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Super Easy Summer Snacks

For hot days at home

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As everyone returns from school, whether that’s around the corner or across the country, kids (and others) will be home. In our houses. And hungry. 

Which means we should probably polish up our snack game. I’m betting most of us would rather not be confronted with the “there’s nothing in this house to eat” complaints. Let’s prepare.

Here are a few simple ideas that should keep everyone happy while sticking to our summer rule to give the stove some much-needed alone time. Cool and collected are we!

Fresh Pico de Gallo

This fresh Pico de Gallo is simple to throw together. Serve it with chips or alongside eggs, in tacos, or in salads.

Fresh Pico de Gallo

From “Back Porch Table”

This was sort of a happy accident. I forgot to buy pico the day we were having turkey taco salads for dinner. Thankfully, we had tomatoes, an onion, cilantro, a jalapeño, and limes. Just like that, everything got chopped up and thrown into a bowl, and we had the best, freshest-tasting pico ever. 

Serve this with chips by the grill or the pool. It’s cool and super-fresh, a foil for the Houston heat.

2 large tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced
¼ large yellow onion, diced
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño, diced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Juice of 1 lime

Stir all the ingredients together in a glass bowl and serve with chips. Pico de Gallo is also great with eggs, in tacos, and in salads.

Radishes with Herbed Butter and Sea Salt

Peppery radishes take well to a light swath of mild butter – and even better, a swath of butter flavored with a just-enough pinch of fresh herbs.

Radishes with Herbed Butter and Sea Salt

From “Back Porch Table”

Radishes with butter is very French (and doesn’t anything French just sound beautifully undone and opulent all at once?). Dorie Greenspan, the prolific food writer and recipe developer who lives part-time in Paris, says serving radishes with butter is “a little trick the French play to bring foods into balance, and it works.” Peppery radishes take well to a light swath of mild butter – and even better, a swath of butter flavored with a just-enough pinch of fresh herbs. I like chives and tarragon, and a little bit of lemon zest, but you might prefer parsley and dill. Or you might want to throw all the herbs in. 

1 bunch fresh radishes, stems attached, roots cut off
4 ounces high-quality, unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon minced fresh chives
½ teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon kosher salt
A few tablespoons sea salt, for serving

Slice a few of the radishes in half, leaving some whole with stems attached. Place them all on a serving tray. 

In a small bowl, use a fork to stir the butter, chives, tarragon, lemon zest, and ½ teaspoon salt together. Mound the herbed butter on the serving tray. Place the sea salt in a small bowl and serve alongside the radishes and butter.

Cherry Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

It’s always a good time for a beautiful, tangy-sweet bruschetta. This appetizer, or snack, or light lunch or supper accompanied by a salad is a wonderful blend of creamy-crunchy-juicy.

Cherry Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

From “Back Porch Table”

This appetizer, or snack, or light lunch or supper accompanied by a salad is a wonderful blend of creamy-crunchy-juicy. Creamy from the goat cheese. Crunchy from the toasted pistachios. Juicy from the ripe red cherries. You’ve also got tanginess from the cheese (sub in ricotta here if you are not a goat cheese fan), herbiness from the thyme (the secret ingredient), and sticky sweetness from the honey you will stir together with the pistachios. 

16 thin baguette slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup toasted, chopped pistachios
1 ½ tablespoons honey, plus extra for drizzling
1 cup cherries, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
8 ounces goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush them with the olive oil, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake the baguette slices for 10 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden.In a small bowl, stir together the pistachios and honey. In another small bowl, stir together the cherries and thyme. 

Spread the goat cheese evenly among the baguette slices. Season again with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Top with the cherry and thyme mixture, then the pistachio and honey mixture. Drizzle extra honey over the top.

Strawberries dipped in sour cream and rolled in brown sugar

Strawberries dipped in sour cream and rolled in brown sugar.

Strawberries Dipped in Sour Cream and Brown Sugar

One of the best cooks we know sent us this idea, and it couldn’t be easier or more delicious. Tina Pyne is the queen of beautiful entertaining – use her “recipe” for an afternoon treat or an elegant end to a dinner party.

strawberries, washed and dried
sour cream
brown sugar

Dip the strawberries in sour cream, then roll them in brown sugar.

high-protein dessert

A high-protein dessert or breakfast made with cottage cheese, yogurt, berries, and graham cracker crumbs.

Protein Parfait

Claudia Oelman says, “My husband has a sweet tooth but is trying to keep his figure, so I’ve been on the hunt for low-fat, low-sugar desserts. I found a great one that may also be a good breakfast option. It’s high in protein, low in fat, and yummy!”

1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 to 4 teaspoons raw sugar or honey
4 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
1 cup blueberries and raspberries
Zest of 1 lemon

Blend the yogurt, cottage cheese, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar or honey in a blender until smooth. Taste, adding more sugar or honey if you like.

Divide the mixture between 4 ramekins and top with the graham cracker crumbs, berries, and lemon zest.

Frozen Lemonade Pie

This easy-to-make pie recipe is refreshing, summery, and absolutely delicious. 

Frozen Lemonade Pie

From “Back Porch Table”

Remember those frozen lemonade cups with the tiny spoons? They were a big deal for my girls when they were big enough to order their own at the pool and eat them on the lounge chairs in between races down the slide and games of Marco Polo. Well, as yummy as those little cups of lemony ice were, this Frozen Lemonade Pie is exponentially better. Super creamy, super cold, and bracingly lemony. You will want this pie in your freezer all summer.

Because it takes 10 minutes, I made the graham cracker crust, and I think it’s worth the little bit of extra effort. It’s a little thicker, a little butterier than the store-bought version. But if you want to make a pie that is truly effortless, just pick up a Keebler crust at the grocery. 

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 14-ounce can condensed milk
1 8-ounce tub Cool Whip, frozen
1 12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
8-inch graham cracker pie crust (store-bought or homemade, recipe below)

In a large bowl or stand mixer using the whisk, beat the cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth. Beat in the Cool Whip and frozen lemonade until smooth. Pour into the pie crust and freeze for at least 8 hours. You may have a little extra filling, which you can pour into ramekins and freeze for a treat on another day.

Graham Cracker Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Press the crust evenly into the bottom and up the sides of an 8-inch pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes, and allow to cool before filling.

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