Now that we are past Memorial Day weekend, it is (un)officially summertime -- time for swimming, playing outside, cooking delicious meals and treats, and mixing up drinks.
We have 25 dishes and drinks for you to make all summer long. Some are classic and some will help expand your palate. Make something interesting and delicious all summer long.
25. Grilled Pizzas: Take your pizzas outside this summer and grill flatbread dough or regular pizza dough with olive oil over direct heat, then finish with any toppings for a delicious meal any night of the week.
24. Sun Tea: Fill a large glass jug with water, place the appropriate ratio of tea bags to water in the jug and let the sun do the work. The hotter the sun, the faster the tea steeps. Sweeten with a little sugar and enjoy a glass of tea with a smooth, mellow finish.
23. Grilled Caesar Salad: Who says salad has to be boring? Grill your Romaine lettuce leaves and toss with your favorite Caesar salad dressing and croutons -- maybe you can grill those, too.
22. Southern Banana Pudding Pies: You can't go wrong with a little banana pudding for dessert. Make these miniature banana pudding pies with marshmallows, meringue or whipped cream and, of course, Nilla wafers for a treat you can't resist.
21. Old-Fashioned Lemonade: Sugar, water and lemon juice -- it doesn't get any simpler than that. Travel back to your childhood by making a pitcher of sweet and tart old-fashioned lemonade.
20. Hand Churned Ice Cream: Get the kids involved in this process and whip up your own ice cream. Of course, you will need an ice cream maker or churner, but when the whole family helps out, it's so much fun and tastes just as good and sometimes better than store-bought ice cream.
19. Homemade Popsicles: All you need are Popsicle molds and fresh fruit, juice and corn syrup or simple syrup. Blend it all together and fold in fresh fruit, then place the mixture into the molds, freeze and enjoy.
18. Homemade Cherry Limeade: While Sonic's Cherry Limeades are delicious, it's always fun to re-create them at home. Mix together lemon-lime soda, lime juice, sugar and maraschino cherries with the juice and limes for a sweet-tart and refreshing treat.
17. Crab Cake Sliders: Food Network Magazine offers this recipe idea in its latest issue. Whip up your favorite crab cake recipe, then assemble a crab cake on miniature potato buns for a sweet addition and serve with bacon, lemon mayonnaise, red onion, tomatoes and lettuce.
16. Cast-Iron Cobblers: Don't just bake a cobbler this summer, place the cobbler batter into a cast-iron skillet, top with any berries or other fruit, finish with sugar and then bake in the oven. Top with vanilla ice cream, of course.
15. Crawfish Boil: Gather your friends and family for a fun crawfish boil this summer complete with potatoes, corn and smoked sausage.
14. Mint Juleps: Whip together this Kentucky Derby classic for a cool and refreshing drink on a hot summer day. All you need is bourbon or whiskey, fresh mint, water, granulated sugar and ice.
13. Grilled Peaches: Slice fresh peaches in half, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and place on the grill. Serve over a fresh salad with chicken for a meal, or enjoy a peach half with ice cream for dessert.
12. Freshwater Shrimp: Upgrade your plain shrimp for freshwater shrimp, or prawns, with thicker shells and a lobster taste. These suckers hold up better on the grill and are finger-licking good.
11. Pulled Pork Sandwiches: My favorite summertime sandwich is a pulled pork sandwich hands down. Slow cook pulled pork all day long and serve with a North Carolina-style vinegar barbecue sauce. It's the perfect complement to tender, savory pulled pork.
10. Pickled Cucumber Salad: Slice cucumbers and a sweet onion, then toss with mayonnaise, sugar and apple cider vinegar for a cool, refreshing side dish. Add fresh dill for a nice complementary herb.
9. Strawberry Shortcake: Serve up this classic dessert with fresh strawberries, sweet biscuits, angel food cake or pound cake and homemade whipped cream.
8. Chili Dogs: It's an American classic, and it's always a crowd favorite. Pile on chili with shredded cheese and chopped onions over a grilled hot dog for a tummy-satisfying meal.
7. Summer Fruit Sangria: Mix together cold white wine with ice, fresh lemon juice, mint, orange liqueur and fresh summer fruit like pineapple, cantaloupe and mangoes. You can easily incorporate summer flavors into this traditional drink.
6. Homemade Margaritas: What's better than a margarita? Homemade margaritas. Make a fresh and delicious margarita mix with tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and a splash of orange liqueur poured into a glass with a salted rim.
5. Grilled Bratwurst: My dad always loves having bratwursts during the summertime. Grill several brats and serve with baked beans, potato salad and watermelon for a perfect summertime meal.
4. Grilled Corn on the Cob: Upgrade this classic summer side dish by grilling the corn on the cob in the husks for a smoky twist.
3. Fried Green Tomatoes: Coat sliced green tomatoes in a bread-crumb or Panko bread-crumb batter, then fry to perfection. Top with fresh lump crabmeat for a fancier take on this classic.
2. S'mores: It isn't summer if you don't make s'mores by the fire. Spice things up by adding creamy peanut butter to the graham crackers, or make your own graham crackers instead of store-bought ones.
1. Miniature Fruit Pies: Let everyone have his or her favorite pie with miniature fruit pies. Make a simple crust and fill each shell with any fruit -- cherry, strawberry, apple, blackberry or blueberry. Top with vanilla ice cream for the perfect finishing touch to this sweet treat.
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