When we think of casseroles, we typically think of cooler weather and “comfort food.” Fall and winter weather casseroles are designed to fill you up and keep you warm. Aside from the taste, the other thing I really like about casseroles is how easy they are to prepare and how you can incorporate multiple flavors in one dish. It’s this reason that I started searching for summertime casseroles I could serve my family that would use in season produce. I found some really terrific options that are lighter than their cooler season counterparts, but still meet my criteria of flavor, incorporating multiple ingredients, and ease of preparation.
This Caprese Quinoa Bake makes the perfect side dish for summer. Fresh tomatoes off the vine, shallots, garlic, fresh basil, quinoa and mozzarella are used in this flavorful recipe. The veggies are packed with valuable vitamins and the quinoa will provide additional fiber and protein to your meal–this dish is full of nutrition.
Photo courtesy of Domesticate Me
Sweet Corn and Zucchini Pie takes two summer favorites and combines them into one perfect dish. This recipe can be served as a vegetarian main meal with a side salad or as a side dish in smaller portions. In addition to the corn and zucchini, mushrooms, onion, eggs, cheese (use a reduced fat version to lighten the recipe) and herbs are blended to create this amazing recipe. Even though this casserole looks impressive, don’t be deceived–it’s actually really simple to prepare.
Photo courtesy of Pinch of Yum
This Squash Casserole dish is one of my kids’ favorite recipes. Seriously! They love when they see I’m making it and I love that it’s so easy to throw together. I use yellow squash in the recipe, but I’m sure that zucchini would also work well. Onion, squash, garlic, cheese (I use reduced fat), eggs and corn flakes are combined to create a casserole that’s perfect every, single time.
Photo courtesy of My Blessed Life
Give these summer casseroles a try using in season produce for the freshest flavor. They’re great to bring along to your next block party or barbeque. I’ll be back next week with some fun, culinary ideas to keep your little ones busy in the kitchen.
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When Mother Nature turns up the heat, one of the best ways to cool down is to take a dip in the pool. Add a few friends, your favorite music, and some great snacks and you’ve got yourself a terrific summertime party.
The key to pool party food fare is making it light and fun. Remember that your guest are going to be spending much of their time either in the pool or mingling around enjoying themselves, not sitting down and eating. You want whatever your serving to be simple and easy for people to handle and consume on-the-go. And, fun can also mean healthy! I’ve collected some recipes that are delicious, appealing to the eye and won’t keep you out of your bathing suit for the next pool party.
Everyone loves dip and this recipe for Individual Seven-Layer Dips are perfect for a pool party. Guests can grab their own cup and then snag a tortilla chip for the dip or you can set out some cut up veggies (like celery sticks or sliced bell pepper).
Photo courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything
Who says you can’t eat salad with your hands? Party Salad Boats turns salad into a finger food by placing the salad into pasta shells that guests can hold and eat. This recipe calls for lettuce, tomatoes, olives, pepperoni and feta cheese, but I would probably omit the meat and add some diced bell pepper instead. You’ll cut down on fat and calories and still have plenty of flavor (and additional crunch!).
Photo courtesy of PuppityPup
Turkey Cucumber Roll Ups are a terrific alternative to finger sandwiches, especially if you’ve got a garden with a surplus of cucumbers right now. These are every dieters dream, as the ingredients are sliced turkey breast, cucumber, shredded carrot, lettuce and diced tomato. A bit of mayonnaise is optional.
Photo courtesy of My Paleo Journey
Fruit is always a hit at any outdoor summer party and these creative “dolphins” made from bananas will be a hit with your guests, especially the younger ones. A bonus is this is super easy to make. Simply slice the end open with a knife, draw an “eye” on the banana and place a grape in the “mouth.” Again, use individual containers as shown in the image so that guests will have their own serving and can grab-and-go.
Photo courtesy of BuzzFeed
I hope you have fun with these snack ideas at your next pool party or outdoor event. I’ll be back next week with some casseroles designed specifically with the warmer weather in mind.
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