A truly memorable summer menu

Published 5:11 am Thursday, May 13, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Summer days are often spent with family and friends, soaking in the sun’s rays and enjoying outdoor living with warm-weather activities. Complement this year’s summertime excitement with food that matches your enthusiasm for the season.

Your menu can start with a fruity dip and a salad before diving into steak for the main course and a kid-friendly treat to top it all off. These recipes make the most of what summer has to offer with fresh fruits and veggies, bright and refreshing greens, tender cuts of meat and frozen treats that celebrate those memorable moments together.

Find more summer recipe inspiration at Culinary.net.

Email newsletter signup

Dip Up a Good Time

Whether your summer days include planning extravagant meals or your on-the-go lifestyle calls for quick and easy recipes, simple snacks can fit a wide variety of menus. Dips are a perfect solution for afternoon pick-me-ups or evening appetizers when the whole family comes together.

This Apple Guacamole can be made in mere minutes, making it an ideal shareable among loved ones, by combining mashed avocados and seasonings with chopped Granny Smith apple pieces.

Visit Culinary.net for more snack ideas.

Apple Guacamole
Recipe adapted from the Meredith Corporation
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8-10

3 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
1/2 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juice only
bottled hot pepper sauce, to taste
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
kosher salt, to taste
tortilla chips

In bowl, use fork to mash avocados, onion, cilantro, lime juice and hot pepper sauce to desired consistency. Stir in apple and season with salt, to taste.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Savor a Bite of Steak

A hearty flavor profile and perfectly prepared, high-quality meat can make a summer meal truly spectacular, especially when paired with fresh veggies in a protein-packed sandwich.

Inspired by Vietnamese tradition, this Steak Banh Mi recipe – which features tender grass-fed flat iron steak, pickled carrots, bright lettuce and crunchy cucumbers – is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next summer gathering. Take your taste buds to new heights with Silver Fern Farms natural cuts of 100% grass-fed beef from New Zealand, which is minimally processed with no added growth hormones or antibiotics. There, the animals roam and graze freely over lush green hills and pastures, resulting in lean, flavorful, nutritious meat that tastes just as nature intended.

Visit silverfernfarms.com for more inspiration.

Steak Banh Mi
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

10 ounces Silver Fern Farms New Zealand grass-fed beef flat iron steak
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon, plus 1/2 cup, rice vinegar, divided
1/8 teaspoon five-spice powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 Vietnamese baguettes or dinner rolls
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 Batavia lettuce leaves
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 Persian cucumber, sliced

Remove steak from packaging and set aside 10 minutes. Once steak reaches room temperature, place steak in deep plate or storage container. In small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, garlic, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar and five-spice powder; pour over steak. Cover and marinate in fridge at least 2 hours, or overnight.

In small pot over medium heat, heat remaining rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Cook and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool.

Place carrots in deep plate or storage container. Pour cooled pickling liquid over carrots. Set aside to marinate.

Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Reserve marinade.

Heat oven to 325 F.

Heat heavy-bottomed pan over high heat and add oil. Once oil begins to smoke, add steak. Sear both sides, about 1 minute per side. Lower heat to medium.

Add reserved marinade and water to pan. Cook, covered, 3 minutes, removing lid to flip meat occasionally. Remove lid and let sauce reduce 1 minute, or until slightly thickened.

Transfer steak and sauce to large plate and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Toast baguettes in oven 5 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes.

Slice baguettes along middle without cutting through.

Slice steak into thin pieces.

Spread mayonnaise on baguettes and add 1-2 lettuce leaves to each. Layer steak on lettuce leaves followed by cilantro, cucumbers and pickled carrots. Slice baguette into two sandwiches.

Go for Satisfying Summer Greens

Many summer meals start with a simple yet satisfying appetizer: salad. This year, make sure you set the table with a bright, delightful bowl of greens that sets the tone for an enjoyable and festive meal with loved ones.

This Apple, Strawberry, Blueberry Salad calls for an array of fruits, including a homemade blueberry dressing, paired with Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix for a fresh and flavorful base with pecan halves to add crunch. The salads are thoroughly washed, rinsed and gently dried then sealed in Keep-Crisp bags to maintain freshness.

Find more salad inspiration at freshexpress.com.

Apple, Strawberry, Blueberry Salad
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Blueberry Dressing:
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

2 large apples
2 packages (6 ounces each) Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix
1 pint strawberries, cut in half
1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
blueberry dressing

To make blueberry dressing: In blender, process blueberries, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth. Set aside.
To prepare salad: Cut apples into 1/4-inch thick slices. Using 1-1/2-inch diameter star-shaped cutter, cut apple slices into stars.

Place lettuce mix in large bowl; add apples, strawberries and blueberries. Sprinkle with pecans. Before serving, drizzle each salad with blueberry dressing.

Sweet, Summery Treats

After some fun in the pool and time spent in the sun, a cooling treat is often the perfect way to cap off a summer day. Fresh fruits make those sweet eats even tastier and easier by making dessert in the morning and letting it freeze while you enjoy the warmth outdoors.

These Watermelon Berry Frozen Pops make dessert about as simple as possible by blending watermelon, blueberries, raspberries and honey before adding to ice pop molds and freezing throughout the day. With the addition of refreshing watermelon, you’re opting for a flavorful fruit that includes just 80 calories and no fat while providing an excellent source of vitamin C (25%) and higher levels of lycopene (12.7 milligrams per 2-cup serving) – an antioxidant being studied for its role in sun protection – than any other fresh fruit or vegetable.

To find more summertime snacks, meals and treats, visit watermelon.org.

Watermelon Berry Frozen Pops
Servings: 8

6 cups watermelon
1 cup blueberries, divided
1 cup raspberries, divided
3 tablespoons honey

In blender, blend watermelon, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries and honey until smooth. Press through fine mesh strainer to remove pulp and seeds.

Fill ice pop molds 3/4 full with liquid. Add remaining whole blueberries and raspberries to molds. Insert sticks and freeze at least 4 hours, or until completely frozen.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Apple Guacamole)