Summer is almost ready to end and Labor Day is right around the corner! Everyone knows what that means… summer cook outs are coming to an end. Since out time in the sun is so limited here in Maine, people want to spend a majority of their time outside enjoying the weather and not standing over a hot stove inside. Also if any of you know me, you know that I do not like to cook, so you will not catch me spending a significant amount of time in the kitchen on a nice summer day. If you read my blog post on batching, you can tell that I like to maximize my time and be as efficient as I can. That’s why for this blog post I decided to share a few quick and simple side recipes that you can either make the night before or quickly the day of. This will give you more time with family and friends and less time in the kitchen!
Pesto Pasta Salad*
*this dish is best if made the night before or given a few hours to cool off and set
1 lb box penne pasta
1 16oz jar pesto
1 16oz jar sun dried tomatoes julienne cut
1 red bell pepper – sliced into strips
1 8oz container shaved Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil for garnish if desired
Cook the box of pasta according to instructions on the box. As it is cooking, cut the red pepper into thin strips and split into 2 piles. Save one pile for tomorrow. Drain the pasta and add jars of pesto and sun dried tomatoes. Stir together (it will look oily but that is why it is best if it sits overnight). Add in one pile of the red pepper and 4 oz of the Parmesan cheese. Mix well. Cover and set in fridge overnight. Right before serving, stir the pasta salad then top with the remaining red pepper and Parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
Kicked-Up Corn on the Cob
8 ears of corn (husks removed, can be done night before)
2 tbs Chili Pepper
Juice of 2 limes (room temperature)
2 tbs melted butter
Put raw corn on the grill, make sure you rotate it every 4-5 minutes so it cooks evenly. Cook for approx. 15 minutes or until kernels are tender. As it is cooking, melt butter and add in lime juice and chili pepper (if mix is too spicy, add more melted butter). Remove from grill and brush chili-lime mixture over corn, serve immediately.
1 medium watermelon cut into cubes (precut watermelon is fine)
1 8oz package fresh mint – roughly chopped
1 16oz container crumbled feta
1/3 cup balsamic glaze
Combine watermelon cubes, chopped mint, and feta into a large bowl and stir thoroughly. Drizzle balsamic glaze over top and serve immediately.
Frank's Bleu Cheese Dip
1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 16oz container Bleu Cheese
Crumble the bleu cheese in a bowl, set aside ¼ cup of bleu cheese. Mix the rest together with hot sauce until blended (add more hot sauce if needed to get desired consistency). Top with rest of bleu cheese. Can be made the night before or served immediately. Serve with tortilla chips, carrots, celery, or Fritos. Can also be used as a burger, corn, or baked potato topping.
If you decide to make any of these for your next BBQ, take a pic and share it below or on our Facebook page! I would love to hear your feedback on the recipes or have your share your own quick BBQ creations!