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Queens Chronicle

Inexpensive summer recipes

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Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2009 12:00 am

It’s almost summer, when the living is easy. This year, why not enjoy the fruits and vegetables of the season, mouth-watering barbecues and other warm weather favorites without making a huge dent in your budget.

Listed below are easy recipes from soup to dessert that are sure to please the pickiest eaters as well as those watching their grocery bills.

Red Pepper Hummus

1 large red bell pepper

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/8 teaspoon salt

Broil pepper about five minutes a side. Place in a Ziplock plastic bag and seal for one minute. Peel pepper and remove seeds. Place pepper and remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve with crackers, pita chips or celery.

Pasta Salad

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon each of oregano, garlic, thyme and basil

8 ounces cooked pasta such as fusilli or penne

1 2 1/4-ounce can sliced ripe olives, black or green, drained

3 scallions, chopped

1 cup cooked chicken, chopped (optional)

Grape tomatoes

Mix together first four ingredients. Add pasta, olives and scallions. Stir in chicken, if desired and garnish with grape tomatoes. Serves four.

Chilled Beet and Raspberry Soup

3 pounds beets

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 ribs celery, diced

6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

1 pint fresh raspberries

2 cups light cream

1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, celery and cooked beets. Saute for five to seven minutes, then add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the stove and add the raspberries. Puree the soup in the pot using a hand blender, then strain through a sieve or mesh strainer to remove any seeds. Add the cream, vinegar, salt and pepper. Puree once more until blended. Let cool at room temperature for one hour, then refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.

Corn Salad

1 16-ounce package frozen corn, thawed

1 small onion, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

1 large green pepper, chopped

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill two hours. Makes five cups.

Hot Diggedy Dogs

8 hot dogs, sliced into 1/16-inch chunks

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons chopped dill pickle

3 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons mustard

Hot dog buns

Mix all ingredients together. Put in hot dog buns and cover with aluminum foil. Can be cooked in oven for 20 minutes at 300 degrees or on grill for 15 minutes.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This recipe can be cooked more quickly in the oven, otherwise it will take seven hours on the grill.

7 to 8-pound pork butt


1 bottle barbecue sauce

Basting Sauce:

1 12-ounce bottle dark beer

1 1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 1/4 cup white vinegar

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons paprika

Build a charcoal fire for indirect cooking by placing charcoal on only one side of the grill. Add a small aluminum pan to the empty side and fill it halfway with water. When the grill reaches 250 degrees, place pork butt on the empty side of the grill over the pan of water, close the lid and cook over indirect heat for four hours. While pork is cooking, combine basting sauce in a saucepan and mix well. Place over low heat and simmer until butter melts. Cook pork an additional three hours, basting every hour until internal temperature reaches 190 degrees. Add charcoal as needed. Remove pork from grill and let sit for 15 minutes. Pull cooked meat from the bone and serve mounded on buns, topped with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Strawberry Pink Lemonade

1 ounce pink lemonade flavor soft powdered drink mix

7 cups cold water

1 cup frozen strawberries, divided

Ice cubes

Place drink mix in plastic or glass pitcher. Add cold water; stir until drink mix is completely dissolved. Pour half of the drink mix and half of the strawberries into blender and cover. Blend on high speed until smooth. Pour over ice cubes in tall glasses. Repeat with remaining prepared drink mix and strawberries. Serve immediately.

Picnic Chicken

This recipe is perfect for a picnic because the roasted chicken is as flavorful cold as it is hot.

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

6 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon dried summer savory

1 4 1/2 to 5 pound roasting chicken

Combine the first six ingredients in blender and blend until garlic and bay leaf are finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Add chicken to bowl and turn to coat. Place marinated chicken in refrigerator, breast side down, overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rack in roasting pan. Remove chicken from marinade, reserving marinade. Place chicken on prepared rack and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until chicken is cooked through, basting occasionally with reserved marinade, about one hour and 20 minutes.

Crustless Banana Cream Pie

3 bananas

2 1/2 cups skim milk

1 package instant vanilla pudding mix

1 package instant banana cream pudding mix

2 cups frozen lite whipped topping, thawed

Slice two bananas and arrange in the bottom of a pie pan. Pour cold milk in a medium bowl. Add pudding mixes and whisk until thoroughly combined. Fold in 1/2 cup of the whipped topping. Pour over sliced bananas. Chill three hours and then top with remaining whipped cream and banana. Makes six servings.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 8-ounce container sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar

4 teaspoons milk

Beat butter at medium speed for two minutes until creamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating two minutes. Add eggs, sour cream, vanilla and lemon rind, beating until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Pour batter into a lightly-greased 9-inch springform pan. Combine blueberries, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from pan. Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

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