When temperatures rise outside, it’s time to get out to enjoy those cool to moderate
summer evenings by taking dinner outdoors. Whether you’re using an inexpensive
charcoal grill, or a nice, shiny gas grill, you can create some simple and amazing meals
with just a few delicious ingredients. The key is to purchase fresh ingredients that are in
season, and use a few simple oils, herbs, spices, and garnishes to bring out the organic
flavors and add a natural zing to your dishes. Here are a few ideas to create some lovely
courses for an evening meal that’s so good you’ll hope there will be leftovers.
Spinach Strawberry Salad
The first course of the meal is a simple, summer salad. Fresh spinach and strawberries
mix well together. Be sure to choose the big, ripe red strawberries that have a bit of
sweetness to them. Spinach is high in so many great nutritional needs, and it’s also
filling and low in calories. Grill up some bacon strips until crisp and chop them up into
bits for sprinkling on top of the salad to give texture and a salty, decadent flavor to the
salad. Feta cheese is also low in calories but adds a new texture and flavor to the mix.
Add a few sunflower seeds and a bit of raw, chopped red onion. For the dressing, mince
a teaspoon of garlic, add in 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup white vinegar, 1⁄4 cup finely chopped
strawberries, 1⁄2 cup cottonseed oil, and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Cottonseed oil is a versatile
vegetable oil that doesn’t contain trans-fats. Click here to learn more.
Chicken and Summer Squash
For your entrée, prepare a simple chicken and summer squash kebab with a light,
natural flavor that will compliment the salad. Chop a couple red onions into 1-inch
wedges, cut a few zucchini into eights, and cut a few summer squash in to eights as
well. Chop 2 cups of cherry tomatoes in half as well. Cut 1 1⁄2 pounds of boneless,
skinless chicken breasts in to 1-inch chunks. Mix 1⁄4 cup cottonseed oil with vinegar, and
coat the vegetables and chicken liberally. On a skewer, thread onion, zucchini, chicken,
tomatoes, and squash, and repeat for remaining skewers. Season with salt and pepper.
Coat the grill with cooking spray, heat to medium-high heat, and cook kebabs until
chicken is firm and cooked through. Garnish with extra tomatoes and serve immediately.
Grilled Peaches and Cream
Nectarines and peaches are divine in the summer when they’re in season, so take
advantage of their amazing flavor with this simple dessert. Half and pit peaches and grill
flat-side down until peaches are tender. Add some homemade whipped cream infused
with a bit of vanilla, and drizzle a bit of caramel. You can also use your favorite ice
cream instead of whipped cream. Serve immediately, while the peaches are still hot, to
create a delicious variety of flavor. A glass of white wine is a lovely addition.
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