My Favourite Summer Suppers

Hi everyone! I hope you all have had a great start to summer and very happy Canada Day and Independence Day celebrations over the past week. It has been a little busy here at home with me. My oldest daughter had her tonsils out just under two weeks ago and we have been helping her recover and feel better. With that I was banned from creating or baking anything too yummy so she wouldn’t be left out! She is a key contributor and taste tester so I promised I wouldn’t create without her. Instead, over the past couple weeks I have been depending on some of my go-to summer favourites for family meals (and let’s be honest – some take-out too!).

So to help you with some of your summer meal-planning here are ten of my favourite go-to summer suppers:

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Summer Spaghetti – year after year, this is one is delicious and a family favourite.

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Andrew’s BBQ Pork Chops – Dad’s go-to, we just love this recipe with an nice salad and garlic bread.

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Quinoa Penne Toss – Perfect for Meatless Monday’s

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Fast, Fun, Pita Pocket Wraps – Love this recipe, and super using leftovers from the grill

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Melon & Prosciutto Salad – One of the first recipes I posted on the blog and still love it

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Fiesta Burger – a new favourite burger recipe that you are sure to love!

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Sticky Barbecue Ribs – this is our go-to no-fail rib recipe

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Steak Salad – A dinner for two favourite for my husband and I

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Bacon, Onion, Asparagus & Pea Macaroni Toss – This recipe is light and delicious – great for picnics as well

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Lemon, Basil, Ginger, Garlic Grilled Shrimp – My fave shrimp on the barbie recipe!

 

Canada Day Strawberry-Vanilla Frozen Cocktail

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Here is a great Canada Day Cocktail recipe featuring two of my favourite Torani products that is sure to be the star of your Canada Day celebrations. The delicious combination of strawberry and vanilla makes this frozen cocktail a delicious hot summer’s day treat!

Ingredients:

  • 2 shots Canadian Vodka (omit if you would like a virgin cocktail)
  • 2 squirts Torani Vanilla Bean syrup (approximately 1 tbsp total)
  • 2 shots (1.5 oz size shot) of Torani Strawberry Purée Blend (approximately 6 tbsp total)
  • 2 cups of crushed ice
  • 4 shots of club soda
  • Strawberries for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender, and combine until smooth.
  2. Serve in two margarita glasses with a strawberry and Canadian flag!
  3. Recipe serves 2 in margarita glasses, increase quantities for more drink servings.

Fiesta Burger

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I am really excited to share this delicious burger recipe featuring VG Meats ground beef! I was lucky enough to be part of VG Meats #50BurgerDays and in round one my Fiesta Burger was the winner and will be off to the semifinals! So to celebrate I wanted to share this great burger recipe with you. Packed with your favourite “taco” flavours and seasonings this burger is a fiesta in your mouth! It is perfect for your summer bbq’s, including upcoming Canada Day celebrations.
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Ingredients:
  • 400g VG Meats Ground Beef (Lean or Extra Lean – whichever is your preference)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced yellow pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced orange pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • For the Fiesta Burger spice blend: 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt, 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp paprika, and a pinch of ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp Tabasco Sauce

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Directions:
  1. Saute peppers and onions in a small saute pan on medium heat in 1 tsp oil for 5 minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  2. Place ground beef in a large bowl.
  3. Stir Fiesta spice blend together, and pour over beef.
  4. Add cooled cooked peppers and onions and Tabasco to beef mixture.
  5. Combine ingredients with your hands until everything is incorporated.
  6. Form into 4 equal patties (100g-120g each) and chill until ready to cook . . . (You can freeze them also at this point!).
  7. Grill burgers on bbq or stovetop to desired doneness.
  8. Serve on your favourite bun, topped with spicy cheese, salsa, tomato, lettuce and guacamole.
Suggested Toppings/Sauces:
  • Some great Canadian or local cheese with a kick! I found Bothwell Red Hot Chili Pepper Jack at my local Longo’s which also stocks VG Meats
  • Neal Brothers Salsa (also found at VG Meats and Longo’s)
  • Fresh Tomato and Lettuce
  • Homemade or store bought guacamole

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Individual Red Berry Pavlovas

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This month’s #GayLeaMom feature recipe is a beautiful classic meringue dessert topped with delicious Gay Lea Light Whipped Cream and fresh red berries! A perfect dessert for summer gatherings including Canada Day!

Pavlova is a meringue based dessert topped with cream and fruit, and I thought would be a great pairing with Gay Lea‘s delicious whipped cream, along with fresh summer berries. Also, I wanted to test out a new red and white dessert that would be great to serve on Canada Day, and this creation will not disappoint!

Gay Lea’s Real Whipped Cream (Regular and Light) is made with real cream, is nut-free and is Kosher and Halal certified. Gay Lea’s Real Coconut Whipped Cream (which would also be delicious in this recipe!) is made with real coconut cream and is non-dairy, lactose and gluten-free. Any of Gay Lea’s three delicious whipped cream products works perfectly for pavlova!

This was the first time I had tried to make pavlova and the results were great, with prep and baking easy.  Even better is that you can prepare the meringues in advance and have them ready to go or transport easily to a summer get-together. I love desserts that look impressive but were a breeze to prepare and this recipe is one of those gems you need to add to your repertoire!

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Recipe makes 4 individual pavlovas, double for 8, etc.

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with the pinch of cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks.
  3. Slowly add the sugar a little bit at a time, and beat on high until the meringue holds stiff and shiny peaks.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Remove the bowl of the mixer and fold in the vinegar and cornstarch.
  6. Using a large cookie/ice cream scoop, scoop out the meringe into 4 equal portions on the parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Using a small offset spatula round each portion out into a 4 inch circle.
  8. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the outside is dry.
  9. Shut off the oven, open the door slightly (I used my roll of parchment paper to help me with this to keep the door ajar!), and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven. This should take an hour. Note that it is ok if the meringues crack slightly – don’t worry you will be covering them in whipped cream and fruit!
  10. Once the meringues are cool remove from oven and transfer to an airtight container until you are ready to use.
  11. To make the individual pavlovas, transfer a meringue to a nice plate. Top with a generous layer of whipped cream and then with your choice of berries. Serve immediately.

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Be sure to check out the Gay Lea Nordi-Cow Facebook Contest! Nordi-Cows is an interactive game on Gay Lea’s Facebook page.

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To participate, visit the Gay Lea Facebook page to pick your favourite cow, and milk her twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The more you milk your cow, the more chances there are to win great weekly prizes. The contest runs from the end May through June.

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Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Grilled Asparagus

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One of our essential bbq season sides is grilled asparagus, especially when local asparagus is available! Pairs perfectly with your favourite steak, grilled chicken, pork or fish. Love the smoky flavour and charred bits especially when drizzled with fruity olive oil! Delish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. On a large plate season asparagus with olive oil, a heart pinch of salt and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper.
  2. Grill asparagus on indirect heat for 10-15 minutes, or until tender and slightly charred.
  3. Serve family style drizzled with a bit more olive oil.

Note: you can serve with additional toppings including some coarsely grated Parmesan, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, strips of prosciutto or scattered with bacon.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Pretzel Cookies

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I was having a major cookie craving, one that was sweet and salty, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. My creation was this, my favourite cookie batter base chock-full of milk chocolate chips, mini Reeses’ pieces, peanut butter chips and pretzels. These are awesome!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons of hot water
  • 1  1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pretzels
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup of Reeses’ mini pieces for baking

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter and sugars together until light and creamy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and combine well.
  4. Combine the baking soda with the hot water and add the liquid to the cookie batter and combine.
  5. Add the kosher salt to the flour and whisk to combine, then add to the mixer combining well.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips, pretzels, peanut butter chips and Reeses’ mini pieces.
  7. Using a medium OXO scoop (1 1/2 tablespoon capacity) or spoons drop dough onto the baking sheet, and flatten into a 2″ round using a fork.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden . . . *Note: every oven bakes differently so keep and eye on yours to determine the optimal baking time.
  9. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe yielded 26 cookies (using a 1/2 TBSP capacity medium cookie scoop).

Bacon, Onion, Asparagus & Pea Macaroni Toss

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This is an easy and delicious gluten-free pasta dish that is packed with the sweet and salty flavours of bacon, peas, asparagus, sweet onion and Parmesan cheese. This dish tastes great warm, or it can be served at room temperature as a pasta salad for summer bbq season.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 cups of uncooked macaroni noodles of your choice – I opted for the gluten-free option of GoGo Quinoa Red & White Quinoa Macaroni which I found at my local Costco (turned out great in this recipe!)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 cup of frozen small sweet peas
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper

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Directions:

  1. In a skillet, cook bacon and remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Crumble into small pieces once cooled and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, drain all but a bit of bacon fat and cook diced onion until golden. Set aside until ready to add to pasta.
  3. Cook macaroni according to package instructions. With 4 minutes left in cooking time add asparagus to water. Then with 2 minutes left in cooking time add frozen peas.
  4. Drain macaroni, asparagus and peas using a colander and then transfer to a large serving bowl.
  5. Toss bacon, onion, extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese and pepper together with pasta and vegetables.
  6. Serve topped with a bit more fresh Parmesan.

Note: You can also make this without the asparagus and it would be delicious (this was the recommendation from my darling daughter who is not the biggest fan of asparagus!)