Culinary Summer Bucket List: Easy recipes that make the most out of summer produce.
Watermelon Ice Pops, Easy Peach Cobbler, Blender Salsa, Summertime Corn Pudding and Ice Cream Pie
When I made my summer bucket list, I laughed to see half the list was food related.
Some of the things on my list I’ve already accomplished: Pick blueberries and make muffins with the kids. Some are more aspirational: Learn how to can the vegetables from our garden. There are many more delicious foods and food experiences in between. But even if we only check off half, we would be guaranteed many sweet summer memories.
Pick one or two of these recipes to make with your kids this summer. The kids will remember the fun, the taste and the mess that comes with it.
A pinch of salt intensifies the watermelon flavor in these easy-to-make popsicles.
Watermelon Ice Pops
- 4 1/2 cups watermelon chunks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Remove black seeds from watermelon chunks using a paring knife.
- In a blender, combine watermelon, sugar and salt. Cover the blender, and blend on high until the mixture is liquid. (Some small chunks are OK.)
- Pour the mixture into a glass measuring cup with a spout, then divide mixture among popsicle molds. Insert sticks. Freeze for at least 8 hours. Run the popsicle molds under warm water for 30 seconds to release the ice pops.
If you have the time, make the trip to Porter so your kids can see where some of Oklahoma’s best peaches are grown. While there, buy enough peaches to make two cobblers. Make one for your family, and let the kids choose who will get the other – maybe a neighbor, a grandparent or a mom with a new baby.
Easy Peach Cobbler
- 2 cups fresh peach slices
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- Sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, combine peaches with 1 cup sugar and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Place butter in a 2-quart baking dish, then place in oven to melt and to warm the baking dish. Keep an eye on it, and do not let butter burn.
- Stir sugar and flour together, and mix well. Slowly add milk, stirring or whisking out lumps.
- Remove baking dish from oven. Pour batter directly over butter. Do not stir. Spoon peaches (with liquid) on top of batter. Do not stir. Sprinkle top with cinnamon or fresh nutmeg, if desired. Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Take the kids to a farmers market to pick out ripe tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro for this salsa. All you need is a rough chop of the vegetables, then throw it all in the blender.
Makes about 2 cups
- 5 large ripe tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and roughly chopped (use plastic gloves when handling)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 handful cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Add all ingredients to food processor, starting with tomatoes and ending with lime juice. Pulse a few times to break up large pieces, then turn up speed to create the texture you prefer. You can make this salsa very chunky or very smooth.
- Taste, and add more salt, cilantro or jalapeno peppers, to taste.
- Pour in airtight container, and let sit at least 2 hours or overnight. Best served at room temperature.
Corn pudding, make with local farm-fresh corn, is a summertime favorite. Most kids will love the sweetness in this dish, which is adapted from Food Network.
Summertime Corn Pudding
- 6 ears sweet corn (about 2 ½ cups kernels)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a shallow approximately 7-by-11-inch casserole dish.
- Shuck the corn, removing all kernels with a knife into a bowl, making sure to keep all the runoff juice from the corn. Reserve.
- Mix together the milk, heavy cream, cheese, cayenne pepper and eggs. Add in the corn with juices, cheese, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over reserved corn.
- Pour into casserole dish, and bake for 35 minutes or until set.
From the book “Pie Every Day,” this pie is made for kids, but moms and dads will be sneaking bites, too. Use your favorite ice cream flavor, then top with chocolate sauce, sprinkles, M&Ms or any favorite topping.
Ice Cream Pie
Serves at least 6 kids
- 8 cups unsalted popped popcorn
- 1 cup toasted, flaked coconut
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 quart child’s favorite ice cream, softened
- Butter a large bowl, and pour in popcorn and coconut. Mix together.
- Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium-size heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture reaches the hard-ball stage (250 to 269 degrees on a candy thermometer). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, drop a small amount of the mixture in a glass of water; if it forms a ball, it is done. When ready, remove the sugar mixture from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the mixture in a fine stream over the popcorn, stirring until all of the kernels are coated. Divide the mixture in half, and pat into 2 greased 9-inch baking sheets or pizza pans. Set aside to cool.
- Spread the softened ice cream over the popcorn mixture in one of the pans, then remove the popcorn mixture from the other pan and place it on top of the ice cream (the popcorn should have hardened into a crunchy layer by this point). Place the pie in the freezer until the ice cream is firm. If the ice cream is runny, wrap plastic wrap around the edges before freezing.
- Cut into wedges to serve.
Here are some more ideas to add to your summer food bucket list:
- Pick blackberries. Make a blackberry pie.
- Slurp snow cones at sunset.
- Eat hot dogs at a Drillers baseball game.
- Makes s’mores around a campfire.
- CREATE DINNER ENTIRELY OUT OF FARMERS MARKET FINDS.
- Try a food you’ve never tasted before.
- Make homemade ice cream.
- Have a lemonade stand.
- Bake cupcakes for someone new to your neighborhood.
- Have a late-night popcorn picnic under the stars.