Column: Susan McClanahan: Recipes to celebrate summer (6/2/22)

Today we are ushering in the month of June with some recipes that will surely please your family. I have put together a wide variety of recipes for you to try.

Do you remember the classic peach cobbler recipe that you can make with any fruit, not just peaches? I found a couple of salad recipes that I am eager to make, an interesting chicken recipe and of couple of desserts to round out the meal.

As we welcome June and the official beginning of summer a little later in the month, try some new and different recipes. With gas prices so high, you may decide to stay home and enjoy a staycation, and that could include cooking together as a family. Enjoy!

Summer Salad with Beets

This is a good side salad using canned beets.

* 1 can julienned or sliced beets, drained

* 4 ounces baby spinach or chopped romaine lettuce

* 1/4 cup dried cranberries

* 1/2 cup cashews (either salted or unsalted)

* Feta cheese for topping


* 1/4 olive oil

* 2 tablespoons honey

* 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Make dressing and add to drained beets. Refrigerate several hours. Just before serving, place a couple of scoops of marinated beets onto bed of spinach or chopped romaine. Top with Feta and cashews. Follow these directions to avoid soggy greens and discolored Feta and Cashews.

Source: The source of this recipe is unknown and was given to me by a friend who knows I love beets.

Peach Cobbler

* 1 1/2 cups self rising flour

* 1 cup sugar

* 1 cup milk

* 1 stick butter, salted or unsalted

* 2 cups fruit of your choice

(Note: If using fresh fruit you will need to mix 1/2 cup water and 1 cup sugar to make a syrup … melt over heat) If using canned fruit get the kind with heavy syrup. You can mix different fruit combinations.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients and then add milk.

Melt butter in a 9-inch-by-9-inch pan or cast iron skillet. Pour batter in pan with butter. (Do not stir)

Spoon fruit and some syrup by spoonfuls over top. Try and balance out the amount of syrup. The more you add the wetter the cobbler will turn out.

Bake at 350 until brown. I usually use bottom rack.

Source: The source of this recipe is unknown, and it dates back to many years ago. There are many different versions of this recipe, all very similar, so I am sharing the recipe I have used for many years.

Awesome and Easy Creamy Corn Casserole

This truly is the most delicious stuff! A bit like a cross between corn souffle and a slightly sweet corn pudding. Try it, I know you will love the ease of preparation and especially the taste. The ingredients can be doubled and baked in a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish in almost the same amount of cooking time.

* 1/2 cup butter, melted

* 2 eggs, beaten

* 1 (8.5 ounce) package dry corn bread mix

* 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

* 1 (14.75 ounce) can creamed corn

* 1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9-inch-by-9-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine butter, eggs, corn bread mix, whole and creamed corn and sour cream. Spoon mixture into prepared dish.

Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown.


Easy Corn Bread Crusted Taco Pie

* 2 tablespoon salted butter

* 1 (7.5 ounce) package yellow corn muffin mix, plus milk to prepare

* 1 small onion, diced

* 2 medium garlic cloves, minced

* 1 1/2 pound lean ground beef, chicken or turkey

* Salt and black pepper, to taste

* 1 (10 ounce) can Rotel Chili Fixins’

* 3 tablespoon quality taco seasoning

* 1 teaspoon ground cumin

* 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper

* 4 ounces chive and onion cream cheese, softened

* 2 cups shredded Colby jack cheese, divided

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet on the stovetop. Melt the butter in the pan and swirl to coat the sides.

Meanwhile, mix corn muffin mix with the amount of milk called for on the package. Mix until fully moistened then pour into the hot skillet. Place into the oven and bake for eight minutes.

While the cornbread bakes, cook the onion in a couple of drizzles of olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for two to three minutes until beginning to soften then add the garlic. Cook for one minute longer.

Add ground beef to the pan. Cook until no pink remains. Season with salt and black pepper to your taste. (The amounts may vary depending on the sodium content of the taco seasoning used) Drain any excess fat from the skillet. Add Rotel tomatoes, taco seasoning, cumin and lemon pepper. Simmer over medium-high until well blended.

Add the softened cream cheese to the filling, stir until melted through.

Remove the cornbread from the oven and sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Spread the taco meat over the corn bread and top with the remaining cheese.

Place back into the oven and bake for an additional eight to 10 minutes just until the filling is heated through and cheese has melted.

Serve with shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, pico de gallo, jalapeno pepper slices, guacamole and sour cream.

Notes: For a time saver prepare the taco filling in advance and chill. Warm in the microwave until spreadable then proceed with the recipe as written.


Sweet Tea Grilled Chicken

Sweet Tea Grilled Chicken is flavored like a southern summer. Cut-up chicken is brined in a sweet tea mixture with lemon and then grilled until nicely charred. So juicy and flavorful!

* 2 family-sized tea bags

* 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

* 2 tablespoons kosher salt

* 1 lemon, thinly sliced

* 1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced

* 2 garlic cloves, smashed

* 2 rosemary sprigs

* 1 teaspoon black pepper

* 2 cups ice cubes

* 1 chicken, cut up

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add tea bags and remove from heat. Let steep 10 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags.

Stir in brown sugar, salt, lemon, sweet onion, garlic, rosemary, and black pepper. Let cool for 45 minutes.

Add ice cubes. Check to make sure mixture is cool. Pour into a large zip top bag with chicken. Seal and place inside a bowl or baking dish in case any leaks. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat grill to medium. Place chicken on skin side down. Cover and grill 10 minutes. Flip over and grill 10 more minutes. Flip one more time and grill 10 minutes or until cooked through.


Southwest Slaw

This “Southwest Slaw” is really good when you want something a bit different from a creamy, more traditional coleslaw. This is also a good alternative when you are watching calories and fat intake, because it’s dressed with a dressing made with fat free ingredients without giving up flavor. You can also serve this as a topping for tacos.

* 3 ears of fresh corn, shucked

* 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced fine

* 3 cups finely shredded cabbage

* 1 carrot, shredded

* 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin (include some of the green blades)

* 1 red or green bell pepper, diced

* 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

For the dressing:

* 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

* 1/4 cup honey

* 2 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

* 1/4 teaspoon cumin

* 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Boil the corn on the cob until just tender. Remove and cool. You can also grill the corn on the grill until slightly charred, if you happen to be grilling out. After it’s cool, with a sharp knife, cut the kernels off and into a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have access to fresh corn, you can substitute a 10 ounce bag of frozen corn, cooked and cooled.

Add the jalapenos, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, green onions, and cilantro. When seeding and dicing fresh jalapenos, you might want to wear gloves and do not rub your face and eyes.

In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, honey, and other seasoning. Pour over the vegetables and toss well. Cover and refrigerate. This is best when it sits for a couple of hours. Toss again before serving.


Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie

This is a very fun recipe to follow, because Grandma makes it sweet and simple. This pie is thickened with cornstarch and flour in addition to egg yolks, and contains no milk.

* 1 cup white sugar

* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

* 3 tablespoons cornstarch

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1 1/2 cups water

* 2 lemons, juiced and zested

* 2 tablespoons butter

* 4 egg yolks, beaten

* 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked

* 4 egg whites

* 6 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To Make Lemon Filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.

To Make Meringue: In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.


Southern Style Dry Rub Pork Ribs

* 1 (approximately 5 pound) rack of pork spareribs

For the Dry Rub Marinade:

* 2 tablespoons paprika

* 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

* 1 tablespoon brown sugar

* 1 teaspoon kosher salt

* 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

* 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste

* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

* 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

* 1/2 teaspoon cumin

For the Mop Sauce:

* 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

* 1/8 cup of yellow mustard

* Pinch of kosher salt

Combine dry rub ingredients. Set aside a tablespoon of the rub and reserve for sprinkling on the ribs in the last few minutes of cooking, if desired. Pull the papery skin off the back of the spareribs and rub half of the dry rub on the ribs; turn and rub the other half. Wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight, or for up to 8 hours.

Preheat the grill and add ribs cooking over indirect heat for one hour. Brush generously on both sides with the mop sauce and continue cooking for another 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender and have shrunk back from the ends of the bone. In the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle with the reserved rub if desired.

Notes: Serve with sauce at the table, for folks like me. May also substitute baby back ribs.


BLT Pasta Salad

This BLT Pasta Salad has bow-tie pasta, bacon, lettuce, and tomato with a creamy ranch dressing. This salad is great for potlucks, BBQs, and get-togethers!

For the ranch dressing:

* 1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch dressing mix

* 1 cup whole milk

* 1 cup mayonnaise

For the salad:

* 1 pound bow-tie pasta, (farfalle pasta)

* 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

* 1 cup thinly sliced red onion

* 1 teaspoon ground pepper

* 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

* 3 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

* 1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

For the Ranch dressing: Whisk together the Ranch dressing mix, milk, and mayonnaise. Chill at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator to thicken.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

In a large bowl, add the pasta, tomatoes, red onion, and pepper. Toss with the Ranch dressing, reserving 1/2 cup for later. Chill until ready to serve.

Right before serving, add the bacon, lettuce, and parsley tossing well. Add the remaining dressing if needed as the pasta will soak up the dressing.

Notes: I have tried this with both bottled and fresh Ranch dressing and fresh is 100% better. If you have a dressing you love, you can use it instead of making it from the mix.


Orange Dream Angel Cake

This cake is so light and so refreshing you’ll think you’ve stepped into a dream. Truth is, our Orange Dream Angel Cake reminds us of those orange and cream pops we dream about in the summertime. You and your gang are going to love this no-bake dessert! Elevate this recipe by using a fresh baked angel food cake.

* 1 (10-inch) prepared angel food cake, cut into 12 slices

* 1 (3-ounce) package orange gelatin

* 3/4 cup boiling water

* 1/2 cup cold water

* 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

* 1 1/2 cups milk

* 2 teaspoons orange zest

* 1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

* 1 orange, cut into slices for garnish

In a 9- x 13-inch baking dish, arrange cake slices.

In a medium bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water and stir in cold water. Slowly pour over cake, then refrigerate 1 hour.

In a large bowl, whisk vanilla pudding mix and milk until thickened. Stir in orange zest and whipped topping. Evenly spread over cake.

Cover and refrigerate 1 hour, or until ready to serve. Garnish with orange slices.


Scallops Provencal

* 1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops

* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

* All-purpose flour, for dredging

* 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided

* 1/2 cup chopped shallots (2 large)

* 1 garlic clove, minced

* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

* 1/3 cup dry white wine

* 1 lemon, cut in 1/2

If you’re using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you’re using sea scallops, cut each 1 in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess.

In a very large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn and brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes, total.

Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic, and parsley and saute for 2 more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.


Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.