Who doesn’t love all the summertime foods, as well as the lighter eating that comes this time of year?
Although we’ve had lower temperatures this season ~ due to the rain every single day for weeks ~ it’s still good to have that lighter fare.

I can always use inspiration in the kitchen, and there are many times a sister or friend will tell me something they are cooking for dinner, and I will promptly make it as well.

Hey, when you’ve been married for 8 years, don’t eat out all that much, and cook pretty much everything from scratch, that amounts to a lot of meals. That’s actually around 2, 920 dinner meals alone, give or take. There’s a reason I sometimes run dry! :)

So, my friend Shelly and I are linking up to hopefully inspire some summertime cooking. She’s following the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, so for those of you interested, follow her there!

I attempt to cook healthful and nutritiously, although mine aren’t completely kosher! :)

Here are a few of our family favorites this summer. A lot of these are actually more lunch or snack type of items. Hopefully you will enjoy. :)

Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

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Although it’s a pasta dish, it’s a rather light-weight one, and accompanied by a large salad, it’s delicious.
[sorry, no link. I’ve been experimenting with my own recipe]

Saturday Night Pizza

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It’s becoming tradition: Saturday night is great for a pizza night! Even if we’ve had a busy day, it’s an easy and fun food to make with endless options.

I love to add garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and basil to the dough, and then drizzle it with pesto before the pizza sauce. The flavor is superb with all that olive oil and garlic flavoring. :)
I also like to serve hot marinara sauce, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes on the side.

Our two favorites varieties:
Chicken Bacon Ranch
pesto /pizza sauce /crispy bacon/ grilled or canned chicken / mozzarella cheese / heavily drizzled with Ranch dressing

pesto /pizza sauce / sausage / bacon / medium banana pepper rings / black olives / pepperoni / chopped fresh basil / sliced grape tomatoes / mozzarella cheese

BLT with Avacado and Provolone

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The avocado-turned-guacamole as well as the cheese took this BLT to a whole new level of goodness! It went from a normal café-style sandwich to gourmet-upscale-delish!

Snack & Lunch Time

Hummus with Vegetables

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On a recent trip home to see my family, I discovered my kiddos LOVE hummus.  They are such big fans they will even eat it with a spoon.

However, eaten with baby carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, and really any dipping vegetable, it is a wonderful combination! We got through one of these family sizes a week, and I love it because it’s a nutritious snack that also tastes so good!

Yogurt Parfait

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This is another nutritious and easy lunch or snack that we all love.

homemade yogurt / homemade granola / fresh blueberries / fresh strawberries [blackberries, peaches] / drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with ground cinnamon / a pat of whipped cream


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So this follows the same lines as the parfait and is nothing new at all, but a healthy smoothie hits the spot on a hot day.

/ yogurt / frozen strawberries / frozen peaches / teaspoon of vanilla / a few shakes of stevia powder / a bit of milk to make it smooth

Blueberry Muffins

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Who doesn’t love to use fresh blueberries when they’re in season? Oh, that’s right. We had eaten almost all the fresh and these had to be made with frozen. Still just as good. :)

The recipe comes from here, and it is THE best blueberry muffin recipe I’ve ever made or tasted. I love the crunchy streusel on the top. I also substituted 1/2 of the amount of flour for whole wheat and added just a bit more milk, and it turned out very well! Also, I used regular-sized muffins tins, not jumbo.

Strawberry/Basil Refresher

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This idea I shamelessly copy from Shelly. :) It’s a variation of the Good Girl Moonshine, but I didn’t add all the ingredients in that original recipe.

This is an amazing drink. The flavor is so unique it surprises you, but so delicious!

1 quart water and ice / 1 teaspoon ground ginger / several shakes powdered stevia /  3-4 sliced strawberries / 3-4 basil leaves, torn 

Shake well and enjoy!

Happy Summertime, and good eating to you, my friends!

17 thoughts on “From the Kitchen: Summertime Goodness

  1. Christy

    The food looks delicious!!! I think I’d like to stop by your kitchen to sample some food. :) I’m looking for a pizza crust recipe. I have a very quick one that doesn’t need time to rise, but it has a Lot of yeast. I think we are the same in not feeling super skilled with baking things, so if you have an easy recipe I’d love to have it. :) I’m also hoping for the pasta recipe once you have it perfected. Have you ever made the Pioneer Woman’s tomato basil pizza with pesto? It is another very delicious, summery meal.

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I have a wonderful recipe I use for the pizza dough that comes from Linda! It’s actually a soft pretzel recipe, so it’s just a tad chewy but so very soft. I love it! It also works well with partial wheat flour. And no, I have not made that pasta dish from the Pioneer Woman! I must try – I LOVE basil/tomato combinations! Thanks for the recommendation! :)

  2. Oie

    Wow – all the food looks delicious, since it’s stull Winter here, I can only dream….. :0)
    We are taking a holiday to a warmer climate for a few days – maybe I can get my fill of salads there for a few days.

  3. shelly

    Good morning, friend! I always love to see what’s cooking in your kitchen. :) Heh~I do *try* with that Trim, Healthy Mama stuff, although the past month has been a little more “cheatish”. However, it’s made me realize how GOOD I feel when I do eat well. Your pasta salad looks delightful . . . and did you know that for those of us looking to stay trim and/or not spike the blood sugar too high, Dreamfields pasta (available at most grocery stores, including Wal-Mart) sells a nice variety?! I just love it for those days I want to eat a normal tasting pasta dish of any sort! I’ve got a biiiig box of fresh blueberries waiting for me to bake muffins and other things, but we too are eating them down pretty fast just the way they are. :) Everything else looks superb . . . can’t wait to try your pizza variations and the sandwich!

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Well, I think you do a fabulous job with the THM, and they say a bit of cheating now and then is okay, right? :) And I’ve heard of Dreamfields Pasta but didn’t know where to get it – so good to know! Now to see if our Walmart stocks it. :) I often wish for actual get-togethers to share food and inspiration, but mostly, just share life together. xoxo

  4. Ervina

    I can’t handle so much inspiration! Yay for yummy foods the next few weeks. :) Thanks for always being my middle-of-the-afternoon-person-to-call-for-supper-ideas (that goes for Zoe too). Whatever would I do without you…

  5. Cindy

    I was JUST thinking—I don’t know what to cook for supper!!! and with it being so hot and humid, my inspiration left with my perspiration. ;)

    until I read this post! now I am hungry too. and wishing that you lived closer. i’d be stopping by for good girl moonshine and some conversation. and that avocado blt sounds perfect too.

  6. Jill

    Thanks for the fresh inspiration! Was wondering what you use for the pesto on your pizza? Do you make it or buy it?

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Hi Jill! I normally make my pesto, and while there are different ways to make it, I often do the following: 1 cup olive oil, 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon season salt, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. It’s best if it sits at room temperature for at least an hour before using, and then refrigerating after use. Enjoy! :)

      1. Jill

        Thanks for the recipe Clarita! Looks simple and delish. I thoroughly enjoyed the lengthy post on your sister’s wedding. What a lovely family you have! Thanks for sharing your creativity with us.

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