Recipes to get your summer started on the right foot


The month of June heralds a multitude of activities and celebrations, from Father’s Day to graduations and weddings. And then there’s the start of the Summer Concerts in the North County communities, the Optimist Wine Festival Golf Tournament, and of course, the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival Reserve Experience!

With all of those events in mind, I searched for a variety of recipes this month that could be served before, after, or during your participation. Naturally, they had to be simple, easy to put together and delicious! I hope you will find one or two that will work for you during this busy time of the year.

I know that many of you have started your barbeque season by now. These next two recipes use leftover grilled veggies in a slab quiche, and leftover grilled chicken in a pasta salad, making prep time a snap.

Grilled Veggie Slab Quiche

Ingredients:

1 pkg. refrigerated pie crusts (15 oz.)

1 cup leftover grilled asparagus, chopped

½ cup leftover grilled red pepper strips

½ cup leftover grilled sweet onion, diced

7 large eggs

1 cup 1% milk

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup grated or crumbled cheese (whatever you have on hand)

Directions:

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. On floured surface, stack pie crusts and roll out to a 17x12-inch rectangle. Fit into prepared pan and fold over pastry to form a stand-up edge. Line crust with foil and bake 8 minutes. Remove crust from oven and lower temperature to 375 degrees. Remove foil. Scatter veggies evenly over crust. Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour into crust and scatter cheese on top. Bake 35 minutes, until puffed and set. Makes 8 servings.

In this next recipe you may think that apple, chicken, pasta and blue cheese makes for a strange combination, but the contrast of sweet, salty and spicy flavors comes together to make a delicious salad.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

8 ounces rigatoni

2 leftover barbecued chicken breasts (12 oz. total)

3 cups baby spinach leaves

1 tablespoon minced red onion, (optional)

1 Gala apple, cored and diced

1/3 cup bottled barbecue sauce

¼ cup blue cheese dressing

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add rigatoni and cook to al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Once pasta is cool, add chicken, spinach, apple and red onion (optional) to bowl. Combine barbecue sauce with blue cheese dressing. Toss pasta salad with dressing and top with crumbled blue cheese. Serves 4.

Note: Use a spicier BBQ sauce to balance the apple’s sweetness.

If you are taking a dish to a potluck consider this next recipe. Take the dressing ingredients pre-measured and whisk it just before serving.

    

Corn and Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

2 ½ pounds heirloom tomatoes

¼ teaspoon salt

3 ears cold grilled corn

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons avocado or olive oil

2 teaspoons light honey

Flaky sea salt

Crumbled feta or queso fresco and a few sprigs of cilantro for topping

Directions:

Slice tomatoes about ¼ inch thick. Place on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet; sprinkle with salt. Cut corn from cobs. (For larger chunks of corn, slice down close to cob, then do the opposite side to get 2 wide slabs. Cut down remaining sides for thinner rows.)

Arrange tomato slices on a platter and sprinkle with corn. Whisk lime juice, oil and honey. Drizzle over salad. Top with sea salt, cheese and cilantro.

Makes 6 servings.

Last but not least, here’s something for the adults. If the weather is hot, which most likely it will be throughout the summer, these “Ice Pops” are sure to please!

Sangria Pops

Add 1 cup red wine (such as a red blend, pinot noir or merlot), 1/3 cup cranberry juice cocktail, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon lime juice to a large measuring cup; stir to dissolve sugar. Finely chop 2 cups mixed frozen fruit (such as strawberry, mango and peach). Spoon about 3 tablespoons fruit into each of 6 ice pop pouches, then fill with wine mixture. Seal and freeze at least 4 hours.

Note: In addition you might put together a pitcher of Sangria for those guests who prefer a glass.

Enjoy June!

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