As Minnesotans, summer always feels like a sweet reward after making it through another long, challenging winter. At CommonGround MN, our volunteers are busy all summer long with their crops, their animals, their families, and more, but they still manage to find the time to create some of the tastiest recipes to make summer even better.
We’ve gathered our favorite recipes from our volunteers for you and your family to enjoy all summer long whether you’re at the pool, on the farm, in your car on a cross-country road trip, or anywhere in between.
At CGMN, we’re big fans of appetizers, especially in the summer. These are perfect to whip up for any party or to eat as a passer-by snack on those super busy summer days.
Corn on the Cob Spread
3 tablespoons mayo Smoked paprika (to taste) Garlic powder (to taste) Feta or parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients. Spread over cooked corn on the cob. Enjoy!
Kidney Bean Coleslaw
16 oz of coleslaw 1 can kidney beans
Drain & rinse 1 can of kidney beans. Combine with 16 oz of store-bought deli coleslaw.
Or use the beans as above, combine with coleslaw salad mix and coleslaw dressing to taste.
Or in late August, get 1/2 cup of dried kidney beans out of the combine at Schlichting Farms. Soak them overnight then boil in salted water for about an hour. Or skip the soak and pressure cook them with salted water in an instapot for 20 minutes. Cut your own blend of red & white cabbage and carrots. Mix up 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds, plus salt and pepper to taste. Once that’s mixed well, toss in the cabbage mix & drained cooked beans.
Honey Ricotta Dip
1 cup ricotta 1-2 tablespoons warm honey Fresh thyme Salt & pepper to taste
Form 1 cup ricotta in a ball on a plate. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons warm honey. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, salt & pepper.
Or make your own ricotta – super simple! Warm 1/2 gallon of Whole milk to 200 degrees F (use a candy thermometer). Add 1/3 cup white vinegar (I promise it won’t taste like vinegar!). Stir the vinegar in a bit then let it stand for 10 minutes. Pour the whole clumpy mix into a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth and let it drain until it’s as dry as you’d like it. I usually just drain it for 15 minutes or so.
Either way, serve it with bagel chips or crostini. Make your own crostini by slicing french bread on the diagonal, set it on a sheet pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 8 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Summers are for salads, both the Midwest kind and “real” ones. Whether you prefer your salads with mayo, pudding, Jell-O, pretzels, or spinach, we’ve got you covered.
Kale & Quinoa Salad
For the Base 1/2 cup sliced almonds 1 cup red quinoa 10-24 frozen peach slices, chopped 1 packed cup chopped kale 2 green onions, finely chopped 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro 3 tablespoons chopped parsley 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled Vinaigrette 5 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 2 tablespoons canola oil 2 tablespoons olive oil
Strawberry Dessert Salad
1 package white chocolate pudding 2 pints strawberries, sliced 8 oz strawberry yogurt 8 oz whipped topping
Mix all together and refrigerate. Serve immediately.
Strawberry Raspberry Pretzel Salad
6 oz strawberry Jell-O 2 cups boiling water 2 ½ cups pretzels – measure before crushing ¼ cup sugar 8 tablespoons butter 8 oz cream cheese, softened ½ cup sugar 8 oz whipped topping 1 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine Jell-O with boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Crush pretzels in a Ziploc bag using a rolling pin. Melt butter and add ¼ cup sugar and stir. Mix in crushed pretzels. Transfer to 13×9 dish. Press the pretzel mixture evenly over the bottom of the dish and bake for 10 minutes. Cool to room temp. When pretzels have cooled, use an electric hand mixer to beat cream cheese and ½ cup sugar on medium/high speed until fluffy and white. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture over cooled pretzels, spreading to the edges of the dish to create a tight seal. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Stir the strawberries into the Jell-O. Pour and spread this mixture over the cream cheese layer and refrigerate until Jell-O is set for about 2-4 hours.
Honey Lime Fruit Salad
For the Base: Strawberries (1 pack, sliced) Raspberries (1 pack) Bananas (2-3, sliced) Blueberries (1 pack) Mandarin Oranges (Canned or fresh) Kiwis (3) Limes (2) For the Sauce: 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons lime juice (from limes) Lime zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine Jell-O with boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Set aside to whisk ingredients for the sauce together. Let sit for 30 minutes. Wash and cut up fruit to desired sizes and mix in a bowl together. Cover with sauce and toss to combine. Place in a serving dish just prior to serving and garnish with additional lime zest.
Sometimes, we wish somebody else was in charge of cooking dinner every night, which is why we’ve gathered a few of our quick and easy dinner recipes for you to test out this summer. Dinner can be healthy, delicious, and fast all at the same time! If parents can do it all, so can these recipes.
Sloppy Joe Zucchini Boats
1 ½ lb ground beef 8 oz tomato sauce ½ cup ketchup 3 tablespoons brown sugar 1 tablespoon mustard 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon white vinegar ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder 4 zucchini cut lengthwise 1 cup shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Use a spoon to scoop out some of the flesh of the zucchini, leaving a ½ inch thick shell all around the zucchini. Chop the scooped-out flesh and set it aside. Brown ground beef and add remaining ingredients including the zucchini flesh. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Top the hollowed zucchini with the meat mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Top with shredded cheese and broil for the last 5 minutes.
Gouda Burgers with Caramelized Onion
1 pound ground beef Gouda Cheese, sliced 1 yellow onion Garlic powder (to taste) Smoked paprika powder (to taste) Olive oil 1 tablespoon butter ½ teaspoon sugar Salt and pepper to taste 2 tablespoons mayo 2 tablespoons sour cream Hamburger bun of choice
Slice onion into strips. Slice enough for your liking on top of burgers. Mince a few of the strips. Set minced onions aside. Add a drizzle of olive oil, onion strips, and ½ teaspoon sugar to a pan or griddle at medium heat. Add a little water if needed to make the onions mushy and cook until water is evaporated. Combine ground beef, minced onions, paprika, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into patties. Cook patties until done. Add slices of gouda cheese to the top and allow to melt. Spread sauce on hamburger buns, add the patty to the bottom bun, top with caramelized onion, and top with the remaining bun.
For the sauce
Combine mayo, sour cream, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced 1 red onion, thinly sliced Sirloin steak, sliced into strips Fajita seasoning Olive oil Soft-shell tortillas 1 Lime 3 tablespoons sour cream Salt
In a large bowl, combine peppers, onions, steak strips, a large drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, and fajita seasoning. Cook the mixture on your griddle until the veggies are tender and the meat is done. Place meat and veggies into tortilla shells. Top with sour cream mixture and a dash of additional lime juice over the top. For the sauce, combine sour cream with a squeeze of lime juice to taste and salt to taste.
Garlic Steak Bites
1-2 lbs. of sirloin, tenderloin or ribeye steak, cut into chunks 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons minced garlic (the minced garlic in a jar works great!) Salt and pepper to taste Parsley
Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet on high heat. Season steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear steak chunks in a skillet – for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Add butter and garlic into the skillet, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Let’s be honest, there truly is nothing better than dessert in the summertime with fresh fruits. Here are a few of our favorite desserts to make in the warm season!
4 cups sliced fresh peaches ¾ cup butter 2 cups sugar 2 cups flour 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 ¼ cups milk
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Melt butter in a 9×13 pan while the oven preheats. Mix 1 ¼ cups sugar with ½ cup flour. Add peaches and toss. Let it sit so the sugar dissolves. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1 ½ cups flour and ¾ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Remove dish with melted butter from oven. Pour batter over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon peach mixture on top of batter. Again, do not stir. Bake for one hour until the cobbler is golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm.
Club Cracker Bars
Line a jellyroll pan with club crackers. Melt 1 cup of butter. Add 1 cup milk and 2 cups brown sugar and 2 cups crushed graham crackers. Boil together for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour over crackers immediately. Put another layer of crackers on top. Frost with melted chocolate bars or chocolate chips.
CRUST: 2 cups flour 2 sticks butter (1/2 lb.), melted 2 tablespoons sugar FILLING: 5 cups cut rhubarb 2 cups sugar 4 tablespoons flour 1 cup cream 6 egg yolks, beaten MERINGUE: 6 egg whites 12 tablespoons sugar
Mix crust ingredients. Press in a pan and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Chop 3 or 4 long stalks of rhubarb to total about 5 cups. Separate eggs. Combine cream, sugar, egg yolks, and flour. Fold in rhubarb. Pour filling on top of baked crust. Bake for 40 minutes in 350 degrees F oven. Make meringue with egg whites and sugar; put on filling and bake until brown. 10-15 minutes.
CRUST: 1 ½ cups crushed pretzels ½ cup sugar ½ cup melted butter FILLING: 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese 1 large cool whip ½ cup sugar TOPPING: Large box raspberry Jell-O 2 10-ounce bags of frozen Raspberries (can use strawberries as well)
Mix together and pat in 13x13 inch pan and bake 6 minutes at 375 degrees F. Cool and fold together and pour over cooled crust. Add 2 cups boiling water to Jell-O. Dissolve. Add frozen berries. Stir until thawed. Pour over cream cheese mixture. Chill.