(Family Features) Summer is all about enjoying the warm weather with family and friends, but even with the longer summer days, the season can feel short for many. That’s why it’s important to make the most of summer by maximizing your fun in the sun with some of the best memories being made while entertaining al fresco.
For a fun-filled, yet relaxing summer, it’s important to keep the essentials on-hand for easy entertaining. From bright decor to refreshing drinks and fresh ingredients, party prep ensures you save time and money, and are always ready to wine and dine your guests.
No matter the occasion, a store like ALDI can be your guide to summer entertaining with everything you need to celebrate the season, including high-quality and affordable ingredients for this summer’s must-have recipes.
A fresh and easy recipe to try this summer is Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Skewers with Lemon-Cucumber Salsa. This entree pairs perfectly with a crisp, fruit-forward wine like Exquisite Collection Sauvignon Blanc or Trestoria Rosé from ALDI. When there’s a crowd to serve, consider mixing up a pitcher of Citrus Ginger Rosé Punch.
Find more seasonal recipe ideas to celebrate summer at ALDI.us.
Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Skewers with Lemon-Cucumber Salsa
Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 8 skewers
- 1 pineapple
- 2 tablespoons Carlini Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Stonemill Iodized Salt
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Ground Black Pepper
- 1 3/4 pounds Never Any! Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 lemon, supremed
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Ground Black Pepper
- Soak wooden skewers for 15 minutes prior to grilling.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat.
- Remove rind from pineapple and dice into 1-inch pieces.
- In small bowl, combine oil, salt and pepper. Add chicken and pineapple; toss to coat.
- Alternating chicken and pineapple, pierce onto skewers.
- Grill skewers 8 minutes each side, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- To make Lemon-Cucumber Salsa: In medium bowl, combine lemon, cucumber, onion, honey and pepper.
- Serve lemon-cucumber salsa over cooked chicken skewers.
Tip: Supreme citrus fruit by cutting off top and bottom of fruit then cut away peel and pith, leaving no white on outside of fruit. Slice each segment into wedges by cutting toward center of fruit along membrane.
Citrus Ginger Rosé Punch
Recipe courtesy of Chef Leigh An, ALDI Test Kitchen
- 1/2 cup minced ginger
- 1 cup Baker’s Corner Granulated Sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 bottles (750 milliliters each) Trestoria Rosé, chilled
- 5 cans (12 ounces each) PurAqua Belle Vie Grapefruit Sparkling Water, chilled
- 2 cans (12 ounces each) PurAqua Belle Vie Lemon Sparkling Water, chilled
- In small pot, combine ginger, sugar and water to make simple syrup. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely in refrigerator.
- Strain simple syrup and discard ginger.
- In large punch bowl or pitcher, combine rosé, grapefruit sparkling water and lemon sparkling water. Add simple syrup.
- Serve in chilled glasses.
Tip: Freeze lemon slices in ice cube trays or silicone muffin trays and add them to punch for pop of color.
(Family Features) It’s game day, which means your party needs food and needs it fast. Use recipes that can pump up the crowd this season and make every game a win.
These quick recipes for an Olive Bar Flatbread and a Mediterranean Nacho Bar can leave the fans in your home screaming for more.
Your fans will almost assuredly be dipping, diving and running for these simple snacks created with fresh ingredients like Sabra Hummus, which is available in more than a dozen flavors in the deli section of your grocery store. Spread it on fluffy flatbread with your favorite veggies to create a snack that fans can go crazy over, or set it out buffet-style for everyone to munch on at halftime.
Find more game day recipes at sabra.com.
Mediterranean Nacho Bar
- Sabra Hummus
- Diced tomatoes
- Chopped green onions
- Chopped zucchini (1/4-inch chunks)
- Chopped Greek olives
- Chopped pepperoncinis
- Shredded lettuce
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Grilled chicken
- Pita chips
- Assemble hummus, tomatoes, green onions, zucchini, olives, pepperoncinis, lettuce, cheese and chicken in buffet format.
- Serve with pita chips.
Olive Bar Flatbread
Prep time: 15 minutes
- 3 tablespoons Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- 1 flatbread
- 1/2 cup desired vegetables, chopped (olives, roasted peppers, peppadew or artichokes)
- 3 miniature mozzarella balls, sliced
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- Place hummus on flatbread. Top with desired vegetables and mozzarella.
- Bake on lower rack 10-12 minutes, or until crispy and browned.
- Toss arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on flatbread and serve.
New seasonings make it easy
(Family Features) Exotic flavors common in the Middle Eastern region of the world like harissa, za’atar and shawarma are having a moment, appearing on restaurant menus and in popular make-at-home recipes.
Now is the perfect time to give these flavors a try. Thanks to new global seasonings from McCormick Gourmet, the spice combinations are already blended for the ultimate taste and simplicity.
Made from high-quality herbs and spices, the seasonings are USDA-Organic certified and Non-GMO Project verified so you can feel good about the ingredients used in your cooking. The expertly blended spices help create distinctive global-inspired dishes that take your home dining experience to the next level so you can explore these flavors from around the world without leaving the comfort of home.
- Za’atar: This traditional Middle Eastern blend of spices including thyme, oregano and sesame seeds is perfect for sprinkling on flatbreads, roasted vegetables, nuts
or popcorn. It can also be mixed into hummus or oil
- Harissa: A spicy flavor found in North African cuisine, this seasoning is made from a combination of chilies, warm spices and mint. Add it to meat and veggies before roasting, stir it into cooked rice and grains, mix it into yogurt to make a dip or combine it with roasted bell peppers and oil to turn this spice into its namesake sauce.
- Shawarma: Often associated with the slow roasting of meat, this Middle Eastern street food favorite is made with cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and more. Use this seasoning to flavor an easy marinade for chicken, pork or steak.
Look for these flavors as well as new Peruvian and Berbere seasonings in the spice section of retailers nationwide. Find more recipe ideas at McCormickGourmet.com.
Grilled Chicken Shawarma
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
- 1 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
- 5 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 4 pita pockets, halved
- 1 medium seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
- 8 lettuce leaves
- In small bowl, mix 1 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon shawarma seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- In small bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, remaining yogurt, remaining shawarma seasoning and sea salt. Reserve 2 tablespoons of mixture; set aside.
- Place chicken in large re-sealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 1 hour, or longer for extra flavor.
- Heat grill or skillet to medium heat.
- Remove chicken from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill or saute 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 F, brushing with reserved marinade.
- Slice chicken into thin strips. Serve in pitas with cucumber, lettuce and yogurt dressing.
Shaved Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Harissa Dressing
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Harissa Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Black Pepper, coarse ground
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound multicolor carrots, washed and peeled
- 1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachios
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3 cups baby arugula
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In large bowl, mix mint, pomegranate juice, honey, harissa seasoning, sea salt and pepper. Gradually add oil while mixing with wire whisk until well mixed. Set aside.
- Trim carrot ends. Slice each carrot lengthwise into ribbons with vegetable peeler or mandoline. In medium bowl, toss carrots with 1/4 cup prepared dressing. Stir in pistachios and cranberries.
- Arrange arugula on serving platter. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top with carrot mixture. Sprinkle with feta before serving.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 (2 tablespoons each)
- 1 cup labneh (yogurt cheese)
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Za’atar Seasoning, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pita bread, for serving (optional)
- pita chips, for serving (optional)
- sliced fresh vegetables, for serving (optional)
- In small bowl, mix labneh and 1 teaspoon seasoning until well blended.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining seasoning.
- Serve with fresh pita bread, pita chips or sliced fresh vegetables, as desired.
(Family Features) Warmer weather is often welcome for a variety of reasons, but there’s something nearly irresistible about enjoying a meal outdoors. Whether you plan to gather on the patio or pack a picnic for the park, dining al fresco is an easy way to turn a meal into a full-fledged event.
Begin your meal with chicken sandwiches crafted on the grill and a seasonal pasta salad on the side then finish it with a glass of white wine and a dessert made for al fresco entertaining – cheesecake topped with fresh berries and mint.
For more al fresco recipes and entertaining tips, visit Culinary.net.
Serve a Sensational Side
This pretty side dish is made for sharing. Made with fiber-rich, whole-wheat pasta, colorful plum tomatoes and balanced out by the crisp, bright flavors of balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, this pasta salad is perfect for outdoor events and gatherings. Find more good-for-you recipes at AICR.org.
Pasta Salad with Tomatoes
Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
- 8 ounces whole-wheat small pasta (fusilli or farfalle), cooked according to directions
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided
- 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (optional)
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
- 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 4 plum or Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 slice whole-wheat or multigrain bread
- In bowl, cover and chill pasta.
- In large mixing bowl, combine vinegar, 2 tablespoons basil, sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper, 2 tablespoons oil and half of minced garlic. Whisk to combine well. Add pasta, bell pepper and tomatoes, and toss gently until well coated.
- In food processor or blender, pulse bread to produce coarse crumbs. In medium skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and garlic. Saute 1 1/2-2 minutes until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Top pasta with garlic crumbs and remaining basil.
Pair Like a Pro
When it comes to pairing wine with food, even experts agree that desserts can pose a challenge. A wide variety of flavor combinations can make it hard to find the perfect selection to serve with your sweet treat. While there’s no exact science to wine pairing, these simple tips can help you make your selection.
A good rule: the lighter the dessert, the lighter the wine. Avoid heavy reds for a sweeter dessert and instead pair with a crisp white like Chardonnay, such as Joseph Carr from Sonoma, California.
Citrusy Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon flavors can sometimes be polarizing, but complementing this dessert with an equally citrusy wine can work wonders. Try pairing with a food-friendly pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc.
Rich Chocolate Cake
Red wine with chocolate seems like a no-brainer, but not all red wines are created equal. For a richer delicacy like this devil’s food cake, try something like Villa Pozzi Nero D’avola, a more fruit-forward, easy-drinking red varietal.
For more tips and wine selections, visit winefix.com.
New York-Style Honey Cheesecake
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup flour
- 5 eggs
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- fresh berries, for garnish
- fresh mint, for garnish
- To make crust: In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and butter until well blended. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- To make filling: In electric mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, honey and flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in cream, lemon zest and vanilla.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over crust; bake 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 200 F and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, or until center no longer looks wet or shiny.
- With oven off and door ajar, let cheesecake cool 1 hour in oven. Remove cheesecake to rack to cool completely.
- Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fruit and fresh mint. Pair with chardonnay like Joseph Carr.
Go for Grilled Chicken
Few things go better with warm weather than firing up the grill and enjoying a meal in the fresh air. These chicken sandwiches, which are topped with Brie, pesto, fresh tomato and arugula on sourdough bread and toasted on the grill, are just the excuse you need to get outside and enjoy the weather with family and friends. Find more patio-perfect recipes at chickenroost.com.
Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Pesto, Brie and Arugula
Recipe courtesy of the National Chicken Council
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound thin-cut chicken cutlets
- 1/4 cup basil pesto, divided
- 1 large tomato
- 8 slices crusty sourdough bread
- 4 ounces Brie, thinly sliced
- 1 cup packed baby arugula
- Heat grill to high.
- Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; pour into plastic zipper bag. Add chicken, seal and marinate at least 30 minutes.
- Grill chicken 2-3 minutes, turn and grill another 2-3 minutes, or until chicken registers internal temperature of 160 F. Remove and reserve.
- Spread each piece of bread with 1/2 tablespoon pesto. Slice tomato into eight slices.
- Place chicken on four bread slices. Top with Brie slices, arugula and two tomato slices. Top with remaining bread slices, pesto side toward tomato.
- Brush outside of each sandwich with about 1/2 tablespoon of remaining olive oil. Place on grill, reduce heat to medium and grill 2-3 minutes per side, or until bread is nicely toasted and cheese is melted.
- Remove from heat, cut each sandwich in half and serve.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (pasta salad)
Photo courtesy of 275847/Shutterstock.com (cheesecake)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (grilled chicken sandwich)