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Recipes for summer

Refreshing Recipes for the Summer Here on the Suncoast

| Angela Naff |

The summer is here with the humid heat, kids out of school, and plenty of ways we want to be outside enjoying the Suncoast. With the Fourth of July, family reunions, and simple picnics at the beach, you still want to prepare refreshing treats for everyone that look good and aren’t heavy in this sweltering heat. We have compiled a list of light, refreshing recipes to help add to any affair here on the Suncoast this summer.

Halibut Soft Tacos

This is a great option for a light seafood treat here on the Suncoast. The fish, tacos, and healthy ingredients are perfect for the hot temperatures here on the Suncoast.

summer recipe
Photo courtesy of Taste of Home
  • 1 medium mango, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup cubed avocado
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 pound halibut steaks (3/4 inch thick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 Bibb lettuce leaves
  • 4 flour tortillas (6 inches), warmed
  • 4 teaspoons of sweet Thai chili sauce
  1. Mix the mango, avocado, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, 2 teaspoons oil, lemon juice, and honey; set aside. Brush halibut with remaining oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill halibut on a greased rack, covered, over high heat, or broil 3-4 in. from the heat until fish flakes easily with a fork, 3-5 minutes on each side.
  3. Place lettuce leaves on tortillas; top with fish and mango mixture. Drizzle with chili sauce.

Summer Key Lime Trifle

Recipes for summer
Photo courtesy of Yummly

You love the light tangy, and tart taste of key lime but are also looking for a dessert with just a little more weight. This trifle is a pretty option for gatherings and is amazing for hot summer days here on the Suncoast.

  • 16 oz. pound cake (Sarah Lee)
  • 3 limes1 cup milk
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 16 oz. cool whip
  • 2 boxes of Jell-O (powdered lime, 3 oz each)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your milk and sour cream.
  2. Add to that mixture your two boxes of powdered lime JELL-O and whisk to combine.
  3. Fold 8 oz of Cool Whip into your lime mixture, reserving the other 8 oz for trifle assembly.
  4. Put the lime mixture into the fridge to set.
  5. Take your frozen pound cake and cut off all dark edges with a serrated knife.
  6. Cut your frozen pound cake into 1-inch cubes. It’s easier to cut the pound cake when it is still frozen.
  7. Slice two of your fresh limes for garnish.

Black Bean Tostadas With Cabbage Slaw

This is a great, tangy, light treat for lunches, on-the-go meals, or even dinner. This is a must-try recipe for those looking for vegetarian options perfect for the summertime. You can swap around the cheese or ingredients to make a variety of recipes that suit you.

Tostados recipes for summer
Photo courtesy of Caitlin Bensel
  • 1 (15.4-oz.) can lower-sodium refried black beans (such as Amys)
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo, drained
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (10-oz.) pkg. shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 6 (5-inch) corn tostada shells
  • 6 ounces queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese), crumbled (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Torn fresh cilantro
  1. Combine beans and pico de gallo in a small saucepan. Cook over medium, often stirring, until hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.
  2. Whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, and salt in a large bowl. Add cabbage, radishes, tomatoes, and onion; toss to combine. Let stand for five minutes.
  3. Spread each tostada shell with 1/3 cup bean mixture; top each with 1 cup cabbage mixture and 1/4 cup queso fresco. Garnish with torn cilantro, if desired.

Summer Coconut Cream Lush Dessert

Coconut recipes for summer dessert
Photo Courtesy Bellyful

This is a quick dessert for a light tropical flavor that tastes much more complex than the recipe. Whether for a gathering or a light way to treat your sweet tooth on your backyard patio this year, try this amazing dessert.

For The Crust

  • 4 cups Nilla Wafer cookies
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For The Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 ounce (1 container) Cool Whip topping, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

For The Topping

  • 3 ounce (1 box) instant coconut cream Jell-O pudding
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup toasted flaked coconut
  1. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Blend the Nilla Wafers in a food processor until finely ground; add in the melted butter and blend until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until combined and fluffy; add in the Cool Whip and flaked coconut and continue to mix until combined. Spread evenly over the Nilla wafer layer.
  4. Wipe out the bowl and pour in the Jell-o pudding powder and milk. Whisk vigorously for 2 minutes until thickened and set. Pour mixture over cream cheese layer. Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes over the top.
  5. Refrigerate until completely chilled and set, about 4 hours. 
  6. Slice and serve!

Sweet Pea Pesto Crostini

Looking for an easy snack middle of the day, great with wine, or even an hors D’oeuvre for your summer event. This is a light and unique twist that is sure to be a nutritious, recipe option for the summer.

Photo Courtesy of Taste of Home
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 whole-wheat French bread demi-baguette (about 6 ounces and 12 in. long)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces), halved or quartered
  1. Preheat broiler. Place peas, garlic, vinegar, salt, and lemon pepper in a blender or food processor; pulse until well blended. Continue processing while gradually adding oil in a steady stream. Add cheese; pulse just until blended. Add broth; pulse until mixture reaches desired consistency.
  2. Cut baguette into 20 slices, each 1/2 in. thick. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil 4-5 in. from heat until golden brown, 45-60 seconds per side. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  3. To assemble crostini, spread each slice with about one tablespoon of pesto mixture; top with tomato pieces.

Fruit Tarts

This amazing treat will hit the spot, whether for a snack, get-together, or anytime this summer. The sweet, tart, and tangy fruit can be changed up for various recipes to please every taste bud.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, cold
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cup mixed fresh blue fruit and red fruit (such as blueberries, raspberries, halved or quartered strawberries, halved and pitted cherries, sliced red plums, pomegranate arils)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry or seedless raspberry jam
  1. Combine flour, salt, and ¼ cup powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add butter, and stir until combined and a soft dough forms. Using floured hands, press dough into the bottom and up sides of a 9-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the tart pan from the refrigerator, and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Line with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust surface appears dry, about 20 minutes. Remove beans and foil. Return to oven, and bake at 350° until golden brown, 10 to 15 more minutes. Remove crust from the oven, and cool completely on a cooling rack for about 30 minutes.
  3. Place cream cheese, heavy cream, ½ cup powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until filling is thick and smooth and very stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. (The mixture may initially be lumpy from the cold cream cheese, but it will smooth out if you continue beating.)
  4. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly in the cooled tart crust. Top with fruit.
  5. Place jam in a microwavable bowl, and microwave on high just until the jam becomes more liquid (but not hot), 10 to 20 seconds—brush jam on top of the fruit. Refrigerate tart at least 30 minutes before serving. Tart can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

I think I need to try a few of these recipes out with friends this summer. Did you find one to give a shot this summer? Whether fruit, frozen or maybe a touch of tangy, recipes abound. What are your favorite flavor treats for the summer? Happy gathering, Suncoast, and maybe you will find healthy, refreshing, and amazing recipes to make memories over this summer!

Main Photo Courtesy of Deposit Photos

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