Soooo…last spring I had started a post that pulled together my best summer desserts for parties.
And then COVID hit, so the *last* thing that people were doing last summer was having large gatherings. I decided to hold off. And so here we are again, and it’s time for awesome summer get-togethers!
What makes for a good summer party dessert?? Well, to me it’s 1) amazing and addictive, 2) great for hot weather, and 3) ideally can be made pretty easily in a large quantity. This rules out anything fussy, requiring long baking times (wow, the heat!), or that can’t deal with sitting around for a while (lookin’ at you, chocolate).
Because let’s face it, when you’re at a summer gathering—be it a pool party, family gathering, picnic, whatever—those desserts sit out for a while! So without further ado, here are some of my favorite desserts for summer parties and get-togethers!
Strawberry Shortcake for a Big Group
Y’all, I was SOOOOO skeptical about this. Seriously, could a “no squeeze” cauliflower pizza crust even work?? It was so wet! Surely this was a recipe for disaster.
But wow…this was the easy cauliflower crust of my dreams.
This crust is gluten-free, grain-free, high protein and low carb, and doesn’t have the weirder preservatives and stabilizers found in store-bought cauliflower crusts.
What makes it amazing is that it’s so fast and hands-off…you don’t have to pre-cook the cauliflower (you use it raw), and you don’t have to squeeze (and squeeze and SQUEEZE) all the moisture out before making the dough.
But HOW, I can hear you saying?? This crust includes one key secret ingredient that makes this possible—egg white protein powder.
I talked in my post on how I survive a low-carb or keto diet about how I tend to avoid weird special ingredients that I don’t know enough about, but this is an exception (and it’s not that weird).
It’s just pure powdered egg whites and it makes all the difference in a super easy cauliflower pizza crust. The crust “dough” is super wet when it goes in the oven (you even PUT water in it!) but the powdered egg whites soak it up as it bakes and makes it puffy and like a real dough.
I have a couple beloved variations of a gin gimlet on this site, but realized the other day that I’d never actually posted the O.G. And since the gin gimlet is one of the great classic cocktails, I need to rectify that.
I was doing some digging into the history of the gin gimlet and stumbled across this Chilled article that I loved…as someone who loves classic films, learning that gimlet was associated with Philip Marlowe was pretty cool.
If you’d told me a few months ago that cauliflower crust pizza would be making up like…25% of my diet, I’d have asked what you were smoking. And yet here we are.
This cauliflower crust only takes a few ingredients (most of which you have on hand). It’s is high in vitamins K and C, low-cal, high in fiber and antioxidants, and (like all cruciferous vegetables) good for detoxing the liver.
Your topping options are also really versatile, though I stay away from super wet/soggy ingredients. Here are a few things I typically throw on:
- I often keep cooked hamburger on hand to throw on any dish
- I use both shredded (parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella), and a soft cheese (there’s a sheep/goat one that’s AMAZING)
- I usually will throw a pan of roasted vegetables in the oven along with the cauliflower crust (brussels sprouts, peppers, and onions are my fave)
- You can use sauce, but I’m not a fan and it does make things soggy. Sometimes I will spread a bit of dijon mustard on though for extra flavor.
You might also like: 10 Tips For Surviving a Super Low-Carb Diet (e.g. Keto)
Why do I call this “traditional”? It’s because it involves manually squeezing all the liquid out before mixing and baking. I’ve recently found an alternative recipe that doesn’t require squeezing (due to a secret ingredient), which I’ve been loving as well.
The thing about making a traditional cauliflower crust is that it’s not super fast. Now, it’s not HARD, it just has a few different steps and ALL THAT SQUEEZING. What I’ve found helpful in how to make cauliflower crust is to break up into a few key phases or steps so I can plan my timing around it.
- Rice/food processor your cauliflower (if necessary) and cook it
- Squeeeeeeeze your cauliflower to get all the liquid out, then mix together the dough
- Bake the dough mixture by itself, then top and bake just long enough to melt the cheese
So I’ll often do the first step earlier in the day so it can cool, then just throw the cooked cauliflower in my nut milk bag and come back to it later. Then when I’m ready to actually make dinner, I turn my oven on and start the squeezing.
I’ll squeeze once, let it rest a couple minutes, come back and squeeze some more…you want to get as much liquid out as possible.
I am a massive fan of grilling, and actually run my grill almost every night, year-round. Why, you ask? Well, 1) it’s the best way I’ve found to consistently eat healthy, 2) it’s super fast and easy, and 3) it requires very little clean-up.
Did you need more reasons than that??
Since I moved into my house a few years ago and finally got a real gas grill, I’ve been working to become a grillmaster of sorts, testing all kinds of different recipes.
So I wanted to share some of my favorite grilling tips and recipes here, particularly for grilling newbies…and I’m always looking to up my game so feel free to send me YOUR best ones too!
(I feel like I need to caveat here, that I’m not one of those amazing obsessed grilling nerds…but that’s why this guide is perfect for newbies)
What this post covers
- Grilling tools for success
- General grilling tips
- Tips for grilling various meats
Tools you need
It goes without saying that a good grill is a good starting point. I use a gas grill, so all the tips here will be geared toward that, I can’t speak to charcoal. I upgraded to a Weber recently but had a Charbroil for a few years, they’re only a few hundred bucks, and it did great.READ THE POST
Guys, there are few things more magical than fluffy hot layered biscuits fresh out of the oven. But honestly…I’m often too lazy to want to spend time cutting or rubbing the butter into the flour. Which is why these food processor biscuits are my new EVERYTHING.
I mean, even on my laziest morning I can throw some stuff in a food processor, blitz it, pat it out, and throw it in the oven.
I love these perfumed with lemon zest and some poppyseeds, for a subtle flavor that pairs perfectly with honey or jam. But the flavors are totally flexible…try orange zest, cinnamon, chopped fresh rosemary, or anything else that strikes your fancy.
The one thing to know is that my dough is often a bit too wet if I use all the buttermilk called for, so maybe go a little easy at first to see if you need it all. But even if your dough gets too wet and sticky, you can add a bit of extra flour while you roll it out—problem solved.
And in less than 30 minutes, you’ll have hot, flaky, steamy biscuits just begging to be devoured!
Ohhhhh man. I’ve always been a huge Mongolian beef fan when I get Chinese takeout, but I’d never really given any thought to Mongolian chicken.
But the other night I was really missing my amazing Chinese place back in Atlanta. I was trying to find something delicious and indulgent but easy, and remembered how much I loved my easy 30-minute Mongolian beef.
Problem was…I didn’t have any flank steak or similar. I *did* have chicken thighs though, which honestly were getting close to their use-by date, so I decided to give that a try.
AND IT WAS SO GOOD!!! I could truly have eaten the entire dish in one sitting. I did make a big side of my honey-balsamic roasted brussels sprouts, so I wasn’t *entirely* being naughty.
I kept it simple and roasted some thin red peppers to go along with it, but you could do broccoli or anything else you prefer.
Waffles are my mom’s favorite thing for brunch, no contest. While I like to mix it up with pancakes, biscuits, scones, and french toast, she will ALWAYS want belgian waffles.
Problem was, when I was a kid our waffle recipe was kind of a pain in the rear to make because it required you to beat egg whites into a stiff meringue of sorts before gently folding them into the waffle batter.
And seriously, who wants to sit there for several minutes trying to get your egg whites to stiffen when you aren’t even properly caffeinated?!
Enter this recipe—the awesomest easy waffles I’ve ever made! My grandma has been making this for eons, but she has no idea where it came from…she was the first to stop using beaten egg whites, though, because our family is all about low-maintenance cooking (we also almost never do wet and dry ingredients separately, or chill cookie dough).
We’ve adapted it over the years to make it even better and healthier. It’s practically dummy-proof, and yields golden, crispy, fast waffles every time.
Any waffle iron will work with this, but I like to make them on a belgian waffle maker which makes deeper pockets and crispier outsides than a regular one (I’m absolutely in love with my new one!!).READ THE POST
Thanksgiving is a BIG deal in my family. And that includes the food…which is why I feel like I have some of the best Thanksgiving recipes around. You know, the tried-and-true ones that the family requests over and over.
See, I have a big extended family, and we spend the day before baking, cooking, and prepping. The morning of Thanksgiving is always insane—my mom’s up super early with the turkey, then leaves around 10:30 to get down to my grandma’s. I get up a little later, go for a run, finish up all the remaining dishes, and head down around noon.
We eat a huge lunch, then graze all afternoon and have leftovers for dinner. We play football, watch football, play cards, and talk. Chase the kids around.
When you’re cooking for a big crowd (anywhere from 25 to 50 in past years; usually around 25-30 these days), there are some realities in the kinds of dishes that make sense. Anything super time-intensive that doesn’t yield a lot of servings is automatically out.
So these are some of my favorite relatively easy Thanksgiving recipes that I’ve contributed over the years, and it’s all about the sides, breads, desserts, and cocktails. Turkey just…exists. Hope you enjoy and everyone has a safe, happy (American) Thanksgiving with family and friends!
Some of the best recipes result from trying to use up an ingredient, and that’s definitely the story of this AMAZING salmon and potato hash.
I’d bought a couple giant salmon filets, but the week kind of got away from me and they were smelling stroooong. I was trying to figure out what to do, since throwing $20 worth of salmon away did not appeal. But just eating the filet itself kind of freaked me out. So I decided to just bake it up and figure it out later.
Then I got a brainwave about a salmon and potato hash, since I also had a bunch of red potatoes to use up. After looking up a bunch of recipes nothing struck my fancy, so I just made it up.
And this has become a new fave, a hearty and healthy lunch option that makes great leftovers and is the perfect way to use up leftover salmon.
The recipe is super flexible, so you can add other veggies or adjust the seasonings based on your mood. Just don’t add anything too wet (like fresh zucchini or squash)…it’s meant to be dry and get kind of caramelized.
You’ll actually notice through this recipe that I alternate between two sets of photos. I’ve made this a few times, and once I added in some roasted butternut squash that was just sitting around. Don’t let it confuse you!