour watermelon mixture into a 9x13 glass pan and place into the freezer on a flat surface. An hour later remove dish from freezer and scrape a fork through the mixture. Return to freezer. After another hour, remove dish again and scrape with a fork throughout. Place back into freezer. After one final hour, remove dish from freezer, scrape with a fork one more time, then serve some in a bowl. Cover dish and store in freezer. Enjoy the fruity, slushy, refreshing dessert to stay cool!
Greek Village Salad (Horiatiki Salata)
Sometimes a salad just needs to leave the basic greens in the fridge. With our garden (and my parent's) in full bloom, we have direct access to the BEST tomatoes and cucumbers the season can offer. Just about every night we have a Village Salad and it’s so easy to prepare you’re going to become quite fond of this too!
There really is NO recipe, but here’s what we usually use...give or take.
1 Small cucumber or 1/2 Large cucumber
Scallions from the garden
5-6 Pitted Kalamata olives (optional)
1 Tablespoon dry oregano - yes, ours comes from Greece
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
Over a bowl, cut the tomato(es) into chunks and allow all juices to fall into bowl. Slice cucumber in half the long way and then cut into half moons allowing them to fall over tomatoes. Slice the scallions and scatter as much or as little you’d like over vegetables. Slice olives in half if using, and toss on top of vegetables. Sprinkle seasonings over vegetables and drizzle with EVOO. Top with chunks of feta cheese and toss all ingredients together. Place in fridge to let flavors meld or enjoy immediately.
We will eat this as is. We’ll top burgers, chicken, or seafood with it. We’ll have it with some nice, crusty bread to dip into the juices at the bottom of the bowl. We’ve put it on top of rice or quinoa. Sometimes we add thinly sliced green peppers into the mix. I've also added thingly sliced zucchini with the cucumbers. Fresh herbs like basil or parsley add a nice touch. Lemon zest or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice adds a nice pop of flavor too! The opportunities to indulge in summer’s finest are endless with this salad! And the leftover "juice" at the bottom of the bowl makes a FANTASTIC salad dressing for lunch the next day...just sayin'!
Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant
Again, we have an abundance of fresh vegetables from the garden this time of year. Harvest season is great, but even a veggie-lover like myself needs a break from the same old, same old. Here’s a trick I learned from my friend Amy the fabulousness behind Poor Girl Gourmet. You can find her over at tiny farmhouse.
Slice your zucchini and eggplant in half the long way. Score the flesh diagonally, two ways with a pairing knife. I then season the flesh with salt and pepper and follow that with a nice brushing of EVOO over the top.
With your grill on medium-high heat, place the veggies flesh side down just for a few minutes. If you’d like your veggies mushy, go ahead and keep them a little longer but I prefer to have a little bite to them. Flip them once and grill the skins until charred...shouldn’t take long depending on your grill.
Ummm...that’s it! The veggies take on a different look, they have great grill flavor, you didn’t have to heat up the house, and the best part? NO dishes!!!
For people somewhat afraid of eggplant, I think this is a good starter way to eat it. The grill adds such great flavor and you can scoop the flesh out without eating the skin. That part can be tough on any eggplant so don’t force yourself to eat that, but please give the insides a try!
***Here’s one last idea for you (Bonus!) from our dinner the other night that incorporated a few of these***
Doesn’t that dinner plate at the top of the page look tasty?? We had leftover grilled, cross-hatched veggies that we reheated and I placed a very small amount of real Parmesan cheese on top of. That was then topped with some leftover rotisserie chicken we bought (huge time saver). On the side of that we had green beans (from the garden) that we had blanched and tossed with a little EVOO and lemon juice (delicious, by the way!) and those were topped with the Village Salad. It was the perfect “leftover” meal full of bright colors, healthy veggies, and tasty flavors. Minimal prep, barely any clean up, and food we could feel good about eating. Try it and let me know what you think. Share these with friends and family. Remember to mix up how you prepare and eat your favorite foods so you’re not always getting bored and reaching for something else. Bon Appetit!