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Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

Kick off the summer vacation celebration with great party recipes!

Summer’s here, so make sure your vacation plans include these great party recipes! Perfect your lemonade game with recipes for Lemonade: 3 Ways, all great for cooling down on a hot summer day. Adults will enjoy a Basil Martini or Pink Bellini, while Faux Strawberry Sangria works great for partygoers of all ages.

Hungry summer guests can snack on Piña Colada Shrimp Kebabs and Warm Beans, Herbed Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Bruschetta, or try a fresh Tomato & Bread Salad with Lemon Parsley Dressing. No summer gathering is complete without burgers, so have plenty of Green Chili Burgers and Turkey Burgers on hand. Grilled favorites like Sugar & Spice Rubbed Sirloin and Chili Rub Steak Tacos provide a sizzle to the summer, while Fruit Pizza on the Grill brings a fresh, sweet treat for all.

Sugar & Spice Rubbed Sirloin

Sugar & Spice Rubbed Sirloin

Use this sugar and spice rub that caramelizes on the grill and creates a crackling, burnt sugar char and juicy, rare center.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 2 hours, 10 min. | Serves: 6 to 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2½ Tbsp. sugar
  • 2-3 lb. top sirloin steak, about 1” thick
Directions:
  1. Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Rub one side of the steak with half the rub mixture. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. Spread the remaining rub on the other side of the steak. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
  4. While the steak is sitting, prepare the grill for high heat.
  5. When the steak is ready, place on grill. Five minutes on each side is rare, so depending on your preference, char each side to get a nice crisp crust then move to a more indirect side of the grill to prevent flare ups, letting the steak cook a total of 6 minutes per side (which would yield a red medium rare).
  6. Remove the steak from the grill (once the internal temp reaches 145°) and allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice diagonally ¼” thick.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 570, Calories from Fat 290, Total Fat 32g (49% DV), Saturated Fat 13g (65% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 210mg (70% DV), Sodium 520mg (22% DV), Carbohydrates 6g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Sugars 5g, Protein 61g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 4%, Iron 20%.

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Chili Rubbed Steak Tacos

Chili Rubbed Steak Tacos

Load these tacos with spice rubbed steak slices and lots of toppings for a satisfyingly salty crunch and soft taco. If serving guests, have them join in the fun by prepping and getting all the toppings ready for indulging.

Hands-on Time: 20 min. | Total Time: 50 min. | Serves: 6 to 8 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic granules
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1¼ lb. top sirloin steak, about 1” thick
  • 12 small tortillas, 5-6” diameter
  • 3 cups shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ripe avocadoes, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 3 cups favorite prepared salsa
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
Directions:
  1. Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Rub one side of steak with half the rub mixture. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  3. While the steak is sitting, prepare the grill for high heat.
  4. Spread the remaining rub on the other side of the steak. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  5. Warm the tortillas by placing them on the grill for about 30 seconds, turning once. Wrap in a cloth napkin to keep warm.
  6. Grill the steak for 6 minutes on each side for medium rare, turning once.
  7. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Slice into thin slices.
  8. Let guests make their own tacos or assemble and serve.
  9. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 630, Calories from Fat 280, Total Fat 32g (49% DV), Saturated Fat 8g (40% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 85mg (28% DV), Sodium 1540mg (64% DV), Carbohydrates 54g (18% DV), Dietary Fiber 12g (48% DV), Sugars 10g, Protein 35g, Vitamin A 35%, Vitamin C 70%, Calcium 20%, Iron 30%.

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Turkey Cheddar Burgers

Turkey Cheddar Burgers

These burgers will change your mind about ground turkey! A deliciously satisfying stuffed burger made with change of pace ground turkey, loaded with flavor.

Hands-on Time: 25 min. | Total Time: 40 min. | Serves: 4 | Difficulty: Medium

Sun-dried Tomato Mayonnaise:
  • ¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, well drained
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
Burgers:
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp. coarse sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1½ lb. ground turkey
  • 6 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 4 thick slices
  • 4 hamburger or Kaiser rolls
  • 4 large lettuce leaves
Directions:
  1. Put oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 350°F.
  2. To make the sun-dried tomato mayonnaise, puree tomatoes with water, vinegar and salt in a blender or mini food processor, scraping down sides as necessary; blend in mayonnaise. Set aside, covered, in refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. In an 8” skillet over medium heat, cook shallot in oil with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until golden; transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Add turkey and mix gently but thoroughly.
  5. Prepare the grill for medium high heat. (Alternately, burgers may be cooked indoors on a lightly oiled nonstick skillet.)
  6. Turn out turkey mixture onto a sheet of wax paper and divide into 8 equal mounds. Pat 1 mound into a 4” patty and top with 1 slice of cheese; then put a second mound on top, patting it onto the other patty to enclose the cheese. Pinch edges together to seal and shape into a single patty. Make 3 more burgers in the same manner.
  7. Grill (or cook) burgers, turning over once, just until cooked through (no longer pink), about 10-12 minutes or internal temperature reaches 160°F.
  8. While burgers are cooking, heat rolls on a baking sheet in oven until crusty, about 5 minutes. Transfer rolls to a rack to cool slightly.
  9. Cut rolls in half horizontally and spread cut sides with mayonnaise mixture. Serve burgers on rolls with lettuce leaves.
  10. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 810, Calories from Fat 430, Total Fat 48g (74% DV), Saturated Fat 15g (75% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 165mg (55% DV), Sodium 1260mg (52% DV), Carbohydrates 48g (16% DV), Dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), Sugars 6g, Protein 52g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 50%, Iron 30%.

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Green Chili Burgers

Green Chili Burgers

Spicy and full of flavor, these burgers are sure to please everyone with their varied toppings. Pass additional hot pepper sauce for those who want an extra kick!

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 25 min. | Serves: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 can (4 oz.) diced jalapeños, drained
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 oz. hot pepper cheese slices
  • 4 hamburger buns, optional
  • 4 jalapeño chilies, sliced
  • 4 large lettuce leaves
  • 2 cups prepared salsa
  • 4 large tomato slices
  • Sour cream, optional
Directions:
  1. Combine the onion, ground beef, chilies, hot pepper sauce and salt in a medium bowl; mix gently but thoroughly. Shape into 4 patties.
  2. Prepare the grill for medium high heat. (Alternately, burgers may be cooked indoors on a lightly oiled nonstick skillet.)
  3. Grill (or cook) burgers, turning once, until desired doneness, about 10 to 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F. Top with cheese slices last minute of grilling or cooking.
  4. Place burgers on a bun or serving plate and top as desired.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 530, Calories from Fat 180, Total Fat 20g (31% DV), Saturated Fat 9g (45% DV), Trans Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 95mg (32% DV), Sodium 2040mg (85% DV), Carbohydrates 57g (19% DV), Dietary Fiber 5g (20% DV), Sugars 13g, Protein 37g, Vitamin A 35%, Vitamin C 45%, Calcium 35%, Iron 35%.

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Warm Beans, Herbed Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Warm Beans, Herbed Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Warm beans add depth and are satisfyingly filling – a uniquely delicious addition to your summer appetizer selection.

Hands-on Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 1 to 2 ½ hours | Servings: 10 to 12 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • ½ tsp. coarse sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans
  • 1 can (15 oz.) great northern beans
  • 4 oz. semi-soft goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 large baguettes, sliced diagonally into 20 to 24 pieces each
Directions:
  1. Combine the tomatoes, basil, oregano, scallions, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
  2. Prepare grill for medium high heat. Grill baguette slices, watching carefully, just until lightly golden and toasted. Set aside on a cooling rack.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine undrained beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 minutes or until heated through. Drain.
  4. Toss warm beans with tomato mixture. Sprinkle cheese over bean mixture.
  5. Serve warm atop grilled baguette slices.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 310, Calories from Fat 50, Total Fat 6g (9% DV), Saturated Fat 3g (15% DV), Trans Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 10mg (3% DV), Sodium 790mg (33% DV), Carbohydrates 52g (17% DV), Dietary Fiber 7g (28% DV), Sugars 2g, Protein 14g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 15%, Iron 20%.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

Lemonade: 3 Ways

Lemonade: 3 Ways

This scratch-made lemonade is perfect to quench those summer thirsts with its tart, sweet and cold refreshment. Try our three variations below!

Hands-on Time: 10-15 min. | Total Time: 20-25 min. | Serves: 8-10 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of 6- to 8 lemons)
  • Water or plain sparkling water
  • Ice cubes
Directions:
  1. Combine the sugar with water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the lemon zest and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain.
  3. Combine the syrup with the fresh lemon juice. Store the lemonade base in a covered jar, refrigerated, until ready to use.
  4. To serve, combine equal parts lemonade base and water or plain sparkling water and serve over a generous amount of ice cubes.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.
Mango Lemonade:
  • 2 cups frozen, thawed mango chunks
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of 6 to 8 lemons)
  • Water or plain sparkling water
  • Ice cubes
Directions:
  1. Puree the mango and water in a blender until smooth.
  2. Combine the sugar with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the lemon zest and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain.
  4. Combine the syrup with the mango puree and the fresh lemon juice. Store the mango lemonade base in a covered jar, refrigerated, until ready to use.
  5. To serve, combine equal parts mango lemonade base and water or plain sparkling water and serve over a generous amount of ice cubes.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.
Lemonade Mint Coolers:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves, lightly crushed
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of 6-8 lemons)
  • Water or plain sparkling water
  • Ice cubes
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
Directions:
  1. Combine the sugar with water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the mint and lemon zest and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain.
  3. Combine the syrup with the fresh lemon juice. Store the lemonade mint base in a covered jar, refrigerated, until ready to use.
  4. To serve, combine equal parts lemonade mint base and water or plain sparkling water and serve over a generous amount of ice cubes. Garnish each glass with a sprig of mint.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.
Razzleberry Lemonade:
  • 1½ cups red raspberries, fresh or thawed
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of 6-8 lemons)
  • Water or plain sparkling water
  • Ice cubes
Directions:
  1. Puree the raspberries and water in a blender until smooth. Strain and discard any seeds.
  2. Combine the sugar with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the lemon zest and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain.
  4. Combine the syrup with the raspberry puree and the fresh lemon juice. Store the razzleberry lemonade base in a covered jar, refrigerated, until ready to use.
  5. To serve, combine equal parts razzleberry lemonade base and water or plain sparkling water and serve over a generous amount of ice cubes.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.

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Faux Strawberry Sangria

Faux Strawberry Sangria

Strawberries, brightly colored and plump, are the stars of the show for this enticing drink.

Hands-on Time: 20 min. | Total Time: 1 hour | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 8 cups fresh strawberries, trimmed and halved
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 3¼ cups clear apple juice
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries plus additional for serving
  • 2 cups plain sparkling water, chilled
Directions:
  1. Combine the halved strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat. Cover and cool to room temperature.
  3. Press mixture, a little at a time, through a sieve, discarding solids.
  4. Place the strawberry “syrup” in a large pitcher and add the apple juice and sliced strawberries. Cover and chill up to 8 hours.
  5. To serve, stir in the sparkling water and serve in tall glasses with additional sliced strawberries.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 170, Calories from Fat 5, Total Fat 0.5g (1% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 5mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 42g (14% DV), Dietary Fiber 4g (16% DV), Sugars 35g, Protein 1g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 170%, Calcium 4%, Iron 4%.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

Piña Colada Shrimp Kabobs

Piña Colada Shrimp Kabobs

Why limit that fabulous combo of rum, pineapple and coconut to a glass? Piña colada ingredients make a dynamite marinade for shrimp destined for the grill.

Hands-on Time: 30 min. | Total Time: 1 hour, 45 min. to 4 hours, 45 min. | Serves: 4 to 6 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup dark rum
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. coarse sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 36 medium-large uncooked, peeled & deveined (tail on) shrimp (about 1¼ lb.)
  • 2 yellow or orange bell peppers cut into chunks
  • Rice pilaf or a simple greens salad, optional
Directions:
  1. Combine the coconut milk, lime juice, pineapple juice, dark rum, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Add the shrimp, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but no longer than 3 hours.
  3. While the shrimp is marinating, prepare the grill for medium high heat.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp from the marinade and thread on metal skewers: 2 shrimp, 1 piece pepper, and 2 shrimp until all the mixture is used.
  5. When the grill is ready, place the skewers on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the shrimp turn pink
  6. Serve immediately with rice pilaf and/or a simple greens salad, if desired.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 270, Calories from Fat 110, Total Fat 13g (20% DV), Saturated Fat 11g (55% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 70mg (23% DV), Sodium 520mg (22% DV), Carbohydrates 16g (5% DV), Dietary Fiber 1g (4% DV), Sugars 9g, Protein 10g, Vitamin A 50%, Vitamin C 210%, Calcium 6%, Iron 15%.

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Basil Martini

Basil Martini

This vodka based martini embraces a perfect balance of ingredients.

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 15 min. | Serves: 1 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup small ice cubes
  • ¾ tsp. agave nectar
  • 1½ oz. vodka
  • ¾ oz. water
  • 2 large fresh basil leaves, crushed
  • ¾ oz. tonic
  • ¼ tsp. fresh lime juice
  • Fresh basil leaves
Directions:
  1. In a shaker: add ice, agave, vodka, water and basil. Shake vigorously.
  2. Add the tonic and lime juice. Shake gently.
  3. Strain and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf or two.

Drink responsibly.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 120, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 6g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (2% DV), Sugars 5g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 4%, Iron 0%.

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Craft Beer Bloody Mary

Craft Beer Bloody Mary

Try this modern take on a classic Bloody Mary, using your favorite craft beer and spicing things up!

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 10 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups hot-style vegetable juice, chilled
  • 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. prepared horseradish
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • ¼ tsp. celery seeds
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cans or bottles (12 oz. each) craft lager or pilsner beer, chilled
  • Ice cubes
  • Pickled asparagus spears
  • Lime wedges
Directions:
  1. Combine the vegetable juice, lime juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, celery seeds and black pepper in a large pitcher; stir to combine.
  2. Pour in the beer, stirring gently to combine.
  3. Serve in glasses over ice, garnished with pickled asparagus spears.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.

Drink responsibly.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 45, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 80mg (3% DV), Carbohydrates 4g (1% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (3% DV), Sugars 4g, Protein < 1g, Vitamin A 30%, Vitamin C 45%, Calcium 2%, Iron 2%.

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Pink Champagne Bellinis

Pink Champagne Bellinis

A quenching froth of fresh peach puree combined with dry pink champagne, which gives those less than perfect peaches a sunset colored cocktail.

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 10 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2 ripe large peaches
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup small ice cubes
  • 1 bottle (750 ml.) dry pink champagne or sweet sparkling moscato rosé, cold
Directions:
  1. Drop peaches into a medium saucepan of boiling water. Blanch for 2 minutes, and then drop peaches in a medium bowl of ice water. Let peaches chill for 5 minutes; drain.
  2. Remove the skin and pits from the peaches. (Alternately, if ripe peaches are not available or out of season, use 4 canned peach halves, well drained.)
  3. Puree peaches, lemon and orange juices in a blender. Add ice cubes and blend to combine.
  4. Pour into 8 champagne flutes and top with champagne. Stir gently just to combine.
  5. Serve immediately.

Drink responsibly.

Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 100, Calories from Fat 0, Total Fat 0g (0% DV), Saturated Fat 0g (0% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 0mg (0% DV), Carbohydrates 7g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber < 1g (2% DV), Sugars 5g, Protein 0g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 10%, Calcium 2%, Iron 2%.

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Summer Berry Sauté

Summer Berry Sauté

Enjoy this quick, incredibly easy and delicious dessert…perfect served over ice cream, frozen yogurt, toasted angel food or pound cake slices.

Hands-on Time: 10 min. | Total Time: 20 min. | Serves: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed and halved
  • 3 Tbsp. grated semisweet chocolate
  • 4 shortbread cookies, crumbled
  • Vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt, toasted angel food cake slices or pound cake slices
Directions:
  1. Prepare grill for medium high heat.
  2. In an 8”-9” deep disposable pan on a hot grill, melt the butter in the pan until bubbly.
  3. Add the walnuts; cook and stir briefly, just until nuts begin to color.
  4. Add brown sugar and stir quickly and gently to combine.
  5. Add strawberries and stir 1-2 minutes until warm. Remove from heat.
  6. Spoon over ice cream, frozen yogurt or cake slices and sprinkle with grated chocolate and crumbled shortbread cookies, if desired.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 270, Calories from Fat 160, Total Fat 19g (29% DV), Saturated Fat 8g (40% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 25mg (8% DV), Sodium 35mg (1% DV), Carbohydrates 25g (8% DV), Dietary Fiber 3g (12% DV), Sugars 18g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 6%, Vitamin C 70%, Calcium 4%, Iron 6%.

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Blueberry Cornbread

Blueberry Cornbread

Warm cornbread shot through with blueberries create a contemporary sidekick for grilled foods and picnic entrees.

Hands-on Time: 20 min. | Total Time: 1 hour | Serves: 8 to 10 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9”x13” baking pan or 2 8” cast iron skillets.
  2. With an electric mixer in a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating thoroughly. Stir in the cornmeal just until combined.
  3. In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk to the butter mixture, beating to combine after each addition, being careful not to overbeat. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cornbread is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 500, Calories from Fat 110, Total Fat 12g (18% DV), Saturated Fat 7g (35% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 30mg (10% DV), Sodium 380mg (16% DV), Carbohydrates 87g (29% DV), Dietary Fiber 6g (24% DV), Sugars 32g, Protein 11g, Vitamin A 8%, Vitamin C 6%, Calcium 20%, Iron 15%.

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Tomato & Bread Salad with Lemon Parsley Dressing

Tomato & Bread Salad with Lemon Parsley Dressing

This salad is a variation on the bread salads of Italy and the Middle East. The high proportion of vinegar and lemon juice in the dressing softens the bread perfectly.

Hands-on Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: Medium

Dressing:
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Salad:
  • 3 seedless cucumbers, halved and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1-2 packs cherry tomatoes (assorted colors)
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh assorted herb leaves
  • ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 5 cups (1” size) artisan bread cubes, toasted in 350°F oven until lightly browned
  • 3 bunches fresh salad greens, trimmed, washed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 1-1½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Directions:
  1. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk together until well blended.
  2. Reserve ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Combine all the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Add enough dressing to moisten the ingredients (you will probably have some dressing leftover).
  3. Toss well to gently coat. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 730, Calories from Fat 300, Total Fat 33g (51% DV), Saturated Fat 7g (35% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 15mg (5% DV), Sodium 1430mg (60% DV), Carbohydrates 90g (30% DV), Dietary Fiber 9g (36% DV), Sugars 7g, Protein 20g, Vitamin A 440%, Vitamin C 60%, Calcium 30%, Iron 50%.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

Fruit Pizza on the Grill

Fruit Pizza on the Grill

A delicious and fun-filled way to end a summer meal, or treat everyone to a sweet snack from the grill, this fruit pizza will have everyone wanting another piece.

Hands-on Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 can (11 oz.) refrigerated pizza crust dough
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen peach slices, thawed
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen mixed berries, thawed
Directions:
  1. Lightly spray grill grids, then prepare the grill for medium heat.
  2. Combine the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer on low speed until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  3. Combine the honey and water in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Carefully unroll pizza dough onto a flat-sided nonstick cookie sheet, and then flip onto the hot grill. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side (using the cookie sheet as your spatula when flipping and removing the crust).
  5. Brush one side of the pizza crust with the honey mixture and cook for an additional minute. Remove the crust from the grill and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Spread with cream cheese mixture and arrange fruit on top. Cut and serve immediately.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 390, Calories from Fat 200, Total Fat 22g (34% DV), Saturated Fat 13g (65% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 60mg (20% DV), Sodium 410mg (17% DV), Carbohydrates 46g (15% DV), Dietary Fiber 5g (20% DV), Sugars 24g, Protein 6g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 70%, Calcium 6%, Iron 6%.

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Signature Pizza on the Grill

Signature Pizza on the Grill

Don’t panic! Making your own pizza dough and sauce is easy…and both can be made ahead of time! so that when it’s grill time, you are cool, calm and collected and ready for all the compliments!

Hands-on Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes | Servings: 8 to 12 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients for the Dough:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2¼ tsp. (¼ oz. package) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1½ tsp. salt
Directions for the Dough:
  1. Combine the flours in a small bowl to blend and set aside.
  2. Combine the yeast, water, oil, sugar and salt in a large bowl; whisk together and let sit for 5 minutes. Add 1½ cups of the flour blend and mix with a spoon to incorporate.
  3. Add 1 more cup of the flour, reserving ½ cup. Lightly dust your hands with flour to prevent sticking, and then mix ingredients.
  4. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. Add flour from remaining ½ cup as necessary to form a smooth, elastic dough (dough should not be sticky).
  5. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour; the dough should double in size.
  6. Divide the pizza dough into two balls and refrigerate for 1 hour on a lightly floured plate. Allow the dough to reach room temperature again before shaping. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, though you should let it reach room temperature again before shaping.)

Hands-on Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients for the Sauce:
  • 10 cups (about 3 lbs.) Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Directions for the Sauce:
  1. Heat oven to 450°F. Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar in a large casserole dish; toss with the olive oil.
  2. Roast 1 hour until tomatoes have softened. Remove from the oven and mash with a potato masher, keeping tomatoes a bit chunky. Stir in basil.
  3. Allow to cool completely before using. May be made 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated until ready to use.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.

Hands-on Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4 to 6 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients for the Pizza:
  • Olive oil
  • Cornmeal
  • 1 prepared Whole Wheat Dough ball
  • ½ batch Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cups Italian cheese blend
Directions for the Pizza:
  1. Lightly spray grill grids, then prepare the grill for medium heat. Lightly brush a large pizza pan or flat-sided nonstick cookie sheet with olive oil and sprinkle generously with cornmeal.
  2. Roll dough ball into a 15” circle and position on pizza pan; slide dough off pan onto hot grill. Grill until bottom is lightly browned (2- to 3 minutes).
  3. Poke dough with a fork in any puffed up places; flip over and add sauce and then cheese. Grill until lightly browned on bottom, about 2 minutes.
  4. Pull pizza over to indirect side of grill (where no heat directly touches bottom of pizza) and grill until cheese is melty, about 2 additional minutes.
  5. Place finished pizza onto pan to remove from grill. Cut and serve immediately.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 770, Calories from Fat 290, Total Fat 33g (51% DV), Saturated Fat 6g (30% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 1870mg (78% DV), Carbohydrates 102g (34% DV), Dietary Fiber 10g (40% DV), Sugars 22g, Protein 22g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 35%, Iron 4%.

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Grilled Marinated Asparagus

Grilled Marinated Asparagus

Fresh asparagus, like so many other veggies, is so delicious when grilled!

Hands-on Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes | Servings: 4 to 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, washed and dried, tough ends discarded
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and flattened roughly
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Place the asparagus in a gallon-size zip lock bag.
  2. In a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, place the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and shake vigorously to combine. Pour the marinade over the asparagus, coating all surfaces.
  3. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. (If marinating for 1-3 hours, place the asparagus in the refrigerator.)
  4. Prepare grill for medium heat. Drain and grill the asparagus, turning once or twice with tongs, until they are crisp-tender, 4-8 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears.
  5. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 270, Calories from Fat 240, Total Fat 27g (42% DV), Saturated Fat 4g (20% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 400mg (17% DV), Carbohydrates 7g (2% DV), Dietary Fiber 3g (12% DV), Sugars 3g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 4%, Iron 15%.

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Grilled Red Pepper Halves Stuffed with Bulgur and Spinach

Grilled Red Pepper Halves Stuffed with Bulgur and Spinach

Bulgur (or cracked wheat) makes for a satisfying, sensational filling for these grilled red pepper halves. Any leftover filling can be enjoyed as a lunch the next day.

Hands-on Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour | Servings: 4 -8 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 5 large red bell peppers
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coarse or medium bulgur
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 bag (6 oz.) fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1¼ cups crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • ¼ tsp. coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
  1. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Cut 4 peppers in half through stem end; remove seeds and cut out ribs, leaving stems intact. Finely chop remaining pepper; set aside.
  2. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add bulgur and salt. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add chopped pepper and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add cranberries and pine nuts; sauté 2 minutes. Add cumin and stir just to combine. Add spinach; stir until beginning to wilt, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and mix in bulgur, mint and dill. Stir in half of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place pepper halves, cut side down, on hot grill. Cover and grill 10 minutes; turn over and grill until slightly softened, about 5-10 minutes longer. Remove from grill.
  6. Divide bulgur mixture among pepper halves.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve.
  8. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 410, Calories from Fat 180, Total Fat 21g (32% DV), Saturated Fat 8g (40% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 40mg (13% DV), Sodium 1240mg (52% DV), Carbohydrates 46g (15% DV), Dietary Fiber 9g (36% DV), Sugars 14g, Protein 14g, Vitamin A 180%, Vitamin C 490%, Calcium 30%, Iron 20%.

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Waffles on the Grill

Waffles on the Grill

Breakfast on the grill? Why not! Easily enjoy frozen waffles grilled and topped with fruit and maple syrup…what a way to start the day!

Hands-on Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4 to 5 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 box (12.3 oz.) 10 frozen waffles
  • Maple syrup or pancake syrup to taste
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries or red raspberries, or a combination of both
  • 2 containers (5.3 oz.) Greek yogurt, fruit on the bottom or plain
Directions:
  1. Prepare the grill for medium heat.
  2. Grill waffles, 2-4 at a time, turning once until golden on each side and cooked through.
  3. Serve with syrup, berries and a few dollops of yogurt.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 340, Calories from Fat 80, Total Fat 9g (14% DV), Saturated Fat 1.5g (8% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 15mg (5% DV), Sodium 580mg (24% DV), Carbohydrates 56g (19% DV), Dietary Fiber 6g (24% DV), Sugars 19g, Protein 10g, Vitamin A 25%, Vitamin C 25%, Calcium 35%, Iron 30%.

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Sundried Tomato Hummus

Sundried Tomato Hummus

Quick and easy with endless varieties, try this delicious hummus recipe today.

Hands-on Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 15 minutes | Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 jar (7 oz.) sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained, reserving 4 Tbsp. oil
  • 4 Tbsp. water
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 cans (16 oz.) chickpeas, 1 drained and 1 undrained
  • 1½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • Fresh assorted veggies, pita or pita chips
Directions:
  1. Place ingredients (including reserved oil) in a blender and attach lid.
  2. Blend on high, stopping to scrape sides if necessary, until mixture is smooth and well combined.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 390, Calories from Fat 210, Total Fat 26g (40% DV), Saturated Fat 3.5g (18% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 1100mg (46% DV), Carbohydrates 35g (12% DV), Dietary Fiber 11g (44% DV), Sugars 0g, Protein 13g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 90%, Calcium 20%, Iron 35%.

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Easy Granola Bars

Easy Granola Bars

Granola bars can be simple to make—and you can make them your signature bars by changing the nuts, dried fruits and other add-ins.

Hands-on Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes | Servings: 6 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp. flax or chia seeds
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup agave or local honey
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Spray an 8”x8” baking dish with cooking spray. Heat oven to 325°F.
  2. Spread the oats, coconut and almonds on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown (being careful not to burn). Remove from oven, stir in the cranberries and seeds, and set aside.
  3. In a medium size saucepan, combine the brown sugar, agave/honey, coconut oil, vanilla and salt. Cook over medium heat until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Pour toasted oat mixture into saucepan with brown sugar mixture and stir together well until coated and combined.
  4. Pour into prepared baking dish, pressing down so it’s even and mixture stays together. Allow to cool completely.
  5. Melt the semisweet chocolate chips and drizzle over mixture; allow chocolate to cool and set, then cut into bars to serve.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 460, Calories from Fat 150, Total Fat 18g (28% DV), Saturated Fat 9g (45% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 200mg (8% DV), Carbohydrates 67g (22% DV), Dietary Fiber 10g (40% DV), Sugars 26g, Protein 11g, Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 20%, Iron 20%.

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Baby Greens with Lemon Dressing

Baby Greens with Lemon Dressing

Here's a fresh salad to complement any meal -- the simple-to-make dressing is light and refreshing.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 cups baby greens salad mix
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shaved
Directions:
  1. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  2. Place the baby greens into a salad bowl. Just before serving, add dressing and toss.
  3. Try with Homemade Croutons.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Created by: Liz DellaCroce, The Lemon Bowl

A fresh and tasty grilled fruit recipe, the pineapple caramelizes as it cooks to create the ultimate fruity salsa recipe for summer.

Serves: 8 | Serving Size: ½ Cup | Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium pineapple – trimmed and sliced vertically
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • ½ cup cilantro – minced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced (remove seeds to keep mild)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tortilla chips to serve
Directions:
  1. Preheat the grill over medium-high heat.
  2. Brush both sides of the pineapple slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the pineapple until caramelized on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side, rotating once. Remove from grill and dice into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together diced grilled pineapple with onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

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6 Tips for the Perfect Backyard BBQ

6 Tips for the Perfect Backyard BBQ

Backyard grilling is more fun with friends, so call everyone over for the day or just for dinner. There are ways to simplify in order to spend less time working and more time mingling.

  • Decide what beverages you’ll be serving and make them ahead of time. Store in pitchers in the refrigerator. Freeze some in ice cube trays or use frozen berries or mango chunks so drinks won’t be watered down when you have the pitchers outside on the day of the event.
  • Blow up helium balloons with glow sticks inside. They’ll add color and cheer while it’s sunny and create a fun floating ambiance as the sun starts to set.
  • Streamline your decor. Buy a set of neutral melamine (hard, reusable plastic) dishes to use all season. For each party get fun themed napkins. Label reusable metal straws with pretty paper tape that coordinates to the different themes—a decor trick but also a way to help guests keep their drinks straight. Use patterned wrapping paper as cost-effective and recyclable placemats or table runners.
  • Provide activities for a spectrum of ages. For the teeniest of guests, prepare a safe place they can roll around on the ground next to their grown up. Supply sidewalk chalk for an art station. Is there space for water balloons and a sprinkler--away from folks who don’t want to get wet? People of all ages enjoy bean bag toss, giant Jenga, and a game of horseshoe. A s’more station would be fun for all ages, but if there are children attending, make sure it’s in plain view so grown-ups and little ones can safely team up for this tasty project.
  • Place citronella tiki lights around the yard or design centerpieces with citronella candles so mosquitoes don’t crash the party.
  • Set out a skincare basket with sunscreen at varying SPFs and different kinds of bug repellents for guests to choose from. As you greet people, let them know where it is located.

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3 Ideas to Stay Cool this Summer (for kids)

3 Ideas to Stay Cool this Summer (for kids)

  1. Kids will love the idea of ice cream for lunch. Make thick, healthy fruit smoothies any time of the day and serve in a bowl as “ice cream.” Use a banana as the base ingredient and anything blended in will be sweetened plenty (even greens!). Add sprinkles or a cherry on top for extra fun. Protein-rich toppings could be “whipped cream” (honey-sweetened Greek yogurt) and different kinds of chopped nuts. Banana pineapple sundae with whipped cream and pecans on top? Yes, please!
  2. Make pretty popsicles. Freeze fruit juice (diluted one-third to one-half with water) and add blue berries for a polka dot look. For a floral popsicle, freeze lemonade with petals of organically-grown pansies, roses or calendula. Adding in a piece of frozen mandarin orange could be fun as well. White grape juice would pair well frozen raspberries or flower petals. Mix and match ideas all season long.
  3. Fashion an outdoor water park at home. Regardless of how much space you have outside, you can create a water station to keep kids occupied and cooled off. Turn on a fun sprinkler or two. Set up an umbrella or make a shade cloth with cheerful printed fabric. Have a stock of water balloons and water toys on hand so kids always have access to cooling down.

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Sunny Sangria Bar

Sunny Sangria Bar

Treat your guests to a fun sangria bar. We typically think of sangria as being red or pink, but this bar will celebrate summer with cheerful orange and yellow accents. We’ll use white wine as a base and offer many different choices so guests can mix up their own unique concoctions—from strong to sweet and everything in between.

You Will Need:
  • White wine
  • Vodka
  • Unsweetened iced tea (herbal & green)
  • Lemonade
  • Stevia powder
  • Orange slices
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Lemon slices
  • Chopped mango
  • Pineapple tidbits
  • Honey for drizzling
  • Ice
  • Serving platters
  • Pitchers
  • Glasses
  • Serving spoons and tongs

First, decide where to set up the bar. You’ll want to make sure all the ingredients stay nice and cold, so inside would be the easiest spot. However, if your heart is set on having the bar outside, prepare to fill large serving dishes with lots of ice. You can put the beverage bottles, pitchers and serving dishes of ingredients in the ice bins you’ve created.

Gather the liquids. We’ll be using white wine as a base, so purchase one bottle for every four people. That will allow for approximately two drinks per guest. Chill the wine ahead of time. Provide a cold bottle of vodka for those who want to add an extra kick in their drink. Unsweetened iced tea is a creative addition to sangria—perhaps offer an herbal and a green variety so people can choose whether or not they want caffeine. Making lemonade with stevia (an herb and calorie-free sugar substitute in the form of powder) would also be a tasty option.

Prepare the fruit. Slice quartered oranges and lemons to place on a platter. Arrange in rows, alternating to have fun with the color, or set them out in a simple flower or a circular pattern. Chopped mango can go in its own bowl, as can pineapple tidbits or mandarin oranges. If you used canned fruit, you could either pour the fruit and liquid into the bowl, or separate them. The liquid, likely syrup or juice, might be a tasty addition to sangria and could be displayed next to the fruit bowls in its own container.

For final touches, you could create tent-style labels or write a few sample recipes on cardstock. Perhaps include honey in a squeeze bottle so folks can drizzle the inside of their glass with something sweet before mixing up their drink. Once everything is setup, it’s crucial to make yourself a test beverage while you wait for guests to arrive!

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Beach or Pool Packing List

Beach or Pool Packing List

Hitting the beach, pool or waterpark is a refreshing way to spend a hot summer day. In all the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to pack the items you’ll want for a more fulfilling trip.

  • Pack plenty of inflatable toys, buckets for sandcastles, mini shovels and noodles.
  • Make sure to bring folding chairs, blankets and towels for the whole crew.
  • Protection from the sun is important. Bring an umbrella or other shade, sunscreen, sunglasses, and lip balm with an appropriate SPF level.
  • Sunhats or baseball caps help keep your face and neck from being sunburned; long-sleeved water shirts protect chest, neck, and shoulders. And bring a change of clothes just in case things get wet.
  • Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies with high water content. Also pack snacks with electrolytes such as pickles, and cheese with crackers to deliver sodium. Bananas and coconut water are high in potassium, while yogurt and almonds contain calcium. Cucumbers and peanut butter are both magnesium-rich.
  • Plenty of clean ice and ice packs in the cooler keep food and drinks cold. Or pack a few frozen water bottles to melt throughout the day.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

Summer Skin Care

Summer Skin Care

Our skin has been craving the bright, warm comfort of sunshine and the gentle breezes of summer. We may be anxious to wear our tanks, shorts, dresses and swim suits, but it’s important to take good care of that exposed skin throughout the season. Sunscreen, bug repellant and aloe vera are three summertime essentials you should never leave the house without.

Sun Protection

It’s wise to protect your skin whenever you're in the sun, not just when you’ll be at the beach from morning until night. Consider applying a daily moisturizer with a 15 or 20 SPF each morning on your face, neck and chest. Some cosmetics even build low-level sun protection into their foundations or tinted moisturizers. Find a lip balm or lip color with SPF in it as well, and use it daily.

If you are planning to be outside for a significant time period, use a higher SPF on all exposed skin areas. Remember that sunscreen needs to be reapplied after time, sweating or going in water.

Covering your skin and utilizing shade are also great ways to protect skin, as they don’t wear off. Consider swim shirts for kids who may be harder to wrangle when it’s time to reapply sunscreen again. Treat yourself to a cute sunhat or two. Add some light-colored, thin, flowing articles of clothing to your wardrobe.

Bug Repellant

There are many types of bug repellants to choose from. Early this season, perhaps try your hand at making your own with natural oils. Combine 1 tablespoon each witch hazel and your preferred kind of oil (coconut, jojoba, almond, etc.). Now here is the fun part: mix fragrant essential oils to total a 50-drop combination. Choose from cedarwood, eucalyptus, lemongrass, rosemary, clove, citronella, tea tree, lavender, peppermint and rose geranium.

Do you want an herbed bug repellant? Try rosemary, citronella, cedarwood and clove. If you’d like a floral version, combine rose geranium, lemongrass, lavender and tea tree. Minimalists may like a simple eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree mix. Have fun with it!

Recycled baby food jars would be a nice size container for your different scents, or a larger batch would store nicely in a 4 ounce canning jar.

Before applying all over the body, always test for allergic reactions on a small part of the skin.

Aloe Vera

Pure aloe vera has many wonderful properties: it hydrates, soothes, cools, heals and even has antibacterial properties. Aloe is rich in vitamins C and A. Many people use it for cuts and wounds, but also as a topical cream after getting sunburned. Aloe is a gentle daily moisturizer for face and body, too. It’s widely available as gel in bottles, but it’s also easy to use right from the source.

Aloe vera plants, part of the succulent family, are a breeze to care for and lovely to have in your home. To harvest the gel, snap off a lower branch at the base of the plant. Cut off the thorns along one edge. Carefully slice length-wise to expose the gel-like interior; you’ll have two thin, symmetrical pieces. Use a spoon to scrape out the gel to put directly on the desired areas. Aloe vera gel can stain, so wear clothes you aren’t worried about. Refrigerate the remaining gel, and thank your handy healing plant.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

Setting the Table Outside: Garden Party Table

Setting the Table Outside: Garden Party Table

Allow your flowering garden beds to inspire your next outdoor get-together.

You Will Need:
  • Several varieties/colors of flowers
  • Gardening shears or scissors
  • 20+ small, glass jars or containers that can hold water
  • Water
  • Smooth stones (1 per guest)
  • Metallic permanent markers
  • Metal serving trays (optional; 1 per guest)

Whether a small gathering of close friends and family or a celebration with a larger party, a creatively styled table adds a certain wow-factor, especially when it’s outside. You know all those glass jars you’ve been saving—jelly jars, hot sauce jars, baby food jars? We’re going to put them to good use today! If you don’t have a plethora and don’t want to raid the neighbor’s recycling bins, just purchase a pack or two of jelly sized canning jars. Additionally, antique stores will often carry interesting bottles in many shapes, sizes and colors. We’re going to use these as vases to design a whimsical runner of blooms for your table—the more jars the merrier.

Keep the flowers indoors in fresh water until right before guests arrive. Cut flowers wilt faster in direct sun, heat and wind. You can get the rest of the table ready ahead of time.

Make sure all the glass vases are clean. Bacteria will diminish the vase life of your flowers. Begin to set out the vases down the center of your table. If it’s a particularly wide table or you don’t need space for serving platters (for instance, you have a buffet table elsewhere) you can plan for many vases to create a lush, abundant runner. On the other hand, if the dining table must house the décor, guests and their food, you can still achieve an adorable affect with a single row of vases and flowers.

Oval stones can serve as place markers, adding a personal touch and encouraging guests to find their seats. Use a permanent metallic marker and your best cursive to write names or initials, space depending. These stones will double as a weight for napkins if it’s a breezy day. For smaller parties and/or if you have plenty of room, each setting could be on an antique metal tray for a touch of grandeur.

Just before guests arrive, trim flowers down appropriately and pop a stem or two in each mini vase on the table outside. To tie in the surroundings, snip anything that’s blooming in your garden. Just be aware that those plants may not hold up as well after being cut—not all plants are suited for a vase.

After the party, you can send the teeny vase arrangements home with guests as a little “Thank You.” Many would likely fit in the cup holder of a car. And after all, the vessels you used were destined for (or salvaged from) the recycling anyway. You might also have leftovers to bring inside to add cheer in every room of the house. They can remind you all week of the nice time that was had at the party.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

Summer Floral: Joyful and Free Summer Arrangement

Summer Floral: Joyful and Free Summer Arrangement

Create a flower arrangement that embodies the wild, never-ending days of summer.

You Will Need:
  • Bowl or chalice
  • Flowers and foliage
  • Sharp scissors
  • Sharp pruners
  • Water
  • Clear tape
  • Glass floral beads

All stems should be given a fresh, slanted cut upon immediate arrival home. Always use clean, sharp scissors to prevent bacterial growth that shortens the vase life of flowers. Woody stems should be cut a few inches right up the middle. Place flowers and greenery into holding jars while you gather materials.

For this project, use a bowl instead of a typical vase. This will create a wide, spreading arrangement as opposed to something tall and slender. You will need to put the finished arrangement somewhere with plenty of surface area, like a dining table that’s often visible but used only on special occasions. If you have a mantle, you could create a more narrow, liner shape in order to fit it to that space.

If you have a chalice, or footed bowl, use that, but any bowl (even a clear glass mixing bowl from the kitchen) will provide a new shape for your arrangement and be more interesting than a typical vase. Wash with hot soap and water. Add glass floral beads and fill it three-quarters full with room temperature water and then make a tape grid on top to create some structure for the stems.

Choose one stem at a time and cut again to length after deciding where you want it. Strip the leaves off so that none will be under water and have the opportunity for decay. Using a variety of blooms and foliage, begin to place stems into the bowl, starting with the outer edge and working your way to the middle. Some stems will be nearly horizontal and some will curve down to the table—this will create a gorgeous wide silhouette.

To enjoy your arrangement for the maximum amount of time possible, trim flower stems after three days or so. Change water every other day. When much of the arrangement begins to fade, perhaps take out what still looks good, give it a fresh snip and rearrange in a small simple vase to be placed on the bedside table or near the bathroom sink. This way, the flowers that last longer aren’t hidden in an arrangement past its prime.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

The Favorite Brunch Burger

The Favorite Brunch Burger

Build a delicious burger with eggs, lean beef, cheese and mayonnaise on a bun and there you have it: Brunch!

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 30 min. | Serves: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. Kroger Ground Beef, 90% Lean
  • 1 Tbsp. McCormick Montreal Grill Mates Steak Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Kroger Traditional Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 4 pasteurized eggs
  • 4 Kroger 100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
  • 4 tsp. Hellman’s Mayonnaise
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 3 green onions, end cut, sliced lengthwise, then chopped
Directions:
  1. Mix beef, seasoning, onion and bread crumbs in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove and divide into 4 patties.
  2. Heat oil in 12” non-stick skillet. Cook eggs to desired doneness. Set aside on a plate, loosely covered.
  3. For stovetop preparation: In same skillet over medium heat, cook patties for 8-12 minutes or until internal temperature reads 160°F.
  4. On the grill: Preheat grill to medium and cook for 8-12 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F.
  5. Spread mayonnaise on the inside side of each hamburger bun half. Place in hot skillet for 30 seconds or until lightly toasted.
  6. Build it! Top the bottom half of each bun with patty, cheese, tomato, green onions, egg and top bun.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Analysis:

Per serving: Calories 570, Calories from Fat 280, Total Fat 31g (48% DV), Saturated Fat 10g (50% DV), Trans Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 270mg (90% DV), Sodium 1250mg (52% DV), Carbohydrates 35g (12% DV), Dietary Fiber 5g (20% DV), Sugars 5g, Protein 39g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 8%, Calcium 20%, Iron 30%.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

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