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Making Delicious Summer Dishes

With summertime just around the corner, finding time to make healthy meals becomes challenging.  With so many summer activities, having adequate time in the kitchen to prepare a delicious, refreshing, and health meal seems like an impossible task to many.  However, we wanted to provide you with some great tips and recipes for excellent summer dishes, meals the entire family will love.  Of course, fresh fruits and vegetables might be good in the summer, but they are also delicious any time of year.

One of the great things about summer dishes is that if you have time, you could start your own garden, growing your favorite fruits and vegetables.  In fact, a home garden is a great family project that would not only put fresh food on the table, but also help you save money at the grocery store and teach your children about growing foods.  Without doubt, enjoying meals made from food you grew seems to have an extra special flavor.

Now, if you simply do not have time or perhaps live in an apartment or home where growing a garden is not an option, you could always visit your local farmer’s market.  There, you would find all types of fresh foods and flowers, giving you the opportunity to enjoy organic foods but at a much lower price than you would spend at the store.  You will also find that foods sold at farmer’s markets offer more variety and of course, the fresh taste is unbeatable.

The great thing about cooking during the summer is that many dishes can be made in little time or made ahead of time.  This way, you and the family would have a chance to sit down and have a real meal together.  Summer dishes often include fresh vegetables and fruits, making them light and healthy.  Additionally, with summertime, you have foods that are simply not available during any other time of year so the possibilities are tremendous.

Instead of feeling stuck, we wanted to provide you with a few of our favorite summer dishes, those that are easy to make, affordable, and taste delicious.  Whether making salad, pasta, stir-fry, or other easy dishes, you can prepare summer dishes in less than 30 minutes, keeping you out of a hot kitchen while enjoying great, healthy food.

Summer Zucchini

1 stick butter
2 1/2 cups zucchini and summer squash, sliced 1/4-inch thin
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 cup mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups Italian flavored breadcrumbs

Parboil the zucchini and squash until just tender.  Melt the butter, mixing well with the breadcrumbs.  Place one-half of the breadcrumb mixture in the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan, pressing firmly.  Place a layer of the cooked zucchini and squash on top of the breadcrumbs, sprinkle with onion, and top with carrot.  In a bowl, mix the soup, cheddar cheese, and sour cream, pouring on top of the layers.  Cover with remaining breadcrumbs and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.

Italian Grilled Chicken

1 bottle zesty Italian salad dressing
Pepper to taste
Chicken breasts

Marinate the chicken breasts in the salad oil for four to eight hours.  After firing up the grill, season the chicken with pepper, and dot with butter.  Place on a hot grill, cooking about 10 minutes per side or until done.  The flavor is magnificent and the recipe too easy.

Fresh Fruit Parfait
1 cup each, cut into bite-size pieces
• Watermelon
• Bananas
• Raisins
• Pineapple with juice
• Peaches
Whipped Topping or Vanilla Yogurt

Mix all the fruit in a bowl and then place in individual serving parfait glasses.  Top each with two tablespoons whipped topping or yogurt.  If you like, you can also sprinkle on almonds, cinnamon, or coconut.

Typically, summer dishes are made from fresh foods, consisting of recipes that are easy and many that can be made ahead of time.  Whether serving your family a meal, having friends over for brunch, or taking food to a child’s ballgame, you could prepare most or all the recipe, putting it together within minutes.  Finger sandwiches, potato salads, pasta salads, quick stir-fry, or even desserts are just some of the favorites.  During the summer months, be creative, taking many of your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables, coming up with some of your own recipes.  You might surprise yourself with what you create.  We also recommend that you get the kids involved, allowing them to assist with making summer dishes.  In fact, older kids could be given specific prep tasks, making the dinner process even faster!
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