Summer is here and it's time to break out the grill and picnic tables and enjoy your favorite recipes al fresco! I've gathered up my favorite summer cookout recipes from my blog over the past several years and many of these are all-time favorites that I continue to make over and over again. From desserts to appetizers, main dishes to sides, I've got a little bit of everything to help you build the perfect summer menu. Even better, you know I only share recipes that I truly love AND that are super easy and relatively quick to make. Check out my favorites below with links to all the original recipes! Have you tried any of these before? Which are your favorites?Read More
This super cheesy zucchini tart has to be one of my favorite recipes to date! It is the perfect summer vegetable side and looks so beautiful coming out of the oven. It reminds me of a classic southern tomato pie, but dare I say it, WAY better! Zucchini is something we buy every week at the farmer's market, so I am always looking for new and creative ways to prepare it. This tart has super melty and rich layers of ricotta, feta cheese, pine nuts, and zucchini, and is topped with Parmesan cheese and some fresh cherry tomatoes. Every bite melts in your mouth and the super flaky crust just tops it all off! Even better, you can have this ready to bake in about 15 minutes! Let's get started:
1 pie crust
2-3 medium zucchini
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ricotta
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Chop your zucchini into very thin slices. Sprinkle with salt and allow them to sit 10-15 minutes at room temperature (until little water droplets start to form on the slices). This step helps prevent your zucchini from being too soggy later!
3. Place your pie crust in a pie dish. Pat all your zucchini slices dry with a paper towel.
4. Fill the bottom of the pie crust with a layer of chopped zucchini (about half of your slices). Top with 1/2 the feta and pine nuts and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.
5. Repeat the process adding another layer of zucchini, pine nuts, and feta, topped with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
6. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, ricotta, and eggs.
7. Pour the ricotta mixture onto the top of the tart, covering evenly.
8. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the entire top of the tart and finish with another light sprinkling of salt and pepper.
9. Cut all your cherry tomatoes in half and arrange them around the edges of your tart.
10. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and starts to brown just slightly.
I don't think you can go wrong with a tart that has three different cheeses! I love how beautifully all the cheese browns as it finishes baking and the cherry tomatoes get perfectly roasted. The tomatoes add so much brightness that breaks up the rich flavor of the tart. The addition of pine nuts to any dish makes it a favorite of mine instantly! They add the perfect amount of crunch, texture, and nutty flavor to this tart. It is so hard to make these vegetable tarts without getting soggy, watery vegetables inside. Be sure not to skip salting your zucchini after slicing and letting it sit out for 15 minutes before patting it dry. This allows it to release all the water that is usually held inside and then released while it's baking causing the tart to become soggy. We seriously ate over half of this between the two of us at dinner and then Alex enjoyed the rest of the leftovers throughout the weekend (and it's just as good reheated!). I hope you enjoy it as much as we did, it has become a new staple in our house!
Summer isn't truly summer without fresh peach desserts! When I saw all the gorgeous peaches at the farmer's market this weekend, I knew some baking would be in my future this week! I came across the recipe for this bourbon, peach, and blueberry crumble and thought it looked too delicious not to try! I also picked up my blueberries at the farmer's market and some blackberries to throw in for some extra tartness! Like I've said before, I don't have much patience for complicated baking but this recipe was super easy and quick! I adjusted a few of the measurements to my liking and opted to use salted butter instead of unsalted. This is something I have started always doing when I bake because I enjoy the combination of sweet/salty in my desserts!
For the filling:
5-6 sliced peaches
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup (2 ounces) bourbon
*1/4 cup sugar (you can adjust this amount depending on the tartness of your fruit!)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons heavy cream
makes 4-6 servings
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine all your filling ingredients and stir to combine.
2. Add your flour, sugar, oats, salt, and butter to a separate bowl in a stand mixer or food processor. Mix together until the texture is coarse with lots of clumps from the butter (it will still be very dry).
3. Slowly add in your heavy whipping cream while still continuing to mix.
4. You can make individual servings (use ramekins or small pans) or one large serving (in a skillet or baking dish). Pour your filling into your baking dish(es) and then top with a generous scoop of your crumble topping (you can eyeball this, some people like more/less topping).
5. Place your baking dishes on a cookie sheet or pan to catch any overflow and bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.
These smelled divine coming out of the oven and they tasted even better! The crumble topping was super buttery, and had a great sweet/salty taste combination that I love. The peaches were perfectly juicy and sweet while the fresh blueberries and blackberries added just the right amount of tartness, and the bourbon added such deep flavor. All the filling becomes super warm and melty which contrasts so well with the crunch of the crumble topping! Overall I can't imagine a better summer dessert- super fresh and bright tasting and even better with a giant scoop of icecream or a glass of ice cold milk!
We're halfway through July and I still can't get enough neutrals + summer staples in my wardrobe. This skirt from local boutique Entwine is the perfect breezy piece with the cutest details (tassel trim + lace up waist!). Not to mention it's also a soft linen-like material and SO comfortable. I paired it with a flowy bell-sleeve blouse from Forever 21 and some basic flat sandals for a laid-back summer Sunday. Forever 21 is my favorite place to get little crop tops and flowy blouses like this and they always have a good selection come summer. I'm trilled that bell sleeves are back, they are so flattering and comfortable and I love the vintage vibe! What are some of your favorite summer staples?
Summer means plenty of picnics, cook-outs, and pool parties, and one of my favorite dishes to share for summer gatherings is pasta salad. I'm on a roll with Southern Living recipes lately and this one is no exception. I've already made it twice in the past week and everyone who has tried it has LOVED it! It is the perfect light and flavorful summery pasta salad and the perfect opportunity to use fresh in-season green beans. This recipe is also super easy to make and you can put it together in about 15-20 minutes. I've included all your ingredients and step-by-step instructions below:
12 ounces casarecce (or penne) pasta
1/2 pound green beans
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
5 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted salted pistachios, plus more for topping
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups loosely packed arugula
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Trim the ends off of all your green beans and cut them in half.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions and throw the green beans into the boiling water for the last 2 minutes.
3. Drain your pasta and green beans and rinse with cold water.
4. Add pasta, green beans, thyme, and 3 tsp. lemon zest to a large bowl and toss together.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup pistachios, white wine vinegar, olive oil, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tsp. lemon zest.
6. Pour this oil and vinegar mixture over your pasta mixture and toss to coat.
7. Top with arugula, some extra chopped pistachios, and Parmesan cheese.
Yum! The oil, vinegar, and spices add just the right amount of flavor while still keeping this dish super light and fresh tasting. I LOVE this "casarecce" pasta and it is one of my new favorites for any kind of pasta dish. It has a slightly firm texture but still really soaks up all of the flavors of the dressing. I especially like the crunch that the green beans and pistachios add, as well as the contrasting bright, peppery flavor of the arugula. The lemon zest adds just the right touch of citrus without being super overpowering. I hope you love this dish as much as we did- plan on getting plenty of requests for it after you share with your friends!
Gingham, bright florals, and basket purses are the epitome of summer to me, and this outfit just happens to include all three! All these items are vintage finds that I have had for years and will probably still wear for years to come. Gingham is basically a neutral to me (especially when it's black and white) and I love to mix it with different prints and bright colors. When mixing prints, I always pay attention to scale: the gingham is a very large, chunky geometric print and the floral is small and dainty so the two can work together instead of competing with each other. I love this guide from Who What Wear with plenty of tips and pattern-mixing inspiration. This site also has a great collection of pattern-mixing outfit ideas. Just remember as long as YOU love your outfit and wear it with confidence, no one will question if you are truly "matching" or not!
I have not shopped at Old Navy in ages, but after going in there the other day looking for this gingham set, I feel like I have been missing out! I used to shop there all the time, but for some reason I had not thought of it as an option lately. They really have some adorable basics for summer and I grabbed a few rompers, tops, and the most flattering jeans. One of my favorite finds was this peplum gingham top. Nothing screams summer like gingham (so picnic-like!) and the cut is SO comfy and flattering at the same time. Hurry and grab your size because it's only $12.79 right now (and also comes in this adorable striped option). I also grabbed this linen-blend poncho which was with the bathing-suits (meant to be a cover-up), but I'm going to also wear it everyday too! It was a little chilly yesterday so I threw it on over this top and it was the perfect light-weight layering piece. Moral of the story- stop by Old Navy this week and stock up on all the essentials you need for your summer wardrobe (without breaking the bank)!