A Colorful, Fruity Summer Menu

The last thing I want to do in the summer is heat up my house with the oven and stove. That's why my favorite method of cooking in the summer is grilling. I love to have company over and spend the whole day outside eating and drinking fruity margaritas. The men grill and the women chat while the kids run around free at last from a long winter inside.

So what will I be grilling and cooking this summer? I like appetizers, side dishes and desserts that also spare me from having to heat up my kitchen or make a big mess. My favorite part of summer is the fresh produce. It's much less expensive to cook with fresh ingredients and they taste much better. Here is what a typical summer menu looks like at my house.

Mango Guacamole
Mandarin Orange Salad
Lime Cilantro Chicken Fajitas
Lime Pie
Strawberry Margaritas on the Rocks

My husband claims this is "chic" food. I think winter is for "man" meals such as chili and stew, so it's only fair that we ladies get a food season too.

Mango Guacamole
Serving Size: 6 adults
4 avocados – mashed
2 mangos – diced small
1 lime – juiced
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro

Mix well and serve with tortilla chips.

Mandarin Orange Salad
Serving Size: 6 adults
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp. of salt
2 tsp. of dried parsley
1 pinch of pepper

1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of sliced ​​almonds
1 bag of Spring Mix lettuce
1 can of Mandarin Oranges – drained
1 pint of Fresh Strawberries – sliced

1) Mix dressing and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate.
2) Cook almonds and sugar together on low heat until sugar melts and coats almonds.
3) Toss lettuce, almonds, oranges, and strawberries with dressing.

Lime Cilantro Chicken Fajitas
Serving Size: 8 adults

Combine these ingredients.
2 limes – juiced
1 tsp. of ground cumin
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
2 cloves of garlic – minced
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

Pepper Mix:
1 Purple Onion
1 lime – juiced
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Olive oil
1 Green Bell Pepper

Fajita Fixins:
Shredded Cheddar
Sour Cream
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 packages of 8 flour tortillas
1) Place chicken in marinade for 2 hours. Grill chicken for 10 – 15 minutes, flipping once. Slice thinly for serving.
2) Slice onion and peppers into long strips. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Squeeze lime and pour olive oil over onion and peppers. Seal foil into a packet. Place on grill for 10 – 15 minutes along side of chicken.
3) Wrap tortillas in foil and heat on grill for 3-4 minutes just prior to serving.
4) Serve chicken on tortillas with peppers and fixins.

* Grilling Alternatives *
1) Broil chicken on high on the highest oven rack for 7 minutes on each side.
2) Place foil pack in the oven along side of chicken.
3) Place tortillas between 2 layers of wet paper towels and microwave for 2 minutes – flipping once.

Lime Pie:
Serving Size: 8 adults

1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
5 limes
1 container of whipped topping
1 (8 oz.) Cream cheese
3-4 each drops of yellow and green food coloring

1) Zest 3 limes and juice all 5.
2) Combine zest, juice, cream cheese and condensed milk. Mix well.
3) Add food coloring. Mix well. Fold in whipped topping.
4) Pour into pie crust. Refrigerate 3 – 4 hours to set.
* Reserve any remaining pie filling for the kids to use as dip with graham cracker sticks.

Strawberry Margaritas on the Rocks
Per glass:
2 Strawberries – halved
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 1/2 ounces of Silver Tequila
2 ounces of fresh lime juice
1 ounce of simple syrup

1) To make simple syrup: Boil 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar until sugar is completely dissolved.
2) Place strawberry halves in the bottom of glass. Muddle (mash) with Grand Marnier.
3) Shake tequila, lime juice and simple syrup – add to glass. Top with ice.

This menu is perfect for your family or for entertaining company. One thing for certain, you will not have to worry about left-overs.