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The Perfect Last Meal of Summer: Use the Hottest Ingredients of the Hottest Season to Create One Last Delicious Meal!
The last days of summer are approaching and it's almost time to bring out the snow boots; not just yet! Let's spend one more meal bringing summer out with a delicious bang with these easy menu items.
Lime and Cilantro Grilled Shrimp Kabobs
Everybody loves a good kabob, and any excuse to pull out the grill one last time is a good one to me! So what better appetizer for our last summer supper than grilled shrimp kabobs, covered in freshly squeezed lime juice and fragrant cilantro. Is your mouth watering yet?
- 20 Jumbo Shrimp (4 Shrimp per Kabob), Thawed, deveined and peeled
- Two Medium Lime or lemon (lime works best!)
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro, Finely chopped
- A pinch Salt and Pepper
- 1/8 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 15 Grape Tomatoes
- In a small mixing bowl, squeeze in the juice of two medium sized limes.
- Next, whisk in the chopped cilantro, salt, pepper and old bay seasoning. If you're not one of the blessed few that live in an area that carries Old Bay Seasoning, any All-Purpose seasoning will do; however I would recommend using less.
- Now that your marinade is made, you can now cover your shrimp it, make sure all of the shrimp are evenly coated. Of course, if you'd like you could let the shrimp sit in the marinade over night to get out the maximum amount of flavor, but just coating them in the marinade works well also.
- Alternating between shrimp and grape tomatoes, begin to build your kabob. If you don't like tomatoes, feel free to opt it out for any summertime veggies that you'd like! Bell peppers would look gorgeous on the kabobs, eggplant would add a great texture, or you can spice it up by adding some spicy peppers to the kabob-- they would taste AMAZING with the cilantro/lime mix. All together you should have 5 kabobs.
- The next step is the fun part; let's grill those babies up! It's ideal to go outside and use a charcoal grill for this recipe, but you can always throw them under the broiler on your oven and you'd get the same delicious charred taste. Or, if you're making these with the kids and want to avoid an open flame, you can always pan-sear them; just make sure you have non-stick spray with you.
- Flip the kabobs after about a minute and keep a close eye on them; they don't take long! You'll know they're ready to be flipped when they have beautiful deep char lines on them, or if you're broiling or pan-searing them, they'll turn a beautiful golden brown color. After about a few minutes on the grill each side, they're ready to be enjoyed.
Garden Ready Pasta Salad
The next awesome course on our menu is so delicious, you won't even notice there's no meat! It's my scrumptious Garden Ready Pasta Salad and its refreshing combination of juicy, plump tomatoes, crunchy carrots and sweet yellow corn are a sure crowd pleaser in the hot summer heat!
Prep time: 90 mins Cook time: 45 min Ready in: 2 hr 15min Yields: 10-12 servings
- One box of Rotini pasta, brand of your choice
- 1 Cup Italian Salad Dressing
- 1 Cup Creamy Cesar Salad Dressing
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, Medium dice
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Medium dice
- 1/2 Cup Carrots, Grated
- 2 Cups Grape Tomatoes, Whole or Halved, according to preference
- 1 Cup Yellow Corn, Canned and Drained
- 1 Large Cucumber, Medium Dice
- The prep time is a bit higher for the recipe, but I promise it is long worth the wait! First, you want to get your pasta boiling. Start by filling a large pot with water and turning it on high heat on your stovetop. TIP: Putting a couple sprinkles of salt in your pasta water before it starts boiling will actually make your water boil faster-- just be sure not to add to much salt; nobody wants salty noodles!
- Following the directions on the pasta box, or when your water comes to a rolling boil, slowly add your pasta noodles to the pot, stirring every few minutes so they don't stick. Feel free to use whatever pasta shape you'd like for this recipe; you could use elbow macaroni, bowtie... Heck, my mom makes her pasta salad with spaghetti noodles! Make this your OWN and have fun!
- Once your pasta is boiling away, it's time to start chopping. Start by medium dicing your bell peppers and cucumber. As always, if you don't like any of the vegetables I listed above; don't use them! Get creative and throw in whatever mix of veggies you'd like.
- Next, grab your handy dandy cheese grater (it's more useful than just fresh parmesan on spaghetti night!), and grate yourself about 1/2 cup of carrots. I recommend using large carrots so you can get a better quality and size. You can use more or less carrots depending on your preference.
- Lastly, grab a can of yellow corn kernels, drain about a cup and set them off to the side. Fresh white corn also works well with this recipe, you could even use frozen corn if you feel so inclined.
- Once all of your veggies are prepped, your pasta should be about ready to go! Ever not sure if your pasta is done? No better sure tell sign than a quick taste test! Once your pasta is boiled, drain the noodles very well and set them in the fridge for 30 mins to an hour to chill, stirring about every 15 minutes so they cool evenly.
- When the noodles are cooled all the way through you can start adding in all of your ingredients. I start with the dressings, making sure they are mixed in evenly first, then I fold in my vegetables. This is to ensure they stay bright and vibrant through the mixing process.
- The last step is also the easiest; Let's eat! Just pop the pasta salad back in the refrigerator to stay chilled once you're done.
Blueberry Banana "Nice" Cream
"What's for dessert, Raven Nicolle?" You've asked the right person! My home made blueberry banana "nice" cream will keep the kids happy, the adults satisfied and your sweet tooth at bay. You won't even believe it's not real ice cream! (That's right; vegan friendly!)
Prep Time: 5 mins Cook Time: 10 mins Ready In: 15 mins Yields: 4 Servings
- 4 Large Bananas, Frozen
- 2 Cups Blueberries, Frozen
- Light Agave Nectar, to taste (optional)
- Peel and pre-freeze 4 large bananas so they're ready when you want to make this delicious treat. Usually the bananas take overnight to freeze completely.
- The day you're ready to make the ice cream, place all 4 bananas and frozen blueberries in your blender at once. If you don't have a high powered blender, only blend two bananas and 1 cup of blueberries at a time. Also add about 1/2 cup of water into the blender to help the ingredients blend (only 1/4 cup if you're splitting the recipe); you'll know it's ready when your nice cream is creamy smooth.
- Once its ready, taste the ice cream to see if it's sweet enough. You could stop here, or you can feel free to add in the agave nectar. Start with about two tbs and take it from there. For all four servings, I usually end up adding about 4-5 tbs of agave nectar... I like my desserts sweet!
- When the ice cream is your desired level of sweetness, you could totally serve it as is as a soft serve ice cream, or you could transfer it to a bowl and throw it back in the freezer for another 30 minutes to an hour to let it harden up a bit more. I usually let my nice cream chill a little longer before serving.
- ...That's it! At this point, you could garnish with whatever your favorite ice cream toppings are: nuts, fruit, whipped cream (I have an AMAZING home made whipped cream recipe; coming soon!), and many more. Have fun!
Are you feeling the heat with these scrumptious summertime dishes? They are the perfect way to sum up the bright, bursting flavors of summer into one fabulous dinner.There's literally something for everyone to enjoy, and as always, make it your own! Invite your family and friends to have fun in the kitchen making these foods with you and paying homage to the last hurrah of the season. Happy Summer '16 guys, celebrate deliciously!
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