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Rachael Ray's summer party recipes

Tracy E. Hopkins is an accomplished writer, blogger and editor living in New York City. She has expertise covering travel, fashion, health and entertainment.

Scrumptious Summer Recipes

Rachael Ray's magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray offers you recipes and meal planning ideas that guarantee you have a deliciously fun time in your kitchen. SheKnows.com had the scrumptious opportunity to get an exclusive preview of Ray's in-office test kitchen, where taste-testing recipes and having fun go hand in hand. Here are a few taste-tested and approved quick and easy recipes from the June/July issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray.

Cupcakes
For more information on our behind-the-scenes visit to Rachael Ray's New York in-office test kitchen, be sure to read our Exclusive preview of Rachael Ray's test-kitchen for Every Day with Rachael Ray. And for more Rachael Ray recipes visit her website RachaelRayMag.com.

Rachael Ray recipes


Italian Sausage Kebabs


Serves: 4
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
8 hot or sweet Italian sausage links, quartered crosswise
1 green bell pepper, quartered lengthwise and halved crosswise
1 sweet onion, quartered lengthwise and halved crosswise
1 large head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Two 1-pound bags frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Directions:
1. Thread the Italian sausage, bell peppers onion and three-quarters of the garlic cloves onto 8 skewers. Brush the kebabs with 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill the kebabs, turning occasionally until slightly charred, 12-15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until warm about 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Serve the kebabs with the spinach.

Salsa Fresca


Makes: 5 cups
SalsaPrep: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup packed coarsely chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño chile, halved lengthwise
2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (7 or 8), cored, quartered
Juice of 1 lime
Salt

Directions:
Using a food processor, pulse the cilantro and garlic together for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Add the onion and jalapeño and pulse until finely chopped and transfer to a medium bowl. Working in batches, add the tomatoes to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the cilantro mixture. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt.

Shrimp-and-Ham Rolls


Serves: 4
Prep: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
2 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 pound cooked shrimp, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 pound ham , cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
4 canned artichoke hearts, quartered
4 hot dog buns, toasted
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, tarragon, mustard and lemon juice. In a medium bowl, toss together the shrimp, ham, red onion and artichoke hearts. Add the dressing to the shrimp mixture and toss. Fill each toasted hot dog bun with the lettuce and shrimp-and-ham salad.

Strawberry Bonbons


Makes: 25
Prep: 20 minutes (plus freezing)
Cook: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1 pint strawberries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
25 plain vanilla wafers
1 pound dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, simmer the strawberries and sugar over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

2. Transfer the ice cream to a large bowl and fold in 1/2 cup strawberry sauce (reserve the remaining sauce for another use). Cover and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

3. Place the cookies flat side down on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Top each cookie with 1 small scoop of ice cream. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. In a double boiler, melt three-quarters of the chocolate. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until melted. Dunk each bonbon into the chocolate to coat and return to the prepared baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the pistachios. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Marshmallow Cupcakes


Makes: 2 dozen
Prep: 40 minutes (plus cooling)
Bake: 25 minutes

Ingredients: 
5 (3.5 ounces each) bars dark chocolate
3 1/2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 cup confectioners' sugar 
1 (7.5-ounce) jar marshmallow cream

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with baking liners. Chop 3 chocolate bars and place in a small bowl. Chop the remaining 2 chocolate bars and place in another small bowl.

2. In a large sauce pan, melt 2 sticks butter in 2 1/4 cups water, stirring often, over medium heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the 3 chopped chocolate bars until melted. Whisk in the eggs, vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk in the flour, granulated sugar and baking soda.

3. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until the muffins spring back when gently pressed, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then turn out of the pans.

4. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 2 chopped chocolate bars, 1 1/2 sticks butter and the corn syrup and microwave at medium power for 1 minute. Stir, then microwave 1 minute more at medium power. Stir until smooth.

5. Dip the top of each cupcake into the chocolate glaze and set right side up on a cooling rack. Dip each cupcake two more times. Let stand until the glaze is set, about 1 hour.

6. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, the confectioners' sugar and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt at high speed until fluffy. Add the marshmallow cream and mix at medium speed. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. Decorate the cupcakes with a zigzag design, or dollop with a spoon.

For more Rachael Ray recipes, visit these links:

Rachael Ray's top 10 ingredients she can't live without plus Good Deal recipes

Rachael Ray asparagus recipes

And be sure to visit the SheKnows.com Shopping Channel for Rachael Ray cookbooks.

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