Beat the Heat with These Cool Recipes

We love having warm weather year round… except maybe during summer, when it gets really warm. Whether you choose to chill in one of our pools or maybe just crank up your air conditioner, you might want to add these easy, no-bake summer recipes to your arsenal of cool-down tricks.

panzanella

Panzanella. (Photo via The New York Times)

No-Bake Summer Recipes to Beat the Heat

 

Savory

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail — A spin on the traditional shrimp cocktail, this version calls for creamy, cool avocado and Cholula hot sauce (though we bet you could substitute with Crystal). It also happens to pair perfectly with frozen margaritas!

Ingredients:

  • 10 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and steamed
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Cholula hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into chunks
  • 2 cilantro sprigs
  • tortilla chips to serve

Recipe: 

  • Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, ketchup, and hot sauce.
  • Add salt, pepper, pico de gallo, avocado, and shrimp. Stir gently to combine.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

Italian Panzanella — This no-cook salad is full of texture and pairs well with a variety of main dishes. You can serve it at room temperature or chilled.

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups cubed country bread
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes cut into small pieces
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces provolone cheese, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Recipe: 

  • Whisk together oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
  • Add all ingredients except basil and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (but no more than 8 hours).
  • Stir in fresh basil just before serving.

Cantaloupe, Lime & Chili Soup — Complex flavors and a gorgeous color make this the most elegant dish on your summer menu. Plus, it only takes four ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 3-pound cantaloupe
  • 3/4 teaspoon sambal oelek (Asian chili paste)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Recipe: 

  • Cut cantaloupe flesh into large chunks and puree with sambal oelek, lime juice, and salt until smooth.
  • Refrigerate at least one hour until thoroughly chilled. Serve in a chilled bowl with more sambal oelek, to taste.

Sweet

No-Bake Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies — The recipe pretty much says it all. Yum!

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 3 cups quick oats

Recipe: 

  • Over medium heat, cook sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Boil one minute. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in vanilla, salt, peanut butter, Nutella and oats. Stir until combined. Drop by teaspoon on wax paper and cool. Refrigerate until chilled, and enjoy.

Ice Cream with Honey-Poached Apricots — Fruity and refreshing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 strips peeled lemon zest
  • 4 apricots, pitted and quartered
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut

Recipe: 

  • Bring water, honey, and lemon zest to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add apricots and poach until fork tender, about 2-5 minutes.
  • Drain apricots, reserving the syrup (remove lemon peels)
  • Serve apricots with vanilla ice cream and top with syrup.

No-Bake Strawberry Tart — This elegant dessert is deceptively easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 32 Oreo cookies
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 7 ounces milk chocolate
  • 3.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 7 ounces heavy cream
  • 10 ounces fresh strawberries
  • Chopped nuts (almonds, pistachios, etc), optional, for serving

Recipe: 

  • Place Oreo cookies into the bowl of a food processor and blend until crumbs form. Add melted butter and pour over the crushed cookies. Process until evenly moistened. Press cookie mixture with the back of the spoon or fingers into the bottom and edges of a rectangular 5×14 inch tart pan. Freeze until you prepare the filling, just for few minutes.
  • In a small saucepan, place cream over medium-low heat for a few minutes to get hot. No boiling or simmering needed. Remove from heat, pour over chopped chocolate and let rest for 1-2 minutes. Stir until dissolved.
  • Pour chocolate filling over Oreo crust, and top with fresh strawberries.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

Easy Chicken Breast Recipes

The boneless, skinless chicken breast: a weeknight staple for lean protein that cooks up in a jiffy. But it can get a little boring, can’t it? Keep reading for four new ways to prepare this quick-cooking cut of poultry: they’re big on global flavors but still easy, we promise!

sriracha-chicken

Baked Sriracha chicken. (Photo via Alida’s Kitchen)

Chicken Breast Recipes

Hummus-Crusted Chicken

Simple Mediterranean flavors transform in the oven, creating a crisp outer crust. We’ll bet you have most of these ingredients in your fridge already! Try serving it with sauteed squash or boxed couscous.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup hummus (try using garlic or red pepper hummus for extra flavor!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt and pepper

Recipe

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease one large baking dish with cooking spray.
Rinse and pat chicken breasts dry, then season generously with salt and pepper. Lay the chicken breasts into the greased dish, then spread each piece with the hummus so that the entire breast is covered. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the chicken, then distribute the paprika on top. Thinly slice the remaining lemon and place throughout the pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Serves four.

Slow-Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken

Pulled chicken in salsa verde is the basis for an awesome Taco Tuesday. Try using the leftovers for burrito bowls or add barbecue sauce and garlic toast for a barbecue chicken sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups salsa verde
  • 1 bottle beer (can substitute with 1 and 1/3 cups chicken broth)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Recipe

Add chicken to the slow cooker, and top with salsa verde and beer or broth. Sprinkle with cumin and add several pinches of salt and one pinch of pepper. Using tongs, turn the chicken so that all sides are coated in the salsa mixture. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.
Once cooked, shred the chicken in the slow cooker using a fork and toss with the juices. Serves 6-8.

Roasted Chicken with Tomatoes and Chickpeas

Canned chickpeas are an easy ingredient that packs on the protein. This one-sheet meal makes cleanup a cinch. Try serving it with a creamy, cool dollop of Greek yogurt sauce (recipe included below) for even more protein.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (skin recommended)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs (can substitute with Italian parsley)

Recipe

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and crushed red pepper in a bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the oil mixture to another bowl, and add the yogurt. Set aside.
Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet (skin side up if using skin-on breasts). Rub two tablespoons of the oil mixture generously on the chicken. In a separate bowl, add tomatoes, chickpeas and half of the cilantro, then add the remaining oil and mix to coat. Pour onto the baking sheet around the chicken. Turn to coat the chicken with any extra oil. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt.
Roast for about 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving plates and spoon the bean and tomato mixture over top. Garnish with remaining cilantro, and serve with the yogurt sauce. Serves 4.
 

Baked Sriracha Chicken

Want to spice things up? This baked recipe brings the heat. Pair it with simple, steamed Jasmine rice for upgraded take-out at home.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced where green and minced where white
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
  • 2-3 minced garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce (can adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (for serving)

Recipe

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large baking dish and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the minced white onions, hoisin, garlic, ginger, salt, lime juice, Sriracha sauce, and Chinese five spice. Piece by piece, place the chicken breast in the bowl and coat completely with the sauce. Place coated breasts in the baking dish and pour any remaining sauce over top. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Place chicken on serving dishes and top with onion greens and sesame seeds. Serves 4.

Cleansing Smoothie Recipes

smoothie-ingredients

Healthy smoothie ingredients. (Photo via Flickr)

‘Tis the season to overindulge. Fortunately, these cleansing smoothie recipes serve a multitude of purposes: they’re perfect for on-the-go fuel while you’re busy getting in the holiday spirit, and they’re packed with healthy ingredients that will help your body detoxify from the inside out. Follow along with these recipes for delicious drinks that can boost your immune system, provide key nutrients like fiber and potassium, and — most important — still taste great!

green-smoothie

A homemade green smoothie is packed with nutrients. (Photo via Flickr)

Cleansing Smoothie Recipes

Tropical Green Smoothie

This smoothie produces a beautiful green color and a hint of exotic flavor. Kiwi is a powerhouse for vitamin C, and pineapple and celery help keep you hydrated.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup pineapple, roughly chopped (can substitute frozen pineapple chunks)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup water (can sub coconut water for extra tropical flavor)

Recipe:

Combine all ingredients and blend. For a thicker smoothie, add ice and/or freeze pre-cut kiwi, banana, and pineapple in advance.

Antioxidant All-Star Smoothie

Berries are the star of the show in this smoothie, which blends up to a vibrant shade of purple. Oats add extra protein while berries boast antioxidants that can help stimulate the immune system and fight sickness.

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 cups frozen berry mix (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup purified water
  • 1/8 cup rolled oats

Recipe:

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Substitute almond milk for coconut milk if desired.

Cherry-Chocolate Detox Smoothie

It’s dark and rich, but it’s also good for you!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder (can substitute cocoa powder)
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 5 red endive leaves
  • 1/4 cup frozen dark red cherries
  • 8-10 oz. water
  • Stevia to taste

Recipe:

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Substitute water for almond milk if desired to create even more depth of flavor.

 

Healthy Dining Options in Metairie, Kenner, and River Ridge

Fall and winter bring a host of healthy-eating pitfalls — just ask Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. In addition to feeling tempted by decadent foods, people often don’t have extra time to cook thanks to busy schedules during the holiday season. Fortunately, if you live in the Metairie, Kenner, and River Ridge areas, there are plenty of fresh, healthy dining options to keep your hunger and your health in check. Unsure of what to order? No matter which restaurant you choose, nutritionists suggest swapping standard sides for a healthier pick like vegetables, choosing entrees that are steamed, trading white rice for brown rice, and skipping empty calories like bread or tortilla chips.

byblos-shrimp

Shrimp and feta from Byblos. (Photo via Facebook)

Healthy Dining Options

Mediterranean & International

Pan-Asian 

Seafood

Light Bites

Related Posts: Baton Rouge Restaurants, Kenner Restaurants, New Orleans Mardi Gras King Cake Guide, Metairie Restaurants

Easy, Homemade Halloween Treats

When asked the age-old question “trick or treat?” we definitely stand with team treat. Check out three easy recipes to help you get in the spooky spirit, from “poison” candy apples to a crowd-pleasing dessert dip. Bone appetit!

poison-candy-apple

Photo via Pinterest.

Halloween Dessert Recipes

Poison Candy Apples

Channel your inner Snow White with this sweet recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 12 small Granny Smith apples
  • 12 dowels or wooden candy apple sticks (available at craft stores)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. black gel paste food coloring
  • Note: you’ll also need a candy thermometer

Recipe: 

  • Wash and dry the apples thoroughly. Place them on a baking sheet and insert the dowels. Using a second baking sheet, line with buttered parchment paper and set aside.
  • Place a candy thermometer in a saucepan. Add sugar, 3/4 cup water, and corn syrup, and place over medium heat. Whisk sugar until it’s dissolved.
  • Let the temperature rise without stirring until the mixture reaches 310 degrees. Remove pan from heat, and carefully remove the thermometer.
  • Add the food coloring and swirl to mix the color completely.
  • Swirl each apple through the candy, allowing any excess to drip off. Place on buttered baking sheet.
  • Repeat with remaining apples.

    owl-sugar-cookie

    Photo via CountryLiving.com.

Owl Sugar Cookies

Simple and sweet! You can make basic sugar cookies using this recipe, or go the easy route and purchase a pre-made slice-and-bake option. 

Ingredients:

  • One package slice-and-bake sugar cookie dough (such as Pillsbury or Nestle)
  • Small package of sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds

Recipe: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or whatever temperature is stated on the back of your packaged dough)
  • Set all but one cookie round onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use the remaining unbaked cookie to make small balls that will become each owl’s eyes. Lightly press two balls onto the top of each cookie, then place a whole almond on its side in between the two eyes for the beak. Add a chocolate chip on top of each dough ball to create the pupil. Use six sunflower seeds (three on each side) to make the owl’s feet. Finally, overlap three sliced almonds on each side to create wings.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes until the edge of the cookies are lightly golden. Let cool for 5 minutes on the sheet, then transfer onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

    graveyard-dip

    Photo via BuzzFeed.

Graveyard Dip

Perfect for a crowd of hungry ghosts and goblins. 

Ingredients: 

For the dip —

  • Shallow, wide dish
  • 1 package room temperature cream cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup room temperature unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
  • Crushed Oreo cookies (enough to cover the top of the dish)

For decorating —

  • Milano cookies
  • Black decorating icing
  • Candy corn pumpkins
  • Gummy worms

For serving —

  • Graham crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Apple slices

Recipe: 

  • Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and milk. Beat on low speed until incorporated, then increase to high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer to desired serving dish and smooth with a spatula.
  • Spread the crushed Oreos over the top of the dip to form “dirt.” Use decorating icing to write tombstone messages on the Milano cookies, then stand them upright to create the tombstones. Scatter with candy corn pumpkins and gummy worms to decorate.
  • Serve with graham crackers, pretzels, and sliced apples.

 

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