Memorial Day, and the unofficial start of summer, is just around the corner! It is the beginning of the season of pot luck dinners, cookouts, barbecues, and impromptu get-togethers with family and friends. The last thing you want to be doing is spending unnecessary time in your kitchen. Here is a collection of five recipes that take minimal time to put together, but have maximum flavor. Perfect for kids and adults alike!
Tri-Melon Salad W/Honey & Lime
Go ahead and cut the fruit and even put it in your serving bowl up to a day ahead. Don’t drizzle on the syrup until just before you serve. Bite-sized chunks are great for eating, but go just a bit bigger than that so that they hold together in the bowl better.
Cantaloupe, Watermelon, and Honeydew-trimmed and cut into large chunks
1/2 c honey, preferably local and raw
1 T water
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime, about 2 T
In a large serving bowl, layer the fruit a bit at a time. You aren’t going to stir this so however it goes in the dish is how you want it. Clear vessels are beautiful but it ultimately doesn’t matter. Cover and chill until ready to serve. When ready to eat, microwave the water and honey for 30 seconds in a glass measuring cup, stirring and heating longer if necessary to make it easily pourable and warm. Add the lime juice and zest, stir, and drizzle over the fruit just before you serve it. Do not stir. Garnish with mint or lime wedges if desired. Note: The chunks on the bottom that sit in the syrup the longest are the pieces you are going to be fighting over!
Corn Cake Muffins
1 pkg Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 pkg Jiffy Yellow or White cake mix
1/3 c milk
1/2 c water
Combine all ingredients just until blended. Pour into greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until just lightly browned.
Strawberry Watermelon Cooler
I froze the leftovers, minus the pop, in pop-stickle molds. YUM!
1/2 lb strawberries, chunked (about 2 c)
4 c chunked watermelon
1 T lime juice
1/4 c simple syrup*(see note)
Sprite, Sierra Mist, 7-Up , or Gingerale
Put all ingredients except the pop in a blender and puree till smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher. Fill glasses halfway with fruit puree and top off with pop. It is also perfectly wonderful without the soda. If you have a particularly good watermelon, skip the added sweetener. You won’t need it.
*Note: I have mentioned this before but on the off chance you missed it, here it is again. Simple Syrup is just equal parts sugar and water, boiled on the stove until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temp and store in the fridge. It will last for months and I keep it on hand always. Why? Use it to sweeten anything you don’t want the grittiness of sugar in. Smoothies, iced tea, mixed drinks, granitas or sorbets-sometimes I even brush it on the layers of a cake to keep it moist.
Grilled Ribeye W/Rosemary & Dijon
4 ribeye or T-bone steaks
1 T dijon mustard
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh rosemary leaves, removed from stems, but left whole
1 tsp kosher salt
lots of black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large zip-top bag, or bowl, tossing over and over to make sure that the meat is evenly coated. Let marinate for 2 hours, turning the steaks occasionally to redistribute the rosemary. When ready to grill, remove the large sprigs of herbs (they will burn) and grill over direct, medium-high heat. Sear one side for 3-4 minutes for steaks that are at least 1 inch thick, a minute less if they are a bit thinner. Turn once, searing the other side for another 3 minutes, or until medium-rare. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
Rocky Road Crispy Bars
1-16 oz bag marshmallows (note: this is the big 1 lb bag, not the regular size)
4 T (half stick) of butter
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1-12 oz box crispy rice cereal
1 c peanuts
1 c semisweet or dark chocolate chips
3 c (half of a regular 10 oz bag) of mini marshmallows
In the largest microwaveable bowl you have, melt the large marshmallows, butter, and peanut butter in 30-second intervals, stirring between times until smooth and creamy. Add the crispy rice cereal and quickly stir and fold together until combined. Ad the mini marshmallows, peanuts, and chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed, using buttered hands at the end if that is easier. Press the whole mixture into a buttered 9X13 pan and let sit until room temperature. Cut into squares. Keep sealed in an airtight container for up to three days.