There is nothing quite like the aroma of food cooking on the grill and dining alfresco. Barbecues and grilling capture the very essence of summer. Summertime: the living is easy—and delicious!

At the Jeffrey & Susan Brudnick Center for Living we are celebrating summer with weekly barbecues for the residents, staff and families.  The menu rotates weekly to include a variety of barbecue favorites throughout the season. Our residents love to watch their food being cooked in front of them as well as enjoy eating outside in the courtyards.

As for your own cookouts, why not try some new items on the grill this summer? Grilled pizza is always a big hit. Or indulge in seasonal ingredients by grilling fruits such as peaches, pineapple and figs. Consider grilling asparagus, corn, zucchini and summer squash; add fresh herbs to liven up the flavors. Looking for a side dish? Try a fruit chutney, coleslaw with ginger dressing, or jazz up a classic salad with your favorite nuts and berries. No matter what you choose, cooking and eating in the great outdoors is hard to beat.

Below is one of my favorite summer salad recipes. Add your own “secret” ingredients and feel free to experiment. Cooking has never been this much fun!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 4 ounces goat or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 5-8 ounces or 4-5 lightly packed cups baby spinach
  • 3-4 tablespoons poppy seed salad dressing
  • ½ cup toasted almonds (optional)

Directions

  1. Hull and cut strawberries into thin slices.
  2. Place spinach in large bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of poppy seed dressing over the greens to coat. Continue adding poppy seed dressing 1 tablespoon at a time until the greens are evenly coated.
  3. Set aside a few almonds, cheese and strawberries to garnish.
  4. Gently toss the sliced strawberries, almonds and cheese with the spinach.
  5. Sprinkle the reserved strawberries, almonds and cheese over the top.
  6. Drizzle poppy seed dressing over the top of the salad.
  7. Slice whole almonds or use pre-sliced almonds (optional). Place on cookie sheet, toast for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees until darkened and fragrant.

This blog is courtesy of Linda Jean, dietician for the Jeffrey & Susan Brudnick Center for Living in Peabody.

This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content are presented solely by the author, and JewishBoston assumes no responsibility for them. Want to add your voice to the conversation? Publish your own post here.