Seasonal Sundays: Summer Easy

Grab your calendar because hooray, there's summer free time ahead thanks to this week's "Summer Easy" recipe collection, where the motto is Less Cookin' & More Livin', complete with a Billie Holiday theme song. I hope you'll find one or two destined as "keepers" in your own summer-recipe repertoire.

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Hey, all. Thank you for following Kitchen Parade, for checking in on these Sunday recipe collections. It means the world to be welcomed into your InBox and RSS readers and most of all, your kitchens. So thank you, thank you. And if you like this week's recipes, perhaps you'll share this newsletter with a friend or social circle? If you forward this message, others may subscribe for free right here. Thank you!

Today is Memorial Day here in the United States today, the day we stop to solemnly remember those whose lives were cut short fighting this country's battles.

When I was a girl, each year my small town gathered in the K-12 school gymnasium to hear the somber intonation of familiar family names, then all men, the ones of the sons and husbands and brothers, fathers and grandfathers, grandsons and nephews and friends who crossed oceans to defend democracy against the flog of fascism in foreign forests and wayward waters, the same names chiseled into granite at the cemetery a dirgeful march away.

I wonder about the Memorial Day experience in big towns and giant cities, where perhaps one name is known, where the other names are those of strangers', even if those assembled to hear the names are united by the heavy toll of shared loss, the death and devastation of war.

I wonder about lives cut short, family trees with missing limbs, wives unmet, children unborn, work unfinished, prayers unanswered.

And I wonder what it will take for this country to again be worthy of their sacrifice.

I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.

PS I'm taking a short break, at least one Sunday, possibly two. But pinky promise, then I'll be back with more summer recipes.

In Praise Of ...

  • ... The National Memorial Day Concert on PBS Sunday night, just stunning, now available for streaming on the PBS app.

  • ... Blue Bell takes Missouri! Blue Bell Ice Cream is "the" ice cream of Texas and oh, I've missed it since leaving the Lonestar State some 31 (yikes) years ago now. But this year, our local St. Louis grocery chain Schnucks is introducing Blue Bell to the market. A half gallon is just $5 (probably an intro price) so stock up! I don't usually go for the "fluffy" flavors but we made "school's out" root beer floats for the twin grandsons this week and I was thrilled to taste a vanilla ice cream and root beer sherbet mix. So good! Black walnut? Heaven. Gooey butter? It will be tried, what St. Louisan can not?

  • ... a laugh-out-loud moment when a couple of ladies outside a shoe store looked into the air, surprised to see a couple of cicadas, their first, they said ... when ack, our back yard is thick-thick-thick, the dog is hoovering them up as fast as he can (oh, the gas ...) and we had to turn up the pool and need to empty the skimmer two or three times a day, just to keep up ... it just goes to show, in a real buggy way, how we can be neighbors and still have very different experiences ...

The Words of Wise Women

The country needs calm, thoughtful and assertive voices amid the chaos inflicted by a minority hellbent on taking/retaining generational power by strangling democratic principles and equal rights. None of us have to personally change the world. We just have to do our part. Pick one thing for the top of your To Do List this week.

Every so often, I like to share my favorite sources of information and activism. Hmmm. I just this minute realized that all my favorites are ... women.

  • My #1 pick will always be the brilliant Heather Cox Richardson who has been writing Letters from an American nearly every single day since September 2019. For me, "Heather" (as we refer to her in this house) is a must-read. She cuts through the day's news and presents an interpretation in a calm, history-grounded voice, with an eye/ear for what will matter to historians in future. Facebook people, she also does twice-weekly talks/lectures: she's whip-smart, speaks in plain language without drama. Yes, I'm a big fan.

  • Joyce Vance writes another Substack newsletter called Civil Discourse. She's a law professor, a 25-year veteran of the Department of Justice, a former U.S. Attorney, a legal analyst for MSNBC and NBC – also a knitter and chicken keeper! The chicks and chicken show up every so often. I have increasing appreciation for her intellect and encouragement. "We're in this together," she signs off.

  • Jessica Craven's Chop Wood, Carry Water comes 5x a week with encouragement (so important!) plus a meaty list of very specific actions individuals can make, from 2 minutes to maybe an hour. But for anyone who's feeling discouraged, her Sunday "good news" newsletter is a must-read. Prepare to feel re-inspired!

  • Jess Piper is my latest newsletter crush, she calls herself the "Dirt Road Democrat" and is an activist who ran for office (and lost) in Deep Red Missouri. She's a great writer and storyteller and while The View from Rural Missouri covers Missouri, well, its threads are woven into the fabric of this country.

  • Podcast people, you'll appreciate the rich language and extemporary eloquence in Dahlia Lithwick's podcast covering the Supreme Court called Amicus. Isn't that such a great name?! (Amicus is an individual or organization that is not a party to an action but who volunteers or is court-invited to advise on a matter before the court.)

Swim Party Food ... A Call for Ideas

This summer, we'll be "invaded" by a bunch of family moms and their Littles ages 18 months to eight, a weekly affair to gather cousins and second cousins and their kids from three branches of the family for a couple of hours of swim and cousin time.

For one reason/another, we've set the start time as 3pm. I figured people would stay for a couple of hours, then head for home. I planned to put out drinks, a platter of fruit and a cooler of my signature popsicles.

But ... as I realized after talking this through with one of the moms ... this could well mean moms heading for home with wet, hangry kids and ... how many drive-through stops?

So I'm looking for food ideas that ...

  • ... will be familiar/anticipated by the kids
  • ... something they'll likely eat
  • ... offers some protein, not sugary stuff or empty calories
  • ... can be repeated every week, no decision-making for me
  • ... may be "very" easily made << or >> purchased at Sam's Club or similar to serve/or heat up to serve
  • ... can easily adjust up/down depending on how many people come each week
  • ... any other things I should be considering?

I'd love your ideas! (And yes, readers have been so helpful when I've asked for similar hive-mind ideas recently, thank you!) Comment on this post or send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs). Thanks in advance!

THE SEASONAL SEVEN: Easy Summer Recipes

Who's primed for summer? Plotting getaways to beachy or cooler climes? already lusting for ripe peaches and thick-tomato sandwiches?

But that's the thing about seasons, right? My summer isn't your summer and yours isn't mine.

Last week, I was kinda shocked (and impressed! and envious!) when my sister reported that their backyard peach tree is bent over with really-really-really good peaches. (Gift Tip! For years, her older son has gifted fruit trees for birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc. My sister and her husband now have a veritable backyard orchard!)

But here in Missouri, we won't see local peaches until maybe July 4th but they last into early September ...

The one thing I believe we share in common is that summer means a little extra ... let's call it simplicity.

Last night, my husband threw some fish and some corn and carrots on the grill, adding a little smoke. No recipe, no fuss, no real prep.

It's why way back in 2009, I started a series of "recipes" that I still call "Summer Easy". There's even a motto, Less Cookin'. More Livin' and a theme song, Billie Holiday's Summertime.

And I say "recipes" in quotes because these food ideas so simple, once you have the suggestion, you need little more detail because they're both memorable and easy to memorize.

Tis the Season.

Cold-Brewed Coffee ♥, for smooth, low-acidity coffee, just brew coffee grounds in water overnight. It's a summer saver!

Everything Bagel Breakfast Salad, another easy healthy summer breakfast ♥ A Veggie Venture. High Protein. Low Carb. Easy Weekday Breakfast. Very Weight Watchers Friendly. Gluten Free.

Smoked Salmon Salad ♥, a simple cold salad, smoked salmon with cucumbers and red peppers, takes just a few minutes to assemble.

Grilled Balsamic Chicken ♥, moist & flavorful, starts in oven, finished on the grill. A real crowd pleaser, serve hot, warm or chilled.

Greek Chicken Dagwood Sandwiches ♥, easy summer sandwiches with rotisserie chicken, a cucumber and feta tzatziki, roasted pepper, more feta, fresh arugula, summer tomato.

Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad ♥, simple in name but much more than the sum of its parts, this is a classic summer salad.

Grape Salad with Almonds & Cilantro ♥, an unusual fruit salad (grapes, mango, apples, etc), savory and sweet at the same time.

Easy Summer Recipes ♥, a collection of easy-to-remember and memorable recipes especially for summer. Less cookin'. More livin'. It's the summer's motto!

May: Reader Favorites

Tourlou Tourlou (Greek Baked Vegetables) ♥, a vegan rainbow of vegetables slow-cooked in the oven. Great for parties, serve hot or at room temperature.

May: Lost Recipes

Lemon Chive Chicken Salad ♥, chicken breasts gently poached in lemon water, then mixed into chicken salad, light and summery.

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

A collection of recipes and ideas especially for Father's Day ♥
  • THE COLLECTION Father's Day Recipes Hand-picked recipes destined to put smiles on dad's faces everywhere!
  • SO MANY HOLIDAYS TO CELEBRATE! Recipes by Holiday All organized for easy browsing and exploration.

A collection of recipes especially for Juneteenth ♥
  • THE COLLECTION Juneteenth Explore food traditions for America's new national holiday on June 19th.
  • A PERSONAL ESSAY, RECIPES & MENU Finding Juneteenth An evening of serendipity in Louisville.
  • SO MANY CELEBRATIONS! Recipes by Holiday All organized for easy browsing and exploration.

A collection of recipes for Midsummer celebrations ♥
  • THE COLLECTION Midsummer An especially personal collection of recipes, many from the time I lived in Finland.
  • SO MANY HOLIDAYS TO CELEBRATE! Recipes by Holiday All organized for easy browsing and exploration.

Looking Back ...

Soups & Salads Especially for ... June

Tired of the same-old salads? Check out Seasonal Soups & Salads for June, a monthly feature ♥ A Veggie Venture

Finnish Summer Soup aka Kesäkeitto ♥, perfect new summer vegetables suspended in a milky broth, make it all summer long.

Finnish Summer Potato Salad, ♥, just new potatoes and a simple vinaigrette. No Mayo. Vegan. Paleo. Easy. Nordic.

Good to Know!

Favorite Summer Salad recipes ♥, a huge super-organized collection of healthy salads for quick lunches, salad suppers, potlucks and parties.

Silly (But Fun?!) Food Holidays

June 1 - National Olive Day

Easy-Easy Broiled Salmon with Olive Salad, another Quick Supper ♥ Just three ingredients, including Trader Joe's Cracked Olive Salad.

June 1 - National Pineapple Day (first Sat in June)

How to Sweeten Lemonade with Fruit Not Sugar, summer experiments with ♥ using pineapple, watermelon and more.

June 2 - National Frozen Yogurt Day

Homemade Frozen Yogurt with Blackberry Sauce ♥, a real summer treat, so simple, so fresh. Just five ingredients. High Protein. Gluten Free. Make it with non-fat Greek yogurt for a Weight Watchers Friendly zero-point dessert.

June 2 - National Rotisserie Chicken Day

Southwestern Chicken Taco Salad Plates, another Quick Supper ♥ No cooking, just assembly. Summery and adaptable.

June 3 - National Egg Day

Farmers Market Quiche with Crispy Potato Crust, another veggie-packed quiche ♥

June 4 - National Cheese Day

Easy-Easy Triscuit with Cheddar & Basil ♥ A quick last-minute appetizer.

June 7 - National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

Chocolate Malt Ice Cream ♥ Old-time fountain flavor made at home.

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from this week.

Fast Roast Chicken ♥, such a simple way to roast a chicken, fast, yielding a crispy salty skin and perfectly roasted meat.
  • THIS WEEK I'm testing a new version of one of my signature recipes and oh! I think you'll love the update. But in the mean time, every time I roast a chicken, I wonder why I don't do it more often. Fast Roast Chicken is my new "I don't wanna cook but I'm gonna anyway" recipe. So good!
  • THE RECIPE Fast Roast Chicken My signature recipe, just three ingredients and an hour.
Easy-Easy Artichoke & Tomato Salad, another quick, versatile & healthy salad ♥
  • THIS WEEK See that chicken up there? Well, for five nights in a row, the leftovers were destined for a big dinner salad. But life totally intervened, we ate out said five nights in a row, the chicken had to be tossed (dang, I hate that ...) and by yesterday, I was itching to be back in the kitchen. I thawed some fish, made a couple of salads and voila, dinner at home, finally. For this salad, I used fresh corn for the third vegetable and tossed it all with fresh dill and a dill version of our "house" dressing.
  • THE RECIPE Easy-Easy Artichoke & Tomato Salad Make it quick, make it your own. (PIN This)

My Everyday Creamy Herb Salad Dressing, another Master Recipe ♥, quick, easy meal prep. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free.
  • THIS WEEK This is such a quick addition to the fridge, I especially love a batch with lots of fresh dill, it just tastes extra-summery.
  • THE RECIPE My Everyday Creamy Herb Salad Dressing Never the same twice.

The Best No-Recipe Recipe I Made This Week

Cabbage (sliced thin) + Carrot (grated) + Caraway Seed + Fresh Dill + that dressing, above = a lively, no-thinking slaw that was an excellent foil for ribs.

Something to Read

For this, the American Memorial Day weekend, let me recommend two books, one I flewwwwww through, one a book of "letters home" from a career-Marine who fought his first battles on Okinawa at age 17 (dear god), my husband's cousin, collected and published by his daughter.

The first is Kristin Hannah's latest novel, The Women. There are soooo many WWII-era works of historical fiction but The Women is a story of the Vietnam War. Maybe, just maybe, it takes a generation or two to take real stock in fiction?

Hannah's book "take you there". It's been three years since I read The Four Winds (affiliate link) and I swear, I still feel grit in my teeth.

The Women is another example of fiction that allows time travel. Although it started off a little slow (and frankly, trite), I am very glad to have stuck with it. The story line follows a young woman who joins the Army as a nurse, serves two tours, then returns "home". No spoilers but there's much to absorb and consider here.

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

  • Any advice for Seasonal Sundays?
  • Just one thing that would make it more useful for you?
  • Anything else? Chime in, chat away.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.