It's heatin' up in these here parts of Texas, it sure is. Even though we had a number of heavy thunderstorms with tornadic activity that came passin' through this way last night, and hail plummeting our home (we saw one S.U.V. parked under a tree in the middle of a neighbor's yard for protection), the forecast shows we'll be in the 90s again this weekend. And after a rain like we had last night, not only is it going to be H.O.T., it's going to have the lovely addition of humidity, which in reality, is so NOT lovely. So now is the time to start thinking about some recipes that will cool us down, keeping the palate refreshed.
Fried Okra just posted her "Top Ten Sizzlin' Summer Recipes a la Fried Okra & Family". You should most definitely check them out (just click on the link above for "Top Ten Sizzlin'...); they look REALLY good! And seeing as how I haven't had breakfast yet, I'm tempted to whip up every single one of 'em delicious recipes and devour ‘em all in one sitting. Oh, it's possible. I've already made one of my favorite sizzlin' summer recipes last weekend for our camping trip and it was quite a tasty treat on that sizzlin' Saturday...very refreshing!
I will warn
you, some of these recipes bear my signature Spiciness to them. If you make one of them, let me know how you
liked it! Let me apologize also for the font issue!! I've been working on the font for over an hour now, trying to fix it and make it consistently pretty, but alas, I GIVE UP! So I'm sorry! Without further ado...
I wouldn't be Meg if the first recipe listed wasn’t a DESSERT!
Peach Torte (I believe this recipe comes from my
grandmother, Gaga, and it is amazing!)
3 egg whites
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs
½ cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whipping cream
6-7 peaches, sliced
Beat 3 egg whites until stiff. Gradually add 1 cup sugar (just 1 cup...the remaining sugar you'll use later), beating on high while adding it. Fold in Graham Cracker crumbs, pecans and vanilla. Pour into a greased pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
Slice 6-7 peaches and in a bowl, put the peach slices in it along with the remaining ¾ cup sugar. Let stand until juice forms. After torte crust is cooled, pour the peaches on top of the crust. Let stand for several hours, refrigerated. When ready to serve, top with 1 cup of sweetened whipped cream.
Stuffed Jalapeños (These are, of course, spicy, but they make a
great appetizer or a garnish to a meat dish, and the cream cheese cools it off
1 (12 oz.) can La Costeña green pickled jalapeño peppers (not sliced, the whole pepper)
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 hard boiled eggs
½ tsp. garlic salt
1 TBSP. onion, minced
4 TBSP. mayonnaise
chopped pecans (optional)
Halve each of the jalapeños and clean them out (might want to wear gloves so your hands don't burn <grin>...I told you I like things HOT!). Cream the cream cheese and set aside. Mash the hard boiled eggs and add to the cream cheese. Add remaining ingredients except the pecans. Mash and mix well. Stuff each pepper with the cream cheese mixture and top with pecans. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Fruit Compote (This is another of my Gaga's recipes...boy, she is a good cook! This is great to use on toast or biscuits for breakfasts.)
1 TBSP water
½ - ¾ cup sugar
Rub peaches to soften the fuzz. Cut all the fruit in half. Put in a pan with 1 TBSP water and ½ - ¾ cup of sugar. Cover with lid and cook on the stove on medium-low heat. Cook and stir for 30 minutes, and taste to see if it's sweet enough. Fruit should be really soft and spreadable. As a note, watch the stove and be sure to stir regularly...it makes a huge mess if it boils over and isn't so tasty if it burns (I know from personal experience <grin>).
Southwest Black Bean Salad (Courtesy of The Junior League of Phoenix Desert Treasures cookbook. This is my most favorite summer salad! I make it at least 3 times during the hot summer months, and it's delicious served with the Green Chile Cornbread below.)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 head Romaine lettuce, torn leaves
1 head red leaf lettuce, torn leaves
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
2 cups blue corn chips, broken
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne red pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
¾ cup cooked wild rice (read package…may take awhile to cook rice)
Mix chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and garlic powder together with wild rice. Combine all ingredients together. Add French dressing to coat.
You’ll want to make the wild rice early enough to let it cool so you’re serving a cold salad. Sometimes, I put the cooked rice in the freezer to help it cool faster. Also, this salad serves 10, so it can either be a main entrée or served as a side salad to grilled chicken. If you anticipate having leftovers, the salad is better if you put the dressing only as servings are needed.
Chile-Cheese Corn Bread (Courtesy of Cooking Light, July 2007. Again, this is great to serve with the Southwest Black Bean Salad.)
1/3 cup butter,
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup egg substitute
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
2 large eggs
¾ cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/3 ounces)
1 ¾ cups cornmeal
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (4 1/2-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
Preheat oven to 375°. Combine softened butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg substitute, nonfat buttermilk, and eggs, beating at low speed until well combined. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to buttermilk mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in shredded cheese, corn, and green chiles. Pour batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and cool for 5 minutes in pan.
Avocado-Mango Salsa (Courtesy of Cooking Light, May 2007. Serve with tortilla chips. This makes either a great appetizer or a good side to sandwiches or even enchiladas.)
1/8 teaspoon kosher
1 ¼ cups chopped peeled avocado
1 cup chopped peeled mango (you can also by the jarred or canned mango)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, avocado, mango, chopped cilantro, and juice, tossing gently. Let stand 10 minutes.
Colorful Black Bean Salad (Courtesy of The Junior League of Phoenix Desert Treasures cookbook. This is what I took on our camping trip that was very refreshing! Would be great as a side to grilled chicken, shrimp or burgers.)
2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (11 oz.) crisp niblet corn, drained
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
Green peppers or tomatoes
And if you want to add some spice, add 3 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. mixed pepper
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup light olive oil
Combine all of the salad ingredients together. Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over bean mixture. Serve in half green pepper or half tomato shells.
Steak and Pasta Salad (This is a very flavorful salad from my Momma. It takes a bit of time to prepare, but it is worthwhile and an excellent choice to serve for guests. Serve with rolls and Mango Salad which is below.)
1 round boneless steak
2 (8 oz.) bags of large macaroni shells
1 large pkg. frozen broccoli florets
1 onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1-2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
3 TBSP sugar
4-5 TBSP red wine vinegar
4-5 TBSP yellow mustard
Cook the macaroni shells as per package instructions, drain and set aside to cool. Season the steak with garlic powder, lemon pepper, salt and pepper and grill about 5 minutes on each side or until desired (it helps to leave it a little pink…you don’t want to overcook it.) Cool steak and cut into bite-sized pieces. With the oil, stir fry the broccoli and onion together until onion is tender and broccoli is slightly tender. Add the steak, pasta, stir fried broccoli and onion together and mix well. Add remaining ingredients except for mayonnaise and stir well. After everything is mixed well, you’ll add ¾ - 1 cup mayonnaise (or possibly more…enough to bind together all of the ingredients). Chill salad for at least a few hours and serve cold.
Mango Salad (Courtesy of The Junior League of El Paso’s Seasoned with Sun cookbook.)
3 (3 oz) packages lemon gelatin
1 (29 oz.) can mangoes, drained ** keep the mango juice for boiling water mix**
3 cups boiling liquid (mango juice plus water)
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1 lime
Dissolve gelatin in boiling liquid; set aside. Put drained mangoes and cream cheese into a blender and blend until creamy. Add to gelatin mixture and stir in lime juice. Pour into ring mold, individual molds, or a 13x9 inch pan and chill 4-6 hours or overnight. Serve on a bed of lettuce and top with any or all optional toppings.