Not sure about you but my motivation for cooking complex, intricate, new recipes goes way down in the summer. I just want to get out there and enjoy the sunshine! So, I end up relying on very easy but still delicious meals to minimize kitchen time and maximize beach time. Cue in the salads, BBQ’s and quick pasta dishes!
On my last SIDEWALK Supper Project, I made my ultimate go-to summer menu, grilled veggies and chicken panini with a goat cheese and strawberry salad. I’ve had a few inquiries about it so I decided to share my recipes.
The one thing you need to know about paninis is that really you don’t need a recipe. Sure, there are some great ingredients you can use (you can never go wrong with adding cheese that will melt into beautiful gooeyness once you grill it) but as long as you have a good loaf of bread as your base, it really comes down to personal taste. Coincidentally, it’s the same with salad. Must be why they are my go to in the summer. It’s so easy to take a quick peek at what is in your fridge and then just add a couple extra yummy ingredients to finish it off.
Another summer trick I have up my sleeve – keep frozen cookie dough in your freezer. You never know when you’ll feel like fresh cookies for an ice cream sandwich. Yum! That was exactly the case when I made this meal and I’m sure glad I had a batch of my favourite, peanut butter and chocolate chip!
Grilled Veggies and Chicken Panini
This is basically what i had in my fridge and pantry that day. Bought a nice sourdough loaf and voila!
- Loaf of sourdough bread
- Homemade pesto (I used this recipe)
- Roasted chicken strips
- Veggies to grill (I had a red pepper, zucchini and mushroom in my fridge that day)
- Fresh goat cheese
- 1tbsp of lemon juice
- Fresh herbs (I used rosemary, thyme and oregano from my herb garden)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- Cut the veggies in thin slices and place in a bowl. Add lemon juice, 1 tbsp of olive oil, fresh herbs and salt and pepper and mix well.
- Grill right on the Panini press for about 5 minutes on each side. If you do not have a Panini press, you can pan-fry the veggies for similar results.
- Place slices of your sourdough on a flat surface (I usually use a large cutting board) and spread evenly the pesto on each slices. Add the grilled veggies, chicken strips and goat cheese on half of the slices. Place the other slices on top to form your sandwich.
- Drizzle oil on both outer sides of your Panini and place on hot Panini press. Again, if you do not have a Panini press, you can pan-fry for similar results.
- Leave in the press until golden brown (about 5 minutes) and serve hot.
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad
- Spring mix of greens
- Goat cheese
- ½ cup of pecans
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of water
- Balsamic vinegar dressing
- Place pecans in a bowl with sugar and water. Mix well and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Mix again until well coated and sugar has completely melted. Leave aside to cool for the best and easiest candied-pecans!
- Thinly slice the strawberries.
- Mix the greens, the strawberries and the dressing together. Sprinkle Goat cheese and the candied pecans on top.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 3 dozens
- 1 ½ cups of crunchy peanut butter
- ½ cup of softened butter
- ¾ cup of granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup of brown packed sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ tsp of vanilla41 cup of quick-cooking oats
- ¾ cup of flour
- ½ tsp of baking soda
- 4 squares of baking semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- Heat oven to 350°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat peanut butter and butter in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Gently blend in eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, mix the oats, flour and baking soda. Add to the peanut butter mixture one third at a time. Beat until blended each time. Incorporate chocolate.
- Drop tablespoons of dough onto baking sheet 1-2 inch apart.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until centres are set and the edges turn golden brown.