Thursday, May 15, 2008

Top Ten Summer Recipes a la FriedOkra & Family

Top o' the mornin' to y'all. Or the afternoon or evenin'. I'm flexible.

Oh, I have been lookin' forward to THI-YIS! Because who in the world DOESN'T need an instant seasonal dinner repertoire shot-in-the arm from time to time? Hallelujah-and-pass-the-chilled-cucumber-salad, I sure do. And I know my family, long about mid-July, will appreciate whatever inspiration Y'ALL can afford ME in this arena. They'll be gettin' darn tired of grilled chicken and rosemary garlic potatoes and oven-roasted asparagus and corn on the cob by then.

(Although that is hard to imagine from where I'm sittin' right now, I will not lie to you.)

Without further ado, I give you my Top Ten Sizzlin' Summer Recipes. From various sources, but all taste-tested by yours truly and pronounced "Mmmm-mmm, Blogworthy!"

A cold, crisp, fragrant bowl of fresh summery goodness. Use your own home-grown veggies or go get them at your local farmers' market and make this soup that same day. The vitamins in this one will leap right out of the bowl, course through your veins and out your EARS, people.

5 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
5 scallions (green onions), sliced
1 green pepper, diced
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced (plunge them in boiling water for one minute to easily remove skins)
4 cups V-8 juice

Mix all together gently. Chill and serve.

Tortellini and Turkey or Ham Salad (from my sister, Jackie)

So very tangy, but rich with cheese and meat, this one makes a great take-along for picnics or potlucks.

1 lb. cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions and cooled
1 small jar (maybe 3/4 cup total) stuff green olives (or black olives, or even marinated artichoke quarters, yum!)
1/2 lb. julienned ham or turkey
1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely diced red onion

Place in large serving bowl.


3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. fresh basil, torn or chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, minced

Mix together well and pour over salad. Stir well.

Easy Enchilada Casserole (from my Aunt Joy)

2 lbs. ground beef
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can mushroom soup
1-10 oz. can mild enchilada sauce
8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
12 corn tortillas

Brown and drain ground beef. Stir in tomato sauce, soup and enchilada sauce. Heat through. Cut tortillas into small pieces. In 9 X 13 pan, layer 1/2 the tortilla pieces, 1/2 hamburger mixture and 1/2 cheeses. Repeat layers (end with cheese). Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Summertime Risotto, courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003

2 ears sweet summer corn, kernels removed and cream pressed from the cobs
6 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper, seeded
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup finely chopped tomato
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, green tops only
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil chiffonade

With a sharp knife remove the kernels from the corn cobs, then run the back of the knife down the cob pressing out the cream and reserving it with the kernels. Cover the cobs with water and bring to a boil and let simmer for at least 30 minutes. Keep water warm.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, thyme and corn kernels and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the arborio (without rinsing) and cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has completely absorbed all the liquid.

Begin adding your corn stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring constantly and letting the rice completely absorb the liquid between additions. After 15 minutes add the shrimp, tomatoes and green onions. Cook about another 5 minutes, until rice is al dente. (You should use about 5 cups of corn water.) Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, heavy cream basil and stir well to mix. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve with remaining Parmesan at table.

Creamy Linguine with Zucchini

1/2 cup olive oil
2 large zucchini, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz. linguine pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, onion and garlic to pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until zucchini are well browned on all sides, about 20 minutes.

Stir milk into zucchini and simmer until it is reduced by about half, about 10 minutes. Add pasta to skillet, and stir well. Sprinkle parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top, and toss. Garnish with remaining Parmesan to serve.

My Aunt Willie's Squash Casserole

1 lb. yellow summer squash, cooked to crisp-tender and drained
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Ritz® crackers, crumbled, mixed with 1/4 cup melted butter

Mix all ingredients together stirring gently. Pour into buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole. Top with buttered cracker crumbs. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.

Thai Chicken Pizza

Next time you grill chicken, throw on a couple extra breasts, then dice and freeze them. You can thaw them later and use 'em on this delicious pizza.
Dough for one pizza crust, any recipe
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
5 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
3 tsp. sesame oil, divided
3 tsp. red wine vinegar, divided
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
Handful fresh cilantro, coursely chopped

Spread dough onto greased pizza pan, or sprinkle corn meal on non-stick pan and place dough on top. In one bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. sesame oil, and 1 tsp. honey. Pour over diced cucumbers and allow to marinate.

In another bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, brown sugar, fresh ginger, 3 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tsp. sesame oil, 1 tsp. red wine vinegar until smooth. Spread this mixture over the dough. Top "sauce" with chicken, onions and grated cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 425° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool briefly. Remove cucumbers from marinade with slotted spoon and sprinkle over pizza. Top pizza with chopped cilantro. Slice and serve.

My Guacamole
10ish small or 5ish large ripe avocados, peeled and diced
2-3 cloves minced garlic
Juice of one lime (2 Tbsp.)
Juice of 1/2 orange (4 Tbsp.)
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt & pepper

Carefully stir all ingredients together, mashing lightly but leaving guacamole lumpy with chunks of avocado. For a tiny bit of kick, add finely diced jalapeno or a few drops of hot sauce.

Coconut Shrimp

2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 garlic clove, minced
24 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, butterflied

Preheat oven to 500°F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
Beat egg whites in a shallow bowl. In a small plastic bag, mix Panko, cumin, coconut, garlic, and pepper. Dip shrimp in egg whites, then shake them in the plastic bag to coat. Place shrimp on baking sheet and bake about 6 minutes per side or until golden brown. For an easy dipping sauce, combine 1/2 cup apricot jam with 1 tsp. chili oil and 1 tsp. red wine vinegar.

Chicken Aioli

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried ground oregano
4 boneless chicken breasts, prepped for the grill.

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise and garlic. Whisk in the oregano, lemon juice and soy sauce until the mixture is smooth. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few teaspoons at a time, until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Pour into zippered plastic bag. Add chicken breasts and allow to marinate, refrigerated, for at least an hour.

Grill or broil chicken about 7 minutes per side and check for doneness. If necessary, grill or broil evenly until chicken is cooked through.

(You can use bone in chicken, as well, just be sure you adjust your cooking time accordingly.)

Those are a few of my favorites, y'all. I hope you find some you can use this spring and summer and in the years to come! If you do use one, let me know what you think. I'm into that validation thing.

Now it's time for you to strut YOUR summertime culinary stuff! Share your favorites by linking your Sizzlin' Spring and Summer Recipe post below:


  1. Some of these look great! Can't wait to try them. I made your crockpot bbq pork the other night to rave reviews. All members of the family agreed (5 of them) and that is a major accomplishment!

  2. Looks yummy! Can't wait to see what recipes everyone else posts.

  3. Oh wow! These sound really good. I am going to have a tough time deciding what to cook next week. Although you're right--by the end of the summer, I'm tired of everything I've been cooking.

    I'll have to check my recipes and post a link.

  4. Oooo, yay! I'll definitely be trying that gazpacho. And I'm an absolute nut for guacamole, but I've never thought of trying orange juice in the recipe! What a great idea.

  5. Oh my gosh! Cannot wait to give these a try. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

    Thanks for hosting such sizzlin fun goodness today!

  6. I am a sucker for Thai pizza, but haven't found a recipe to try at home that I've liked. Can't wait to try yours...sounds great!

  7. Oh my gersh...those sound positively delish! What are you making tonight? I'm bringing dessert! :)

  8. All these recipes are making me HUNGRY!!!

  9. Thanks for this post, Megan! I was making my grocery list today and now I have some great new recipes to try! Have a great day!

  10. Well, I'm throwing this whole post in my bookmarks folder called "Cooking." (Aren't I impressively organized?)

    Summer is taking SO DANG LONG to get here this year, I haven't even cracked open my grillin' recipes. (Although today is gorgeous and near 70. Maybe I should sneak a peak.)

    But when it does, I'll return to this page and look for the Zucchini Linguine. I wish I'd had that recipe a few years back, when I accidentally planted 3 zucchini plants in my garden. And then turned my back on them while they made hundreds of babies.

  11. Oh! Thanks so much for sharing these. I'm always looking for new recipes. I'll also link up a few of mine.

    On a completely different note, I tagged you for a meme:

  12. I just found your blog and you are a breath of fresh air.

    I'm from Ky but been transplanted to Ohio and I just love to read Southern bloggers. Fried it! Squash casserole love it! Now, I'm droolin'...LOL!☺

  13. These look so good. I can't wait to see what your readers have posted.

  14. oh yummy! I want that pizza RIGHTNOW!

    xo ~K

  15. OMGoodness! Remind me not to come to your blog again at 3pm when I can't sleep--I'm so hungry now, can't wait to try the recipes!!