Cool and Refreshing Dishes

Cool and Refreshing Dishes

On the hottest days of summer, turning on the stove and cooking a meal doesn't sound too fun. Instead try a couple of these cool and refreshing dishes. The secret to the best refreshing dishes is using the freshest ingredients you can find.

Melon Balls
Melon balls are a great starter to a summer meal; they are also fun to prepare.

You need:
1 melon-baller
Assorted melons
Mint sprigs for garnish

You can use any type of melon that you like. Cantaloupe is one of my favorites. You can also use different types of melons if you want a colorful and tasty appetizer. Cut the melons in half and seed them. Use the melon-baller and make as many melon balls as you can. Don't worry about making perfectly round melon balls; the shape doesn't change the flavor of the melon. Mix all the balls in a large bowl and place the sprigs of mint decoratively on top as garnish. To add a little pizazz to your melon (for the over 21 crowd) pour a little vodka over the melon balls and mix thoroughly. Enjoy!

Tomato and Pesto Sandwiches
Tomato and Pesto sandwiches are a simple and refreshing meal, great for a hot day. You can use store-bought tomatoes and pesto for a quick meal. This treat is the most rewarding when you have grown your fresh tomatoes and prepared your own pesto.

Pesto: This is a relatively loose recipe; you can alter the measurements depending on how you like your pesto.

1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/4-cup pine nuts
2 gloves garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2-cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Homemade pesto also freezes well for use later.

Sandwiches: You can use however much of each ingredient you like depending on how many people are there for dinner. Also, you should choose whichever types of cheese you enjoy with tomatoes and pesto. Brie and goat cheeseĀ  both have excellent flavor and spread easily.

French baguette
Large tomatoes
Goat cheese

Slice the baguette into 1/4in rounds. Very lightly oil and toast in 350-degree oven for approximately 10 minutes. The bread slices should be very lightly toasted. Slice tomatoes into thick rounds. To serve, place each ingredient individually on the table. To eat, spread some pesto and cheese on a piece of toast and top with a tomato slice, then enjoy as many as you like. These sandwiches are also excellent with just pesto and cheese for those who don't like tomatoes.

Fruity Chocolate Popsicles
Popsicles are a very refreshing dessert to finish off you summer meal. This recipe makes a great fruity chocolate popsicle. You can also put this recipe into a mold for a frozen desert. For a delicious smoothie, replace the milk with yogurt, and add a little more sugar to make the recipe sweet enough for a smoothie. Adjust quantities, keeping proportions the same, to make enough for the number of popsicles you want. Double the recipe to fill a 1-quart mold.

1 small ripe banana
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coca

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until frozen through. When ready, remove from mold and enjoy.