Get your summer barbecue on with these easy meals!

Summertime is the time for getting outside, grilling and enjoying the best this season has to offer. We seem to be in a great spot right now, in my garden herbs are flourishing and some tomatoes are ripening beautifully. What I can’t get at home, the markets are overflowing with delicious and fresh tasting vegetables that make summer suppers a delight to cook up and serve. Whether you hit a roadside stand, market or grocery store you will happily create tasty easy dinners this time of year. Truly salads and simple flavours reign supreme to showcase what summer has to offer. And nothing needs to take too long. Enjoying these fresh flavours and colours is just one of the reasons I love this time of year. As each week passes you can see the bounty grow and the offerings just get tastier. Whether its for a family meal or entertaining guests, show them what you got and keep it simple. These recipes where put together quickly so we could enjoy them sitting in the backyard listening to the birds chirping and kids playing all around the neighbourhood. If only summers like this could last a lifetime. I guess we can conjure up those memories with the foods we serve and enjoy. So get to the barbecue and check the garden and start making some more food memories this summer! 

Ginger Soy Pork Tenderloin

Lean pork tenderloin is easy to barbecue and enjoy for summer entertaining. Fresh ginger and garlic make up this super easy marinade that enhances the pork and gives it a dark golden crust.

2 tbsp (30 mL) sodium reduced soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil
2 tsp (10 mL) minced fresh ginger or 1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb/454 g)
1 small head Boston lettuce 
1 carrot, shredded
Quarter of an English cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh cilantro or small basil leaves
Hot sauce (optional)
Rice vinegar (optional)

In large resealable bag, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Add pork tenderloin and seal bag. Move around to coat pork and let stand for 10 minutes or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Place pork tenderloin on greased grill over medium heat, close lid and grill, turning twice for about 18 minutes or until thermometer inserted in centre reaches 155 F (68 C) or hint of pink remains inside. Remove to cutting board.

Separate head of lettuce into leaves; set aside. Slice tenderloin thinly and place in lettuce cups. Top with carrot, cucumber and herbs. Drizzle with hot sauce or vinegar, if using.

Makes 4 servings.

Tomato Bocconcini Salad

With fresh ingredients you can’t go wrong to serve up a tasty dinner or simple lunch on the deck. My tomatoes seem to be ripening so well each day that I want to add them to everything! You can use about 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) of grape tomatoes for regular tomatoes for this salad if your garden is overflowing.

1 tub (200 g) bocconcini (about 10), halved
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 cup (250 mL) homemade or storebought croutons or stale or toasted bread cubes
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil and mint
Salt and pepper to taste 
3 cups (750 mL) chopped romaine lettuce or mixed greens

In a large bowl, combine bocconcini and tomatoes. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Stir in croutons, herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the romaine among 2 plates (for a lunch portion) 4 plates for an appetizer or side dish portion. Spoon tomato mixture on top and spoon vinegar mixture all over top of salad to serve.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Tip: If using storebought croutons look for larger size cubes to stay crunchy longer. If you are a balsamic vinegar fan and it’s a high quality aged vinegar you can increase the balsamic to 2 tbsp (30 mL). 

Baby Potato and Bacon Salad

The combination of potato and bacon is a family favourite around here. With garden fresh ingredients to give it a little snap and fresh bite, this easy salad is great served up with any grilled meat. 

1 lb (454 g) mini/baby new potatoes
2 tbsp (30 mL) each light sour cream and light mayonnaise
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh herbs such as dill, basil and parsley
4 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 dill pickle, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Let stand for 5 minutes and drain. Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, Dijon and herbs. Stir in bacon and pickle.

Cut potatoes in half and add to sour cream mixture. Stir to coat evenly and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 3 cups (750 mL) or 3 to 4 servings.

Tip: For a zip to the dressing whisk in 1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar if desired.


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