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Summertime Meals


Happy June! We are halfway through 2024, it’s probably a good time to look back and access the year, but with the official date of summer being June 20th, it’s easier to jump into summer. Warm sunny days are here. The kids are finished with their school year, they’re ready to play or go and see. All around the country people are entering into vacation mode, either preparing to go to a fabulous vacation spot or planning to catch up with family at the yearly family reunion. Despite our busy work schedule, summertime is here, are you ready for hot summer days? Have you pulled out the grill? It is a crucial part of the summer fun.

Grilled meals are so satisfying and can be healthy for you.  We don’t grill everyday, but we are ready for any day. And what about those lazy summer evenings, when you want a yummy meal without any cooking at all? Are you stocked up for some quick and easy meals?
My family enjoys  grilled meats in a variety of styles. Burgers, hotdogs, sausage, steaks, carne asada, pollo asado, pork or lamb chops, the smoky flavor enhances the tasty meat. Healthy but yummy sides, like pasta or green salad, corn on the cob add variety. Every chance we get, we take our food to the grill. I also love grilled veggies, veggies kabobs or grilled sweet peppers. My latest craze has been grilled cactus. Nopales are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine, but they are usually boiled first to cook out their gooey slime texture. Once they are precooked and de-slimed, their tangy flavor infused with the right savory sauce and meat is very tasty. One of my preferred dishes with nopales cooked like this is “costillas de puerco en salsa verde con nopales”. These are pork ribs cut down to bite size cooked in a green chile sauce with cactus, very nice. I was glad to enjoy nopales cooked this way, until one day when I was visiting friends in Mexico City I discovered nopales on the grill, it was a game changer. Cactus paddles safely cleaned of the prickly hairlike spines and sliced, making the paddle resemble a hand. They are lightly seasoned then put on the grill. I believe that slicing them makes a difference in the flavor and texture because the slimy substance is completely secreted with the heat and flame of the grill. Just the tender grilled paddle on a warm corn tortilla is absolutely delicious! The health benefits of eating cactus are an added bonus.  I like to season a few cactus paddles with bouillon and black pepper and when they are grilled to a tender perfection I serve them right along with the grilled meats. Their tangy flamed grilled flavor adds a smack to your lips.  

Summer grilling meals certainly beat the heat of the hot kitchen and they are great for family bonding times. However, on those days when you’ve spent the whole day outdoors and away from home your stock of authentic savory tamales will save the day. While you reheat your delicious tamales, toss together a nice and colorful green salad, I like to always have on hand ingredients for my easy salsa. Delicious savory tamales topped with tangy fresh salsa is a win win. 

Quick and easy salsa recipe
Takes about 10 minutes to make. It is a big hit every time I serve it. 

1 7.5 can of El Pato Mexican sauce 
2-3 Roma tomatoes (depending on the degree of spicy you desire)
⅓ of a bundle of cilantro
-4 diced green onions (heads and stems)
-fresh squeezed lemon juice- ½ a lemon.
-cumin, salt, pepper- ¼ tsp. (adjust as needed)
Blend first 3 ingredients and transfer into a bowl. Mix in diced onion, lemon and spices. 

Make your summer months fun and meaningful. Easy, quick and delicious meal ideas will make room for the important things, like family and rest. Enjoy your summertime. 

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