Summer guide: recipes to add flavor to any gathering

Summer guide: recipes to add flavor to any gathering

Warm weather lures people outside. Dining alfresco offers an opportunity to spend even more time outdoors, and many people will agree that no alfresco gathering is complete without the requisite grilled dishes and complementary sides that are staples of spring and summer dinners. Try these recipes for a light and healthy summer meal.

Is there shrimp on the menu tonight? Maybe it should be. With only about 7 calories per medium shrimp, this crustacean is low

Shrimp quesadillas make for a light, healthy, and flavorful summer dinner. Metro Creative

in calories and rich in lean protein and is one of the few dishes that contains the beneficial antioxidants selenium and astaxanthin,

according to The American Shrimp Company. The majority of North American shrimp is harvested in the Gulf of Mexico, providing fresh catches for the US and Canada. About 244 million pounds of shrimp are produced annually. An abundance of shrimp means the possibilities for delicious meals are endless.

For something with lots of flavor and appeal, try this recipe, courtesy of Eastern Fish Company. Plump shrimp are nestled between tortillas and seasoned with familiar Latin flavors, ideal for a quick meal anytime.

Shrimp Quesadilla

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

1 lime, squeezed

1 teaspoon vegetable oil, or as needed

6 large flour tortillas

3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and red pepper in the hot oil, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and peppers are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir salt, cumin and chili powder through the onion and bell pepper. Stir the shrimp into the mix and cook until the shrimp are opaque and no longer pink in the center, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat; Stir jalapeno pepper and lime juice into shrimp mixture.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and brush with about 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Place a tortilla in the hot oil. Spoon about 1/6th shrimp filling and 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend onto one side of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half.

Cook until bottom of tortilla is lightly browned, about 5 minutes; flip and cook the other side until light brown. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. Serves 6.

Replace Greek yogurt with mayonnaise-based dressing to make a healthier potato salad.

Potato salad is a dish that regularly pops up this time of year in many shapes and forms. Traditional potato salad is delicious, but it may not be great for the health-conscious as it’s usually swimming in mayonnaise. A lighter version with Greek yogurt in the dressing is ideal for those who want to eat healthy. Greek yogurt also adds gut-healthy live active cultures to the recipe, which may provide gastrointestinal benefits. Enjoy this recipe, courtesy of The Diabetes Council and Pitchfork Foodie Farms.

Greek Yogurt Potato Salad

2 pounds Yukon Gold or red potato

1/2 onion

6 eggs

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

4 tablespoons sour cream

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

1 teaspoon fresh 1/2 cup dill pickles, chopped

Bell pepper, for garnish (optional)

Parsley, for garnish

Peel potatoes and onions and cut into cubes. Place them and a teaspoon of salt in a pressure cooker and cover with an inch of water. Close cover. Set the pressure cooker to high pressure. Set the timer for 5 minutes, cook and release quickly when done. Drain potatoes. Cool until just warm. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the potatoes in a pot of water on the stove until tender.) Place the eggs on a rack in the pressure cooker. Add half an inch of water. Close valve, set high pressure for 5 minutes. Cook for 5 minutes, release quickly and leave lid closed for 5 minutes. Remove the lid after 5 minutes. Drain the eggs and cover with ice water to stop the cooking process. Leave in an ice water bath for about 5 minutes, then peel the eggs. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker, hard boil eggs according to your favorite recipe.) Add Greek yogurt, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, celery seed, and dill weed to a large mixing bowl. Stir until smooth. Taste test to see if you need to add ingredients. Add cooled diced potatoes, pickles, and hard-boiled eggs. Stir gently until potatoes are coated with dressing. Adjust spices to taste. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Notes: Yukon Gold or red potatoes hold their shape best in potato salad. White distilled vinegar is classic in potato salad, but cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or lemon juice can be used instead.

Every amateur baker needs a go-to pie recipe in his or her repertoire. While apple gets a lot of fanfare in Maine when the fruit ripens in the fall, summer in Maine wouldn’t be complete without a pie made with fresh, wild native blueberries. They pack that perfect punch of sweet yet sour flavor that bursts into the mouth with every bite.

A pie made with wild Maine blueberries is the perfect end to any summer meal.

Ginger & Spice Wild Maine Blueberry Pie


2½ cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, 1/4 inch cubes

1/2 cup refrigerated all-vegetable shortening

3½ tablespoons ice water

1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 egg white, beaten until foamy


4½ cups fresh blueberries (room temperature)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar, depending on desired sweetness

1/4 cup instant or quick-cooking tapioca, ground

2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 scant teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons orange marmalade

1/2 tablespoon raw turbinado cane sugar


combine lemon juice and ice water and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk flour and salt. Cut in butter and fry with a stick blender until a coarse meal forms. Sprinkle half of the water/lemon mixture over the flour mixture; toss with a fork. Add the remaining half and stir until the dough begins to form a ball. Divide dough in half, flatten into 1/2-inch thick discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Cool 30 minutes.


In a large bowl, mix blueberries with lemon juice. In a separate medium bowl, stir together sugar, tapioca, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice until combined. Gently fold through the blueberries until well coated. Melt butter, stir in marmalade and fold into blueberry mixture. Let’s set it.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking tray with baking paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll a cooled dough disc into a 13-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate. Trim overhang to 3/4-inch from the edge. Brush the bottom and sides of the dough with egg white. Save the remaining egg whites. Place the lined plate in the freezer.

Roll the second cooled disk on a lightly floured surface into a 13-inch circle, then cut into 1-inch-wide strips with a pastry wheel. Remove the pie plate and pour in the filling, heaping slightly towards the center. Weave strips of dough over the filling to form a grid. Sealing, trimming and crimping the edge. Brush the reserved egg white over the dough. Sprinkle evenly with sugar.

Place the cake on a lined sheet. Bake at 425 F for 18 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 F. Bake for 50 minutes or until pie is bubbling. Let cool on a rack. Top with vanilla ice cream. Serves 8

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