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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Outdoor Dining —The Perfect Recipe for Summer

By Sherrie Norris

With the temperatures taking on a distinct feeling of summer, many of us are beginning to enjoy those traditional backyard barbecues and dinner on the deck. The cooler evenings, surrounded by the ever-changing scenes of nature at its best, make for a perfect time to take advantage of outdoor dining. Let’s try a few simple ideas to make the event one to remember — without a lot of fuss.


Grilled Salmon with Creamy Pesto Sauce

4 salmon fillets

¼ tsp. each salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil

¼ cup milk

4 oz. (cubed) cream cheese

2 Tbsp. pesto

1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat grill to medium heat.

Brush both sides of salmon with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, skin-sides down, 10 min. or until fish flakes easily with fork. Cook cream cheese and milk in saucepan on medium heat 2 to 3 minutes or until cream cheese is completely melted and sauce is well blended, stirring constantly. Stir in pesto. Serve salmon topped with sauce and parsley


Fresh Mozza-Mato Salad

6 plum tomatoes, chopped

2 cartons (8 oz. each) fresh mozzarella cheese pearls, drained

1/3 cup minced fresh basil

1 Tbs. minced fresh parsley

2 tsp. minced fresh mint

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

¾ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

2 medium ripe avocados, peeled and chopped

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cheese, basil, parsley and mint; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over tomato mixture; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Just before serving, stir in avocados. Serve with a slotted spoon.


Quick Cheesey Potato Bake

4 cups mashed potatoes

½ cup Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, slightly beaten

½ cup grated Cheddar cheese

Desired seasonings

Combine potatoes, Parmesan cheese and eggs. Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, chives, etc. Place in lightly greased baking dish. Top with Cheddar cheese and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.


Frozen Candy Bar Pie

1 pint/two cups vanilla ice cream softened

1 prepared chocolate flavor crumb crust

½ cup caramel sauce or dessert topping

½ cup chopped peanuts

1 (8oz.) tub Cool Whip Chocolate or regular Whipped Topping, thawed


Spread ice cream evenly in bottom of crust; freeze until ice cream is firm. Spread caramel sauce over ice cream; sprinkle with peanuts. Cover with whipped topping. Freeze at least four hours or until firm. Let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes or until pie can be cut easily. Return leftovers to freezer.

(You can adapt this pie to any flavor you desire. It’s a quick, easy way to come up with an exciting dessert that looks like you’ve worked all day!)