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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

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Summer Recipes: Evening Hors d'Oeuvres

Summer Recipes - Evening Hors d'OeuvresDinners in the winter and fall tend to be more formal affairs with families gathered around the dining room table passing steaming dishes of vegetables and starch. But in the summer, you're far more likely to take your supper outdoors, enjoying the warm air, the late sunset, and the company of friends and family around a fire pit. Whether you're enjoying a casual weekday dinner or letting a barbecue get-together run long, dinner classics can be turned into delicious hors d'oeuvres hearty enough to be filling but also convenient in small, snackable portions.

Grilled or Sauteed Shrimp

Nothing says summer like warm fresh shrimp. Rolled in lemon and garlic and thrown into a pan or onto the grill, these little shellfish are incredible in almost any recipe. Or, they can simply be peeled and eaten as tasty protein morsels on their own. You can put out a bowl of shrimp, lay them out on a platter with toothpicks, or grill them a few at a time and let your guests come get them hot and fresh. There are a million different ways to flavor grilled shrimp so get experimental and try a few before choosing your favorite.

  • Peeled jumbo shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Spices

Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato soup is one of the staples of any summer dinner selection because it is warm as the evening starts to cool and can be eaten easily from either a bowl or sipped from a mug like a warm drink. This makes it unusually convenient for friends sitting around your fire pit and, of course, the flavor is amazing. For fellow fans of the classic tomato basil soup, it's easy to make a home-made healthy recipe that everyone will love.

  • Ripe tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Yellow onions
  • Minced garlic
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Chicken stock


When it comes to healthy summer dinners, nothing beats the kebab. A traditional mix of large-chopped vegetables, chunks of pineapple, and impressive portions of lean meat, all you have to do is load, marinate, and throw on the grill to have an amazing night with your friends and family. The best part about kebabs is that you can let each guest or family member DIY so that only their favorite ingredients are included.

  • Chopped chicken
  • Lean chopped pork chops
  • Peeled jumbo shrimp
  • Firm tofu
  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Large chunk pineapples
  • Corn cob slices
  • Baby potatoes
  • Orange or lemon slices
  • Olives

Coffee Cake

Of course, no selection of evening noshes would be complete without some kind of delicious crumbling cake or pastry. Coffee cake is one of the great healthy secret weapons because it can be made in so many flavor and texture combinations. Whether you're looking for something fruity or more like a cinnamon cake, there's a delicious healthy coffee cake recipe out there that you can easily whip up at home, complete with that sweet crumble on top. We'll give you the quick highlights on some amazing blueberry-lemon coffee cake but, as always, feel free to experiment.

  • Flour
  • Baking powder and soda
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Almond paste
  • Chilled yogurt (butter alternative)
  • Egg
  • Lemon juice
  • Skim milk
  • Blueberries
  • Grated lemon rind
  • Sliced almonds
  • Ground cinnamon


Finally, don't forget that not all chilled treats you eat with a spoon will kill your diet. Sorbet is essentially a frozen fruit smoothie, especially if you make it at home or find a lean diet brand you like and want to share with your besties. Strawberry sorbet is a classic favorite that doesn't need a lot of sugar added. And, it's astoundingly easy to make.

  • Frozen strawberries
  • Honey
  • Cold water

It's easy to eat light and right all summer long if your fridge is full of fresh ingredients and your cookbook is full of delicious ways to cook them.

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Topics: Food