We often have a crowd around the dinner table for the three holiday weekends of summer because we have a house on the lake and we enjoy keeping it filled with family and friends. I’ve put together a list of my favorite, A.K.A. easily prepped or cooked ahead of time, recipes to serve at mealtimes. I’m a big believer in delegating so everyone can participate and have an enjoyable weekend. My blog makes it especially easy for my family to find our special recipes.
A Few Appetizers
Crunchy Roasted Tamari Almonds
I keep these almonds in my kitchen year-round. They are just salty, tangy, and crunchy enough to be my go-to snack. The almonds are roasted with gluten-free tamari sauce.
“Croatian Cheese” a Flavorful and Exotic Appetizer Made with Feta and Goat Cheese
This is a favorite for both family and friends. My son’s friend, Grant, makes this whenever he has a party in NYC and often sends me a photo of his guests eating it. It is delicious served on sliced baguettes.
A Quick and Easy Baked Hummus and Feta Appetizer
This requires baking, but it is one of those appetizers you can bring to someone’s house with the ingredients still in a shopping bag, arrange the ingredients in a pie plate, and then bake when needed. It will become a grazing station.
50 Ways to Make a Frittata
This is always a good breakfast food to make the last morning you are together because you can add almost any leftovers to the egg mixture, bake it, and call it a meal. The egg to milk to cheese ratio remains the same no matter what you add.
Ellen’s Most Moist Zucchini Bread
This is the moistest summertime quickbread I’ve ever made. We love it. One can throw a few chocolate chips into if one is so inclined.
Homemade Artisan Bread the Easy Way
The dough for these boules of bread can be made up to two weeks ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to shape and bake them. The bread is wonderful with butter or the Croatian Cheese spread on it.
Other breakfast options: eggs, bacon, sliced avocados, and fruit
The Classic Pimiento Cheese Sandwich
I never had pimiento cheese until I moved South. Now I love it. I’ve served it as a sandwich for lunch or used it as a spread on crackers for an appetizer.
My Favorite Gazpacho
I’ve been making this recipe for over twenty years. What makes this gazpacho extra delicious is the addition of garlic-seasoned homemade breadcrumbs. The gazpacho is the most time and ingredient intensive recipe on this list; I only make it when I am highly motivated to do a lot of chopping and when summer vegetables are at their peak.
Other easy lunch option: pork barbecue with rolls, cole slaw, and pickles
Lemony Grilled Chicken Breasts
This is my go-to recipe for moist, grilled chicken. The breasts only take ten minutes to grill because you pound them to a flat, uniform thickness before marinating.
Rachelle’s Italian Sausage, Onions, and Peppers
When I have a houseful, I’ll often make this for dinner on one of the nights. I use Premio Italian sweet sausages from Costco. They are equally good grilled, sautéed, or simmered in sauce.
Meera’s Arugula, Feta, Cherry, and Toasted Almond Salad
My friend, Meera, brought this to a potluck dinner at the lake once. All of the ingredients were in a Trader Joe’s shopping bag. She fixed the salad for dinner, and the next day, I had her recipe up on the blog! I love it. I eat variations of it almost every day for lunch.
String Bean Salad
My mother taught me how to blanch vegetables when I was in high school. I’ve been doing it ever since. The only vegetables I routinely blanch nowadays are string beans, broccoli and cauliflower. I roast most of the others.
I roast zucchini, eggplant, onions, and tomatoes together when I have a glut of them in my summer “Italian” garden. The vegetables require lots of chopping, but roasted veggies are delicious and I usually have a lot of helpers in the kitchen. Sometimes, I serve the ratatouille over pasta.
@judyschickens Everyday Salad Dressing
I keep a bottle of this homemade four-ingredient salad dressing in my cupboard 24/7. I use it in many of the recipes mentioned above, either in salads or as a marinade.
Other options: Roasted white and sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and sliced tomatoes
Italian Sesame Seed Cookies
Last Christmas, I made these when I had lots of kids in the house. When I got up the next morning, the cookie container was empty. Now, that’s a good cookie. They are barely sweet, but between the butter and eggs and the nutty flavor of the toasted sesame seeds, the cookie is exquisite.
Very Berry Clafoutis
This is an easy dessert to make. There is no pie crust, just eggs, milk, flour, some sugar, and whatever ripe fruit is in season. It tastes great for breakfast, too. I cook it in a pie plate, but you could cook it in a cast iron pan just as easily.
Bon appetit!. Have a nice weekend.
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