I don’t know about where you live, but Illinois is HOT and HUMID right now. Which basically just means I never want to turn the oven on ever. So in the interest of saving us all from a cooking-induced heat wave, I’ve put together a handy little list of recipes that are PERFECT for beating the summertime heat. No ovens required here, folks! All of these recipes can be made on the grill, in a crock pot, or just by throwing a bunch of ingredients together in one big bowl!
One of my favorite things about summertime is the amazing produce that springs up. I love making a bunch of these dips and spreads to have in the fridge and making a meal out of some crostini and a variety of toppings. These are also great recipes to share with a crowd at barbecues, picnics, you name it! Though the crostini in the recipes are traditionally cooked in the oven, I recommend grilling slices of bread for a minute or two on each side. You could also nix the crostini altogether and substitute hearty vegetables or store-bought breadsticks to use with the different dips.
I love cold cocktails on hot summer days. These drinks are flavorful but not too sweet, and they’re easy to make ahead in large batches. I like to mix a big bowl of them and keep it in the fridge, then pour a bit at a time over ice, shake, and serve as needed.
My slow cooker is a huge blessing during the summer months. It’s great because it emits almost NO heat, so my kitchen doesn’t warm up, but I also love it because I can throw dinner in before we go adventuring in the sun for the day and come home to a meal that’s ready-to-go!
For the Grill:
Some of these recipes are written for the oven, but throw them on the grill instead for your next backyard bonanza! To grill pizza, simply spread the dough out in the shape you want, then grill one side WITHOUT TOPPINGS for a few minutes to get some nice char marks. Pull it off the grill and onto a plate, add your toppings to the cooked side, and return to the grill uncooked-side down until the cheese melts. Some of my favorite toppings are mozzarella & prosciutto, classic cheese, or a mix of fresh fruit with fontina and marscapone cheeses for a nifty dessert!
I actually don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I’m a sucker for chocolate covered strawberries.