(Family Features) Summer days are often spent with family and friends, soaking in the sun’s rays and enjoying outdoor living with warm-weather activities. Complement this year’s summertime excitement with food that matches your enthusiasm for the season.
Your menu can start with a fruity dip and a salad before diving into steak for the main course and a kid-friendly treat to top it all off. These recipes make the most of what summer has to offer with fresh fruits and veggies, bright and refreshing greens, tender cuts of meat and frozen treats that celebrate those memorable moments together.
Find more summer recipe inspiration at Culinary.net.
Dip Up a Good Time
Whether your summer days include planning extravagant meals or your on-the-go lifestyle calls for quick and easy recipes, simple snacks can fit a wide variety of menus. Dips are a perfect solution for afternoon pick-me-ups or evening appetizers when the whole family comes together.
This Apple Guacamole can be made in mere minutes, making it an ideal shareable among loved ones, by combining mashed avocados and seasonings with chopped Granny Smith apple pieces.
Visit Culinary.net for more snack ideas.
Recipe adapted from the Meredith Corporation
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 3 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
- 1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime, juice only
- bottled hot pepper sauce, to taste
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- kosher salt, to taste
- tortilla chips
- In bowl, use fork to mash avocados, onion, cilantro, lime juice and hot pepper sauce to desired consistency. Stir in apple and season with salt, to taste.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
Savor a Bite of Steak
A hearty flavor profile and perfectly prepared, high-quality meat can make a summer meal truly spectacular, especially when paired with fresh veggies in a protein-packed sandwich.
Inspired by Vietnamese tradition, this Steak Banh Mi recipe – which features tender grass-fed flat iron steak, pickled carrots, bright lettuce and crunchy cucumbers – is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next summer gathering. Take your taste buds to new heights with Silver Fern Farms natural cuts of 100% grass-fed beef from New Zealand, which is minimally processed with no added growth hormones or antibiotics. There, the animals roam and graze freely over lush green hills and pastures, resulting in lean, flavorful, nutritious meat that tastes just as nature intended.
Visit silverfernfarms.com for more inspiration.
Steak Banh Mi
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 10 ounces Silver Fern Farms New Zealand grass-fed beef flat iron steak
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon, plus 1/2 cup, rice vinegar, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Vietnamese baguettes or dinner rolls
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 4 Batavia lettuce leaves
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 Persian cucumber, sliced
- Remove steak from packaging and set aside 10 minutes. Once steak reaches room temperature, place steak in deep plate or storage container. In small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, garlic, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar and five-spice powder; pour over steak. Cover and marinate in fridge at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- In small pot over medium heat, heat remaining rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Cook and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Place carrots in deep plate or storage container. Pour cooled pickling liquid over carrots. Set aside to marinate.
- Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Reserve marinade.
- Heat oven to 325 F.
- Heat heavy-bottomed pan over high heat and add oil. Once oil begins to smoke, add steak. Sear both sides, about 1 minute per side. Lower heat to medium.
- Add reserved marinade and water to pan. Cook, covered, 3 minutes, removing lid to flip meat occasionally. Remove lid and let sauce reduce 1 minute, or until slightly thickened.
- Transfer steak and sauce to large plate and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
- Toast baguettes in oven 5 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes.
- Slice baguettes along middle without cutting through.
- Slice steak into thin pieces.
- Spread mayonnaise on baguettes and add 1-2 lettuce leaves to each. Layer steak on lettuce leaves followed by cilantro, cucumbers and pickled carrots. Slice baguette into two sandwiches.
Go for Satisfying Summer Greens
Many summer meals start with a simple yet satisfying appetizer: salad. This year, make sure you set the table with a bright, delightful bowl of greens that sets the tone for an enjoyable and festive meal with loved ones.
This Apple, Strawberry, Blueberry Salad calls for an array of fruits, including a homemade blueberry dressing, paired with Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix for a fresh and flavorful base with pecan halves to add crunch. The salads are thoroughly washed, rinsed and gently dried then sealed in Keep-Crisp bags to maintain freshness.
Find more salad inspiration at freshexpress.com.
Apple, Strawberry, Blueberry Salad
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2 large apples
- 2 packages (6 ounces each) Fresh Express 5-Lettuce Mix
- 1 pint strawberries, cut in half
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
- blueberry dressing
- To make blueberry dressing: In blender, process blueberries, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, until smooth. Set aside.
- To prepare salad: Cut apples into 1/4-inch thick slices. Using 1-1/2-inch diameter star-shaped cutter, cut apple slices into stars.
- Place lettuce mix in large bowl; add apples, strawberries and blueberries. Sprinkle with pecans. Before serving, drizzle each salad with blueberry dressing.
Sweet, Summery Treats
After some fun in the pool and time spent in the sun, a cooling treat is often the perfect way to cap off a summer day. Fresh fruits make those sweet eats even tastier and easier by making dessert in the morning and letting it freeze while you enjoy the warmth outdoors.
These Watermelon Berry Frozen Pops make dessert about as simple as possible by blending watermelon, blueberries, raspberries and honey before adding to ice pop molds and freezing throughout the day. With the addition of refreshing watermelon, you’re opting for a flavorful fruit that includes just 80 calories and no fat while providing an excellent source of vitamin C (25%) and higher levels of lycopene (12.7 milligrams per 2-cup serving) – an antioxidant being studied for its role in sun protection – than any other fresh fruit or vegetable.
To find more summertime snacks, meals and treats, visit watermelon.org.
Watermelon Berry Frozen Pops
- 6 cups watermelon
- 1 cup blueberries, divided
- 1 cup raspberries, divided
- 3 tablespoons honey
- In blender, blend watermelon, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries and honey until smooth. Press through fine mesh strainer to remove pulp and seeds.
- Fill ice pop molds 3/4 full with liquid. Add remaining whole blueberries and raspberries to molds. Insert sticks and freeze at least 4 hours, or until completely frozen.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Apple Guacamole)
(Family Features) Whether this back-to-school season calls for at-home learning or heading back to the classroom, busy evenings are likely a constant for many families. One way to relieve stress and hit reset on hectic times is by enjoying a meal around the table with loved ones.
For an ethnic twist on mealtime, try these Chinese Style Bao Buns with Pickled Red Onions to add Far East flavor to the menu. One key ingredient: onions, which at just 45 calories per serving boost the flavor of the dish as a source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and other key nutrients such as folate, calcium and iron.
Also known as nature’s ninja due to their many “skills,” onions can add abundant flavor to many dishes. They are also rich in heart-healthy nutrients and have been shown to help prevent some cancers.
Find more back-to-school meal ideas at onions-usa.org.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Chinese Style Bao Buns with Pickled Red Onions
Recipe courtesy of Aran Essig on behalf of the National Onion Association
Pickled Red Onions:
- 1 medium red onion
- 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 cloves
Beef Bao Buns:
- 1 pound boneless beef ribs
- 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 12 bao buns (available in most Asian markets in freezer section)
- 3 green onions, cut on bias
- To make pickled red onions: Slice onion in half then slice 1/4 inch. In saucepot, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, wine and cloves. Place onions in liquid. Simmer 3-4 minutes, swirling pan to ensure onions are exposed to hot mixture. Remove from heat and steep 15 minutes. Place in clean container in refrigerator at least 2 hours. Onions should be submerged in liquid.
- To make beef bao buns: Heat oven to 350 F.
- Rub beef with five-spice powder, salt and pepper. Heat saute pan and sear beef on all sides. Remove and place in baking dish. Add garlic to pan and saute briefly. Deglaze pan with beef stock and bring to simmer, scraping up caramelized bits stuck to bottom of pan. Add hoisin sauce and ginger to simmering stock. Pour stock over beef.
- Cover baking dish with parchment and aluminum foil and bake 2 hours, or until beef can be pulled apart with fork.
- Remove beef from stock and allow to cool slightly before shredding with fork.
- Place remaining stock in saucepan over medium heat. Reduce by half, or until thickened so it can coat back of spoon.
- Toss shredded beef with sauce.
- Place beef between bao buns and garnish with pickled red onions and green onions. Serve while warm.
Source: National Onion Board
(Family Features) A distinctive and unexpected ingredient like rice vinegar is an easy way to bring faraway flavors to your favorite summer dishes. This pantry staple adds an Asian-inspired flavor to recipes of all kinds, from marinades to high-end meals.
Explore a new way to enjoy steak this summer with a recipe for zesty, marinated beef paired with crisp broccolini and peppers to give a familiar dish a fresh makeover using flavors from another origin. Give fajitas an Asian makeover with shrimp seared in a decadent hoisin-ginger sauce or try a fresh take on a crunchy salad with this Mexican-meets-Asian layered approach that’s perfect for lunch.
Include seasonal produce like cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes to enhance your summer flavor fusions. Pantry staples like black beans and canned corn also offer accessible ways to make elevated summer classics.
Capture Asian flavors with ingredients like NAKANO Rice Vinegar, which has perfected its rice vinegars over eight generations to offer unique and delicious flavors perfect for making mouthwatering Asian-inspired recipes at home.
Pro Flavor-Fusion Tips
- The key to a successful stir-fry is to use high heat to quickly cook meats and vegetables in stages without overcrowding the pan. This ensures that veggies stay slightly crisp, and meats develop a delicious sear instead of steaming.
- Avocado oil has one of the highest smoke points, making it a great choice for high-heat cooking like stir-frying.
- Hoisin sauce, which you can find in the Asian section of most grocery stores, is used frequently in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. It’s a salty, fermented soybean paste often combined with garlic, chiles and five-spice powder, which adds a sweet, umami-rich, aromatic flavor to the dish.
- Shishito peppers are slender, mild, green Japanese peppers available in the produce section of well-stocked grocery stores or Asian markets. If shishito peppers are unavailable, substitute with multicolored mini peppers.
- To accommodate those who love a lot of spice and those who prefer less spice, serve mild-to-medium-spicy foods with additional chili sauce on the side.
- Swap out heavy, high-calorie salad dressings for a splash of additional flavor with NAKANO rice vinegar.
Find more flavorful ways to put an Asian twist on your summer dishes at nakanoflavors.com.
Sizzling Shrimp Fajita Stir-Fry
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 1/2 pounds large, raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (21-25 shrimp total)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
- 1/4 cup NAKANO Roasted Garlic Rice Vinegar
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 red onion, cut into thin slivers
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 pound shishito peppers, stemmed
- 6 warmed corn or flour tortillas
- 1/2 cup finely shredded red cabbage
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- In medium bowl, combine shrimp, 2 teaspoons soy sauce and 2 teaspoons cornstarch; let stand 5 minutes to marinate.
- In separate bowl, whisk remaining soy sauce, remaining cornstarch, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce and ginger until blended.
- In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add half of shrimp; cook 1 minute on each side. Transfer to clean bowl; repeat with remaining shrimp. Wipe out skillet with paper towel.
- In same pan, heat remaining oil until shimmering. Add red onion, bell pepper and shishito peppers. Cook, stirring, 2-4 minutes until peppers begin to blister. Add vinegar mixture; cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Add shrimp to pan. Cook, tossing well until shrimp and vegetables are coated with sauce.
- Fill tortillas with shrimp mixture, cabbage and green onions.
Spicy Steak and Broccoli
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 beef tenderloin (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
- 2 cups multicolored, mini sweet peppers, cut into thin rings
- 1/4 pound broccolini, cut into 3-inch sections
- 2 large shallots, chopped
- 1/4 cup NAKANO Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (Asian-chili garlic sauce) or sriracha
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- In medium bowl, combine beef, soy sauce, cornstarch, black pepper and garlic powder.
- In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add peppers, broccolini and shallots; cook 3 minutes, or until tender crisp. Transfer to clean bowl.
- In same skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add half of beef in single layer. Cook undisturbed 2 minutes, or until bottoms are browned. Stir. Cook 1 minute, or until outer surfaces are no longer pink. Transfer to bowl with vegetables. Repeat with remaining oil and beef. Return beef and vegetables to skillet over medium-high heat.
- In small bowl, combine rice vinegar, sugar, sambal oelek, salt and ginger. Add mixture to pan. Cook 2 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.
Glass Jar Layered Taco Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/4 teaspoon serrano pepper
- 1 tablespoon cilantro
- 2 tablespoons NAKANO Organic Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 cup jicama, diced
- 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 cup shredded green cabbage
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup extra-firm tofu, diced
- 1/2 cup corn chips, crushed
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1 tablespoon queso fresco
- In bowl, mash avocado and add serrano pepper, cilantro, rice vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice and salt. Stir to combine.
- Build salad in layers of corn, cabbage, jicama, black beans, cabbage, tomatoes, tofu, corn chips, spinach and queso fresco while adding drizzles of dressing between layers.
(Family Features) - There's nothing better than a sizzling steak hot off the grill. If you're the grill master, you may be looking to brush up on the right techniques to make sure you have a great beef meal every time.
The Featured Cut
"Boneless top sirloin steak is perfect for the grill. It's versatile, tender and flavorful," says Chef Dave Zino, executive director of the Culinary Center for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "Top sirloin partners well with rubs, marinades and sauces that add complimentary accents - and it's perfect for cutting into pieces for kabobs, a great way to stretch your grilling budget. Although it seems so decadently delicious, top sirloin is one of the 29 cuts of beef that meet the government guidelines for lean, providing 156 calories and 4.6 grams of fat - as well as 10 essential nutrients - per 3-ounce cooked serving."
Three Easy Steps
Prepare gas or charcoal grill according to manufacturer's directions for medium heat.
Remove beef from refrigerator and season with a spice blend or marinade as desired. Place on preheated cooking grid.
Cook boneless top sirloin steak (1 inch thick) 17 to 21 minutes uncovered (charcoal grill) or 13 to 16 minutes covered (gas grill), turning occasionally. To determine doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally from the side, penetrating the thickest part or center of the steak. Allow 10 to 15 seconds for the thermometer to register the internal temperature. Steaks should be cooked to 145°F (medium rare) or 160°F (medium). After cooking, season with salt, as desired.
BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com is the one-stop resource for tips and recipes that will help you make the most of your time at the grill.
Hoisin Beef Kabobs with Pineapple Salsa
- 1-1/4 pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced cucumber
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- Combine Pineapple Salsa ingredients in small bowl; set aside. Combine ketchup and hoisin sauce in another small bowl; set aside.
- Cut beef steak into 1 inch pieces. Thread beef pieces evenly onto four 10 to 12 inch metal skewers. Season kabobs evenly with pepper.
- Place kabobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Brush beef generously with some of reserved sauce mixture. Grill kabobs, covered, 6 to 8 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 7 to 9 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally and brushing with remaining sauce mixture. Season beef with salt, as desired. Serve kabobs topped with Pineapple Salsa.
25 to 30 minutes
SOURCE: The Beef Checkoff