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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: The Unofficial Start to Summer Dining Has Begun

By Sherrie Norris

How did we arrive at the end of May so quickly? What a busy time it is for so many of us, with college graduations and Memorial Day already in the rearview mirror, high school graduations and vacations on the horizon. Considered the unofficial beginning of summer for many, a soggy Memorial Day weekend has now passed, but the patio grills are getting fired up and are ready for another great outdoor dining season.
Hopefully, these recipes will help with the transition.

Tropical Chicken Kebabs

1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. ginger, minced
1 tsp. honey
Kosher salt
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups cubed pineapple
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 red onion, diced
Rice and cilantro

Preheat grill to medium heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, garlic, ginger and honey until completely combined. Add salt and red pepper flakes.

Assemble skewers by alternating chicken, pineapple, peppers and red onion. Place on a baking sheet and cover with half your marinade.
Place skewers on preheated grill, brush with reserved marinade. Cook five minutes and turn, brushing the other side with marinade. Cook five more minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve with white rice and a sprinkle of cilantro.

(Recipe easily doubled for more servings.)

Grilled Potatoes and Onions
8 potatoes, quartered and sliced ¼ inch thick
2 onions, sliced
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 tsp. pepper
¼ cup butter
Preheat grill; cut 2 or 3 sheets of aluminum foil large enough in which to easily wrap vegetables. Place potatoes and onion in the center, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add butter. Wrap into a flattened square, and seal the edges. Place over medium heat, and cover. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, turning once.

Savory Corn Salad

4 cups fresh or frozen corn (thawed and drained if frozen)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

Just before time to serve, mix first seven ingredients together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

1 roll refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Line a 9-inch square baking dish with waxed paper. Spread about half of the cookie dough into baking dish and press down firmly. With mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar, mixing well; beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.
Pour filling over the cookie dough base. Crumble remaining cookie dough over the top. Bake 30-35 minutes. When cool, cut into bars; store in refrigerator in airtight container.