Summer is heating up, and fresh produce, flame-kissed meat, and a creamy, cool dessert are on the menu. Before the season is over, slice up a fresh melon, visit a farmer’s market, or cook some green beans with new potatoes. We purchased a perfectly ripened watermelon recently and, although it was intended for dessert, ended up consuming the whole thing before the main course even hit the table. You probably have a favorite summer food, too. Maybe tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, or corn. If for some reason you aren’t using your outdoor grill, now is a good time to fire it up. If you have a gas grill, use a paper clip or toothpick to clean out the burner holes. If you have a charcoal grill, make sure you clean the grill by removing all of the old ash that’s accumulated in the bottom of it. And because it is summer, look for recipes that take a minimum amount of time and effort.

Grilled Cheeseburger

• 1 ½-2 lbs. ground chuck

• 1 cup Colby-Jack cheese, shredded

• 1/3 cup cooked and finely crumbled bacon

• ½ tsp. onion powder

• ¼ tsp. garlic powder

• 1 TBSP. Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and form into about 5-8 burgers. Make sure your grill surface is oiled so that the burgers don’t stick. Grill until desired temperature and doneness are achieved.

Grilled Brussel Sprouts

• 1 -1 ½ lbs. Brussel sprouts

• ¼ cup olive oil

• 4 tsp. Ranch dressing/seasoning powder

• 1 tsp. lemon juice

• ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

• ½ tsp. minced garlic

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

• Additional olive oil or butter

Wash and trim off the ends of the Brussel sprouts and remove any outer leaves. Slice the Brussel sprouts in half, lengthwise. Place Brussel sprouts in a microwave-safe bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of water, and microwave for 5-6 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, Ranch dressing mix, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, garlic, and salt and pepper. Toss Brussel sprouts with the olive oil mixture. Create a foil pack with a sheet of foil; place the Brussel sprouts in the center. Place a second sheet of foil over the top and seal the edges. Place the foil pack on the grill and poke a small hole in the middle. Grill over medium-high heat for 18-20 minutes, or until tender. Remove foil packet from grill and add additional drizzle of olive oil, butter, or salt and pepper to taste.

Skillet Fried Corn

• 6 ears fresh corn on the cob

• ¼ cup salted butter

• ½ tsp. salt

• ¼ tsp. pepper

• 1 tsp. dried minced onion

• ½-3/4 TBSP. sugar

• ½ cup water

• ¼ cup milk

• 1 TBSP. all-purpose flour

Cut and scrape the corn off the cobs and put in a bowl. In a hot skillet, combine the corn, butter, salt, pepper, minced onion, sugar, and water. Stir well. Turn down the heat. Cover the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes; stir occasionally. In a small cup, whisk the milk with the flour, until smooth. Stir the flour mixture into the corn and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and stir constantly for 3-5 more minutes, until thickened. Add additional salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Fresh Strawberry Fritters

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• ½ cup sugar

• ½ TBSP. light brown sugar

• 1 TBSP. baking powder

• ½ tsp. salt

• ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

• ¼ tsp. orange peel

• 2 large eggs

• ¾ cup milk

• 3 TBSP. butter, melted

• 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

• 2 cups strawberries, chopped

• Vegetable oil

Place the chopped strawberries on paper towels in order to absorb any of the extra moisture. Whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and orange peel. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add the eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Fold in the chopped strawberries. Pour vegetable oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven, about 2-3 inches of oil, and use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to drop batter into the oil. Fry until golden brown, then flip and fry the opposite side. Place fritters on paper towels to drain. Whisk together the icing ingredients and drizzle over the fritters. Enjoy them while they are warm!

Icing:

• 2 cups powdered sugar

• ¼ cup milk or cream

• ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

• 1/8 tsp. orange extract

Cookies and Cream Pudding Dessert

• 12-15 Oreo Double Stuff Cookies

• 4 oz. cream cheese, softened

• 2 TBSP. butter, softened

• 1/3 cup powdered sugar

• 1 ½ cups milk

• 1 (3.4 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding mix

• 1 cup Cool Whip

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding until thickened. Add to the cream cheese mixture; fold in the Cool Whip. Crush the cookies to desired consistency, and fold into the pudding mixture. Garnish with additional cookie crumbs and whipped topping.

— Amy Fischer lives in Fort Payne, Alabama, and is a Southern food enthusiast who loves to spend time in the kitchen creating tasty recipes. You can contact her at facebook.com/MySouthernTable.

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