One of the best aspects of summer is eating al fresco, or outdoors. Even in the city, eating outside is a favorite warm-weather ritual for many people. When you're planning on outdoor dining, particularly if you're going picnic-style, it is important to cook food that can stand up to a little heat and humidity. Keep in mind that ANY recipe with perishable ingredients should never be kept out of refrigeration for more than two hours before you plan on serving it. If possible, store in a cool place out of direct sunlight to ensure the food doesn’t spoil. With that in mind, we’ve put together seven great dishes to make sure your next al fresco experience is the best one yet!
This versatile breakfast recipe can be adjusted to add whatever fantastic fruit is in season! I recommend using some of summer’s greatest gifts: pitted cherries, blackberries and blueberries. Sarah bakes these with applesauce, giving it an incredibly moist texture without the fat from butters and oil, and with less sugar. If you’re not an apple fan, don’t worry- the taste of applesauce will not be a noticeable factor in the final product. These healthy muffins are great to bring along on a summertime hike or to just eat for an early morning meal before the day heats-up!
While traditional pesto calls for pine nuts, Sarah’s version of this classic Italian sauce uses pistachios. Pistachios, once combined with basil, will make a brilliant bright green color. Pesto is also one of my favorite ways to use fresh basil, and summertime means an abundance of this easy-to-grow and fragrant herb. If you haven’t planted any in your apartment’s windowsill yet, this recipe will be sure to change that!
Give your grill a break from the usual hot dogs and hamburgers. It’s time to grill pizza! The result will be a caramelized but chewy crust. The best part of this recipe is that it won’t turn your kitchen into a furnace- the pizza is grilled outside, keeping the inside of your house nice and cool. Sarah has made a fantastically tangy no-cook tomato sauce that doesn’t turn your pizza into a soggy mess. Her easy-to-make sauce will be a guaranteed staple after one bite of this crispy, grilled wonder. This is not your average pizza!
This recipe requires very few ingredients, and can be put together fairly quickly. These cheesy crisps can be fashioned into the shape of a bowl- great for summer salads! They can also be made into chips, which taste great when paired with fresh pico de gallo. Additionally, an edible bowl is sure to be an interesting talking point among your guests; and might even convince the kids to finish their vegetables!
No-bake desserts are the unsung heroes of summer parties. A hot kitchen is an instant summer bummer, and will be sure to put you out of the partying mood quicker than you can say, “air conditioner.” Sarah’s oven-less vegan frozen cheesecake pops will stand up to the heat better than most other desserts. She uses a summer favorite, strawberries, and combines them with a cashew-coconut base. The result is a wonderfully creamy and rich (frozen!) cheesecake pop. Top with chocolate for an instant cool crowd-pleaser!
7. BONUS: Flower Pot Rice Krispies Treats
A tried-and-true fan favorite among kids! If your child has a summer or spring birthday, this is a fun alternative to traditional cakes. It can even be given out as a party favor at the end of the night! The “flowers” are made with lollipops and candy, while the “soil” is homemade Rice Krispy Treats. It’s also a great gluten-free option that even the most serious of adults can appreciate. This whimsical treat will definitely satisfy your summer sweet tooth!
That finishes up CraftyBaking.com’s al fresco recipe recommendations. We hope that your party guests enjoy these delicious and seasonal dishes. Let us know which one you liked best and why!