Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Creamy Dill Red Potato Salad

Summer is upon us! Well not quite, but we are so close! I can literally smell it! The smell of grilled meat has infiltrated the warm evening air in my subdivision and I am itching for a good ol’ fashioned cookout.

One thing I absolutely love about summer BBQs are all the cold salads. Macaroni salads, potato salads, mmmmmmm… mmmm… mmmm! (I really should not write these posts when I am hungry because right now, I am salivating just thinking back to this potato salad.)

I have a go to potato salad that is loaded with bacon, olives, bell peppers, onions, and so much more and it is amazing, but sometimes I am looking to mix it up with something a little more simple and lighter. 

The red potatoes really come out fluffy and then the super creamy dressing is a little tangy from the vinegar and sour cream and then you have this delicious dill flavor. So simple and so lite. Perfect for these warm summer days!

INGREDIENTS
8 large red potatoes, diced
1 c sour cream
1 c mayonnaise
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp dill
salt and pepper
4 green onions, chopped

STEPS

  • Add 1–2 tablespoon of salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the diced potatoes and boil for 10–14 minutes or until fork tender.
  • While the potatoes are boiling whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, dill, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • When the potatoes are done cooking drain them in a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add most of the green onions (saving a handful for garnish) and dressing and toss to coat. 
  • Garnish with the leftover green onions and a little bit of the dill.
  • Cover with a lid or saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. The longer it rests, the better the flavors.

If you like this recipe, then I highly recommend you check out these other awesome salads that make for great additions to your BBQ menu!

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad

Orzo Pesto Pasta

Orzo Pesto Pasta

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Lemon Italian Ice

If you think a cold glass of lemonade is refreshing on a hot summer day, wait until you try this frozen treat, Lemon Italian Ice! There is no comparison. This is better, hands down. Your kiddos will think so too.

My son and I make this during the summer and it is the most refreshing thing I have probably ever had. The lemon mixture with fresh zest is just the perfect amount of tart and sweet and it is crazy how light and fluffy it is! Absolute heaven! 

I absolutely love how easy this recipe is to make. So easy that my 11-year-old does most of the work. I pretty much just zest the lemons and he does the rest. Plus, it is basically 4 ingredients. Fresh lemons, sugar, salt, and water. So simple and relatively healthy compared to other frozen treats.

So as the weather warms up and you are looking for creative ways to cool off, give this a try. It is sure to do the trick!

Notes: 

  • The trick to making this is to work quickly when you are processing the frozen cubes and keep the fluffy ice from melting. We had a container ready to go in the freezer and as soon as I emptied each batch from the blender to the container, it went back into the freezer. This really kept it light and fluffy and it never froze together. 
  • To get 1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice, you will probably need between 8–10 lemons.
  • This makes a pretty decent sized batch so you can easily get 6–8 servings out of it. 

INGREDIENTS
grated zest from 2 lemons
1 1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 c sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 c water

GARNISHES (optional)
fresh raspberries
fresh mint leaves

STEPS

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, sugar, salt, and water.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. 
  • Allow the mixture to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • Pour the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.
  • Put 6–8 ice cubes at a time into a food processor or blender and pulse until all the cubes are broken up and you have a fluffy mixture.
  • Immediately transfer the “fluffy ice” to serving dishes OR a freezer safe container to be enjoyed later.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining cubes.
  • Garnish your Italian ice with some fresh raspberries and mint sprigs.
  • Store the leftover Italian ice in the freezer in a tightly covered container. 
  • To serve later, remove the Italian ice from the freezer and allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes to help soften it up for scooping. 
Dinners

Recipe—Grilled Hawaiian Sticky Chicken & Pineapple

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken & Pineapple

Aloha! Summer is coming to a close and most vacations are currently on hold. So if you can’t get to a tropical island, then let’s bring the island life to you!

Back in April when we were about a month into sheltering in place at home, my family and I came up with an idea to do a weekly family theme night. We were doing them every Friday just so we had something fun to look forward to at the end of the week. The first one we did was a Tropical Beach Party. The primary focus of our theme nights was our menu but we found lots of other fun details to incorporate. We ended up watching Lilo and Stitch while sprawled out on beach towels on our living room floor.

For this specific dinner I made my Grilled Hawaiian Sticky Chicken and Pineapple. It was so good! The key is definitely marinating the chicken for the entire day to really let all those flavors soak into the meat. You get this delicious combination of salty, sweet, and smoky. Cooking it low and slow on the grill gives the chicken and pineapple a nice caramelized exterior and then you brush them with honey at the end so you end up with this sweet sticky exterior that brings out so much flavor. The pineapple manages to get even sweeter and even picks up a bit of a smoky flavor from the grill. My mouth is literally watering just thinking about it. I served it up with some of my Tropical Macadamia Nut Ricewhich is packed with island flavors of toasted coconut and macadamia nuts. If you really want to take this meal to the next level then break out the blender and try my Best Ever Piña Coladas. So, for now, home may not be as good as Hawaii but at least with this meal, the only thing you will be missing is the sand between your toes.

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken & Pineapple

Note: The trick with grilling this recipe to is to do it over a lower indirect heat and making sure not to have it directly over the heat source. The glaze can easily burn if you try and cook it hot and fast. If you are not the grilling type then you can absolutely cook it in a pan on the stove top.

INGREDIENTS
4 chicken breasts
1/4 c pineapple juice
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
fresh pineapple, cut into long spears
1/4 c honey
green onions, chopped

STEPS

  • In a small bowl whisk together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, garlic, and olive oil.
  • Place the chicken and marinade in a large Ziploc bag and mix to ensure all the chicken breasts get covered with the marinade.
  • Marinade in the refrigerator for 2–24 hours.
    About 30 minutes before cooking, remove the marinated chicken from the bag and place in a shallow dish. Allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.
  • Preheat the grill to 350º.
  • Add the chicken to the grill making sure you cook it over indirect heat. (See above note.)
  • Cook the chicken for 7–10 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 160º.
  • During the last 10 minutes of the chicken cooking, add the pineapple spears to the grill also making sure to cook it over indirect heat.
  • Turn the pineapple every 2–3 minutes making sure to get some nice grill marks on them.
  • When the chicken and pineapple are done, transfer them to a serving dish and lightly brush with the honey, and sprinkle with the green onions.
Beverages

Recipe—Strawberry Sangria

Recipe—Strawberry Sangria

We have had a hot streak out here in California with every day last week being over 100º and being that it is strawberry season I figured it was time to whip up a batch of refreshing sangria using some of my favorite seasonal fruit! This sangria is so perfect for sipping on in this summer sun. It is light, refreshing, and ridiculously easy to make! You just stir together a bottle of wine, some silver rum, a little sugar, and a splash seltzer. You can certainly make it and drink it right away but I like to let mine sit in the fridge for about an hour so that the wine really takes on those strawberry flavors. Mmmm…mmm… tastes like summer in a glass!Recipe—Strawberry Sangria

And if you like this recipe then be sure to also check out my Red Wine Sangria or Summertime White Sangria.

Notes: 

  • If you are watching your carbs or don’t like drinks that are too sweet, feel free to leave out the sugar all together. I made it that way the other day and it was still delicious! You get lots of natural sweetness from the fruity wine and fresh strawberries.
  • For the white wine I used Pomelo’s sauvignon blanc (one of my favorite summer wines). It has a nice refreshing grapefruit flavor. Anything with citrus notes will give you wonderful results. I recommend using a pinot grigio, rosé, or sauvignon blanc for this recipe. Something fruity and light.

INGREDIENTS
750 ml bottle of sauvignon blanc (see above note)
1/3 c silver rum
1/4 c sugar
1 lemon, sliced
2 c fresh strawberries, sliced
1 1/2 c seltzer

STEPS

  • Pour the wine, rum, and sugar into a large pitcher.
  • Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the sliced lemons and strawberries to the pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Add the seltzer right before serving.
  • Pour over ice and enjoy!

 

Sweet Treats

Recipe—Strawberry Cream Crumb Bars

Recipe—Strawberry Cream Crumb Bars

It’s summertime and I have strawberries on my mind! I could eat strawberry anything but these Strawberry Cream Crumb Bars are really something else. Growing up I loved loved LOVED those strawberry shortcake frozen dessert bars that have the crumbly shortbread coating on the outside. Anyone else ever have those? This simple recipe is those embodied in a dessert bar. Crumbly buttery cookie exterior with a sweet and creamy center. These are a perfect summer treat that everyone will love!

Note: These are delicious with any flavor of pie filling so feel free to use your favorite! These cut great with a pizza cutter when cooled. 

INGREDIENTS
1 c brown sugar
3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, melted
1 c sour cream
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c strawberry pie filling

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with foil and spray with some nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Drizzle the melted butter over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. (The dough should be crumbly.)
  • Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the crumbly dough for the topping and press the remaining dough edge to edge into the bottom of the foil lined baking dish.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until evenly combined.
  • Spread the cream filling over the crust.
  • Place dollops of the strawberry pie filling over the cream.
  • Using a spoon, gently swirl the pie filling and the cream together making sure not to over mix.
  • Sprinkle the remaining dough crumbs over the top evenly.
  • Bake for 25–30 minutes or until the tops begin to brown and the center is set.
  • Allow the bars to cool completely in the baking dish.
  • Once the bars have cooled, lift the bars by the foil out of the baking dish, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into squares.
  • Store the bars in the fridge until ready to serve.
Beverages

Recipe— Knock You Off Your Saddle Lemonade

Knock You Off Your Saddle LemonadeA couple of weeks ago for my Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown I mentioned that I made a big pitcher of Knock You Off Your Saddle Lemonade. It was exactly what I needed at the end of the week. This grown-up version of lemonade has a little hint of ginger, the perfect amount of bubbles, and then of course a nice vodka kick. It was so refreshing! It makes a generous amount so I actually ended up delivering mason jars to the doorsteps of some of my favorite local moms on that Friday night. Pretty sure we all needed it and I may or may not have had a few glasses myself that night as well.

Since the recipe makes a whole pitcher, it is perfect to sip on throughout a warm summer day in the garden or by the pool, or to serve up at your next BBQ.

Note: If you want to make this ahead of time, combine the ginger water, lemonade, and vodka in advance but hold off on adding the ginger ale, sliced lemons, and ice to the pitcher until right before serving. You don’t want it getting watered down or for your ginger ale to go flat.

INGREDIENTS
small piece of fresh ginger (about 2″ in length), peeled and thinly sliced
2 c water
1 can (12 oz) of frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
4 1/2 c ginger ale
1 1/2 c vodka
lemon slices
ice

STEPS

  • Put the sliced ginger and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the saucepan and remove from heat.
  • Allow the water and ginger to steep for 30–45 minutes.
  • Remove the ginger and set the ginger flavored water aside.
  • In a large pitcher, combine the ginger water, lemonade concentrate, ginger ale, and vodka and stir well.
  • Add in the lemon slices and a generous amount of ice.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Family Theme Nights

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

Yee haw! It is time to round up the family for another installment of Family Theme Night. This week I am giving you all the deets you need to throw together a Country Hoedown for the family. Until I sat down and started planning out our own menu for a western themed feast, I had NO idea how many recipes I actually had on my blog that leant themselves to this theme. A western theme is always a great reason to fire up the BBQ but if you are not the grilling type, or you want something that can be done in the kitchen, don’t worry! I still have so many great recipes for you to try. Just check out the fabulous list I compiled for you below.

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

For our western night we had fun doing target practice with Nerf guns and playing cards. We sipped on good ol’ fashioned root beer and drank Knock You Off Your Saddle Lemonade (recipe coming soon!) from mason jars. I danced to country music in my kitchen while cooking my Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese in a cast iron skillet and served it up in a metal pie dish with some of my homemade chili, corn on the cob, and ribs. And then of course finished it off with some cherry pie, because why not. I am still working that meal off but it was so worth it!

Knock You Off Your Saddle Lemonade

Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese

Country Feast

If you do participate in any of the theme nights please be sure to post your pics and tag me on Instagram @DivaDiCucina and use the hashtag #DivasThemeNight. I would love to see how you and your family incorporate any of the themes and put your own twist on them. Please also share any other ideas you have or links to other country or western themed recipes you enjoy in the comments below.

I hope you have as much fun with this as my family and I!

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

FOOD IDEAS
Click on the name of the food item below to be directed to a page with that recipe. Please note some of these link to recipes shared by other awesome food bloggers which will redirect you to their sites.

Appetizers
Bacon Jalapeño Cheese Ball
Bacon Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped in Puff Pastry
Spicy Black Bean Dip
Southwest Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Cilantro Lime Sauce
Western Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

Drinks
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Red Wine Sangria
Summertime White Sangria
Western Sling
Root Beer or Sarsaparilla

Main Course
Crock-Pot Pale Ale BBQ Chicken Sandos
Big Ol’ BBQ Meatballs
Oven Roasted Tri Tip with Veggies
Peppercorn Crusted Steak with Bourbon Cream Sauce
Bacon Cheddar Chicken
Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken Jalapeño Popper Sammy
BBQ Bacon Wrapped Pork Chop with Grilled Onions
Pork Tenderloin Sammy with Red Cabbage Coleslaw and Sriracha Sauce
Crock-Pot Ranch Pork Chops
Easy Oven Baked Ribs

Side Dishes
Cracked Corn and Cheese Cornbread Muffins
Chili (The Classic Kind)
Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese
Broccoli Salad
Classic Macaroni Salad
Crunchy Apple Bacon Coleslaw
Crunchy Pea Salad
Potato Salad
Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread Muffins
Macaroni N’ Cheese
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
Loaded Baked Cauliflower

Dessert
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
Banana Split Pie
Blackberry Ice Cream
Individual Blueberry Cheesecakes in Mason Jars
Strawberries & Cream Poke Cake
Strawberry Pie
Apple Pie Bites
Individual Peanut Butter Mousse Pies in Mason Jars

 

Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand to show your friendly intentions.

Family Theme Night—Country Hoedown

Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Mexican Street Corn Salad

 

Recipe—Mexican Street Corn Salad

I made this salad last month for a final end of summer hoorah BBQ and let me just tell you, it was delish! The olive oil mixed with vinegar and lime juice creates a zesty vinaigrette dressing and just pairs so nicely with the sweetness of the corn and the saltiness of the quest fresco and then don’t forget the smoky flavor from the paprika. It hits all those flavor points your mouth desires.

This recipe goes great with grilled meats or any Mexican dish. Tacos, enchiladas, you name it. It is cheap, easy, and so quick to make. Like really quick. This recipe literally took me 5 minutes from start to finish.

Note: You can make this with fresh corn on the cob or canned. It is great both ways. If you are using fresh corn you will need about 6-8 cobs of corn. Cook them as you normally would, whether that be on the grill or in a pot of water. Then allow the cobs to cool completely and cut the kernels off the cob and prepare the salad as directed. 

INGREDIENTS

3 (15.25 oz) cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 c green onions, chopped
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 c queso fresco, crumbled
paprika

STEPS

  • Place the corn kernels, tomatoes, and green onions into a serving bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice.
  • Pour the dressing over the corn and stir to coat.
  • Top with the queso fresco and a sprinkling of paprika.
Salads, Side Dishes

8 Must Try Summer Salads

8 Must Try Summer Salads

Summer is the season of BBQs and potlucks and that means delicious side salads are a must! I have compiled my eight favorite salad recipes from my blog including pasta, potato, and even some veggie-based ones. I could eat these for lunch or dinner all summer long. All of these salads will be having your friends and family coming back for seconds!

Asparagus and Feta Salad

Asparagus and Feta Salad
Grilled asparagus tossed in a lemon olive oil dressing and topped with feta cheese.

 

Italian Pasta Salad

Italian Pasta Salad
Rotini noodles and lots of veggies tossed in Italian dressing.

 

Classic Macaroni Salad

Classic Macaroni Salad
A summer classic! Macaroni noodles and crunchy veggies tossed in a creamy dressing.

 

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad
This broccoli salad is the perfect balance of crunchy and creamy, and sweet and salty. Broccoli tossed with bacon, craisins, and sunflower seeds.

 

Crunchy Pea Salad

Crunchy Pea Salad
Peas tossed in a creamy dressing with bacon, craisins, and peanuts.

 

Orzo Pesto Pasta

Orzo Pesto Pasta
One of my all time favorites! Cooked orzo pasta tossed with pesto, cooked zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and feta.

 

Potato Salad

Potato Salad
This potato salad has the perfect amount of creaminess and best of all BACON! Sort of like a loaded baked potato but in a salad.

 

Crunchy Apple Bacon Coleslaw

Crunchy Apple Bacon Coleslaw
Sweet + Salty+Tangy + Crunchy = Delicious and Unique Coleslaw

Dinners

Recipe—Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Summer is coming… but the warm weather is already here! Time to fire up the grill!

I love when I can find recipes that are almost all done on the grill so I can keep the kitchen cool during hot months. I may also love recipes like this because it means I do the easy prep work and then the hubby does all the hard work out in the heat at the grill while I stay cool inside with a margarita. It’s all about team work, right? 😉

Okay, onto the dish. Each of these components is delicious on it’s own but when brought together you get some amazing tacos! You have the grilled chili lime chicken which is so tender and has so much flavor, a little zest from the lime paired up with all those delicious seasonings and a tad of heat. Then you have this delicious chunky salsa made up of a sweet caramelized pineapple with a nice smoky flavor from the grilled red pepper and jalapeño. And is if that isn’t enough, (yes, it gets better!) then you add this refreshing avocado crema. Just give me a bag of tortilla chips and I will go to town on that sauce!

Another thing I love about this recipe is how pretty it is! Look at all those amazing colors! I truly love everything about this recipe! I hope you will too.

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Chunky Pineapple Salsa

Note: If you want to cut down on the amount of preparation at dinner time, you can marinade the chicken for as long as 24 hours in advance and the crema can be made up to four hours in advance. Having a chunk of the leg work done in advance makes this a perfect recipe to make for dinner guests. All you have to do is grill the chicken, pineapple, and peppers, and warm up some tortillas.

CHILI LIME CHICKEN INGREDIENTS
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice

PINEAPPLE SALSA INGREDIENTS
20 oz can pineapple slices
1/2 red onion, sliced
red bell pepper, deseeded and quartered
jalapeno, deseeded and halved
olive oil
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

AVOCADO CREMA INGREDIENTS
1 avocado
1/2 c sour cream
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder

OTHER INGREDIENTS
tortillas
pepperjack cheese, shredded
lime, cut into wedges

STEPS

  • Place the chicken breasts in a large Pyrex dish.
  • Whisk together all the additional chili lime chicken ingredients in a small bowl and slather all over both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Cover the Pyrex with plastic wrap and set aside to marinade for 30 minutes.
  • While the chicken is marinating, begin preparing items for the salsa. Skewer the red onions and then drizzle them, the bell pepper, and jalapeño with olive oil and set aside with the pineapple.
  • Preheat your grill to 375–425º.
  • Grill the chicken for 8–10 minutes on one side and then flip.
  • Add the pineapple and peppers to the grill and cook for 4­–5 minutes before flipping and then continue to grill them for another 4–5 minutes.
  • Continue to cook the chicken until a thermometer reads 160º when inserted into the thickest part of the meat, the pineapple until it is nicely caramelized, and the veggies until they have some nice grill marks.
  • Transfer everything from the grill to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
  • While all the grilled items are resting get started on the avocado cream. Add all the crema ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth and well blended, set aside.
  • Chop up the pineapple, onion, and peppers and place them in a bowl.
  • Add the cilantro, lime juice, ginger, cumin, salt, and pepper to the bowl and stir.
  • Chop up the chicken and set aside.
  • Everything is finally ready! Time to assemble the tacos!
  • Heat up your tortillas and top each one with meat, cheese, pineapple salsa, and avocado crema.
  • Devour!

 

Recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings.