summer food

by admin on July 9, 2014


My summer blogging efforts continue with the K.I.S.S. method (Keepin’ It Short & Sweet!) This week I want to share a few tried and true EASY dishes and one that looks so good although I haven’ t tried yet!


Taco Salad

Years ago when I was a busy, working mom there were times after a busy day at the office I would aimlessly walk through Publix Markets thinking of something new to fix for supper! I had three hungry kids at home and coming up with a dish that all of them would like could be trying at times! This particular day I ran into a neighbor, Lori, and we chatted a while and then I said to her, “Ugh I need to get something different to fix for supper!” In response she gave me the best, easiest taco salad recipe, which was a huge hit and I am still making it today!

  • 1 head of lettuce (Romaine or Iceburg – it needs to be crunchy!)
  • Tomatoes
  • Sliced black olives
  • Chopped onions (scallions are good too)
  • Tortilla Chips – broken in bite-size pieces
  • One pound of ground turkey or beef (cooked and crumbly and HOT)
  • Shredded cheese (any kind)
  • Optional: avocado, black beans, cukes, or any other salad ingredients.
  • Dressing: Mix half Catalina or French with half Italian. Blend together in bowl or jar.

Start with the lettuce, in a big, deep bowl, layer, in order, the remaining ingredients – pour the dressing over the completed salad. Delicious and this salad is actually better if it sets for a little while and gets “wilty”. I always serve it immediately and then at cleanup time find myself eating every last crumb!!! YUM-O!

Israeli Couscous

 Israeli Couscous

A version of this dish is served on the Salad Bar at Jason’s Deli – the first time I had it I knew I had to make it at home!

Cook your desired amount of Pearl Couscous according to directions on package. I buy bulk so I bring 2 3/4 cups of salted water to a boil, add 1 1/2 cups of dry couscous, bring to boil again and then I shut the heat off, put a lid on it and go about doing other things! (Usually make it a lunchtime to use at supper.) Doing it this way does make it clumpy so I sprinkle some olive oil over it and with a wooden spoon break it up and separate the pearls!

To the cooled pearls I add about 1/2 cup of olive-mix tapenade, and about 1/4 cup of basil pesto. THAT is all I do but the options are endless: scallions, raisins, tomatoes, etc. Be as creative as the appetites you feed will allow!

Pearl Couscous is high in calories, with lots of good things in it. “Each 1 cup serving is fat and cholesterol free, low in sodium and includes significant amounts of vitamin C, potassium, protein and fiber. The sad twist, however, lies in the 650 calories each 1 cup serving also contains. Because of this, you need to be careful when cooking pearl couscous, choosing ingredients that increase its flavor rather than its calorie count.” (From


 Cold Cucumber Soup

Dang! I love this stuff! In 1983, hubs and I were in Williamsburg VA doing the touristy thing in the old historical village. It was a very hot summer day and I ordered cold cucumber soup at one of the restaurants in the village. Oh my goodness, it was the best thing ever! And, ever since I’ve been looking for a recipe that would mimic the green, creamy, refreshing summer soup. Last summer I came as close as I’ve ever gotten to duplicating the 1983 tasty delight!

3 cups plain nonfat yogurt

1 English cucumber (1 pound), cut into chunks (I peel mine)

1 scallion, white and green parts, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

3 T. chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish ( I LOVE DILL!)

Salt & Pepper to season.

In a blender, combine the first four ingredients. Season to taste with the S&P. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish choices: thinly sliced radishes, small chunks of garden-fresh tomato, dill sprigs, dollops of sour cream, and/or drizzle of olive oil.

Stuffed strawberries

Stuffed Strawberries

I have not made these but saw them on Facebook the other day and thought they were not only pretty, but probably delicious! From The Comfort of Cooking.

1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed and pat dry

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Graham cracker crumbs, optional


With a paring knife, cut off the strawberry stems. Cut around the inside of the strawberry, hollowing out slightly and creating a well for the cheesecake. (You can also do this with a small melon baller.) Cut off a small portion of the pointy strawberry tip, so that each strawberry can stand. Place each on a large baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, with a standing or handheld electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Place mixture in a pastry bag and pipe into each strawberry, adding a little extra to the top. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Optionally, sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top of each stuffed strawberry. (Don’t they look cute with a blueberry on top?)


TIP: Don’t make more than 5 hours in advance, or your strawberries will sweat and may become a bit soggy.

This post wasn’t exactly “short & sweet” but it was definitely fun putting together and it has made me hungry!

Until next week…


Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Genesis 9.3 (NIV)

Wednesday Linkup’s:

Coffee for Your Heart

Three Word Wednesday

Word Filled Wednesday


{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Peggy Hoefl July 9, 2014 at 5:14 am

Thanks for the good recipes! I may need them very soon for a new friend! Love the couscous. Made a similar one Sunday. I used almonds instead of pine nuts (too expensive). Very very filling however. I only need a very small amount!

Thanks Sister!


admin July 9, 2014 at 5:55 am

Walnuts would be good too! And, not so hard to chew. Fix those strawberries – how adorable are those for a small soiree? Or, beach picnic?


Kathy July 9, 2014 at 6:53 am

Thank you!



admin July 9, 2014 at 8:25 am

Kathy, you certainly don’t need my humble recipes!! You are one of the most awesome cooks I know! xo


Donna Morscher July 9, 2014 at 7:13 am

Great recipes for the summer. I especially like the taco salad and may try the strawberries. Thanks for sharing.


admin July 9, 2014 at 8:26 am

We had the Taco Salad last night and there wasn’t a speck left in the bowl!


Chris Malkemes July 9, 2014 at 7:36 am

Thanks for some great recipes. I like the taco salad because it’s easy and I’m all about easy. Never thought of mixing dressings. Will try that. I always have catalina and I always have Italian. Have a great day and a fun filled summer.


admin July 9, 2014 at 8:26 am

Thanks for stopping by Chris!


Lynne July 9, 2014 at 7:42 am

I like the idea of the taco salad layered in one bowl instead of having to put all the ingredients in separate bowls on the table, as I usually do. Can’t wait to try the strawberries. They are so cute.
Thanks for passing the ideas along.


admin July 9, 2014 at 8:27 am

Lynne, make Gene take a photo when you do the strawberries – I want to see them!!!


Ali Battersby July 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Especially want to try your Taco salad and cucumber soup!
Just left Mayo Clinic and are on our way to being your neighbor for a week.
Thanks for the great recipes to try !


admin July 10, 2014 at 5:41 am

Looking forward to catching up my friend!


Beth Willis miller July 10, 2014 at 1:57 am

Susan, all these recipes sound delicious! Can’t wait to try them!


admin July 10, 2014 at 5:41 am

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do, Beth!


Denise July 10, 2014 at 9:42 am

I made similar strawberries for dessert on our most recent camping trip. It works a bit easier to turn them upside from how they are pictured above, keeping the wider part of the strawberry on the bottom. I just cut a cross-slit on the top to help open it up for filling. I also used a sugar substitute, sin-free sugar, since I am still on my diet, and I just mixed the cream cheese and sugar substitute well, along with a tiny bit of fresh lemon juice, with a fork in a bowl… no mixer while camping. I did bring along a pastry tip, though, and I used it with a zip-loc bag to pipe the filling in each strawberry. They had a strawberry lemonade taste that was so yummy and perfect as dessert! 😉


admin July 11, 2014 at 6:15 am

Thanks for the tip, Denise! Looking forward to finding some big, organic strawberries to work with! YUM!


Beth July 10, 2014 at 10:27 am

A friend made those strawberries you give a recipe for recently and they were absolutely delicious! My son loved them so much he made them again a few days later. Thanks for the yummy looking receipes and for sharing with Three Word Wednesday. Blessings.


admin July 11, 2014 at 6:16 am

Thank you Beth for your faithfulness and making TWW possible!


Arna Toliver July 15, 2014 at 8:42 pm

I love New Recipes. I really like Taco Salads, and the Strawberries look wonderful. I must confess however, I have Never had Cucumber Soup.
So when my cucumbers start coming off in the garden, I shall give it a try.
Thanks for sharing!


admin July 16, 2014 at 5:53 am

IF you like cucumbers, you will love this soup! ♥


Michelle July 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm

I love making Taco Salad in the summer.
It’s a healthy and quick meal to make.


admin July 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Michelle, we love it too! Thanks for stopping by!


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