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5 Great recipes: Perfect for entertaining this summer

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Summer party recipes

As the weather heats up, so do the summer parties! Think color when planning your party menus. Here is a rainbow of crowd-pleasing, colorful and low-fuss recipes perfect for the summer pool bash or alfresco evening.

 Blood orange sangria


Blood orange sangria

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2/3 cup Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 seedless blood oranges, each cut into 16 wedges
  • 2 bottles fruity red wine (750-milliliter size)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (3-inch size)
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

Discard cloves and cinnamon sticks. Pour sangria into individual glasses, including the fruit.

Carrot and ginger soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or to taste
  • 1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Scoop seeds out of the butternut squash half and place cut side down onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until softened. Allow to cool, then scoop the squash flesh out of the skin using a large spoon and set aside. Discard skin.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic, and cook, stirring until onion is translucent. Pour in the water and add squash, carrots and ginger. Bring to a boil and cook for at least 20 minutes or until carrots and ginger are tender. 

Puree the mixture in the blender or using an immersion blender. Add boiling water if necessary to thin but bear in mind this is meant to be a thick creamy soup. Return soup to the pan and heat through. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon. 

Ladle into serving bowls and pour a thin swirl of cream over the top as a garnish if desired.

Chicken mango skewers

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 ripe but firm mangoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, chili powder, cayenne, salt and sugar. Add the chicken and mangoes and stir gently to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill.

Remove the chicken and mangoes from the marinade and thread onto metal skewers, alternating the pieces and dividing them evenly.

Arrange the skewers on the grill and cook, turning once, until the chicken is nicely charred and cooked through -- 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer the skewers to a warmed platter and serve immediately.

Additional Tip: To slice a mango, peel the fruit and then stand it up on one of its narrow edges, with the stem end pointing toward you. Using a large, sharp knife, cut down about 1 inch to one side of the stem, just grazing the side of the pit. Repeat with the other side. Place the halves, cut side down, on the cutting board and cut into cubes.

Spinach and raspberry salad

Ingredients

  • 3 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
  • 4 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted and divided
  • 8 cups torn fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 1 cup seasoned salad croutons 

Directions

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, jam and pepper; shake well. In a large salad bowl, gently combine spinach, 1 cup of raspberries, 2 tablespoons almonds and onion. Top with kiwi, croutons and remaining berries and almonds. Drizzle with dressing; serve immediately.

Blueberry Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water, preferably spring water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 pints (about 2 pounds or 6 cups) fresh-picked blueberries, preferably organic, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large egg white, preferably farm-fresh (optional)

Directions

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water and salt. Cook, stirring, until the sugar and salt have dissolved -- about 3 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. 

In a blender, puree the blueberries with the syrup and lemon juice until very smooth (you may need to divide this into several batches if your blender is not extra-large). If desired, strain through a fine mesh sieve for a smoother texture.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled -- at least 4 hours or overnight.

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