Cool Summer Eats 2023


Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
1 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Place cucumbers into a salad bowl and combine with sour cream, green onion, dill, kosher salt, and pepper. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate salad for 30 minutes before serving.

Pizza Pasta Salad

8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked and drained
1 (5 ounce) package Hormel pepperoni minis
4 ounces provolone cheese (or cheddar) cut into ¼ cubes
1 medium tomato, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced ripe olives
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Dressing: (you can use ¾ cup store bought Italian dressing as a shortcut)

⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic)
½ teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Cook pasta in heavily salted water according to package directions. Drain and cool. Toss all of the salad ingredients except for the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Prepare dressing by whisking all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Add the dressing to the pasta and toss to coat. Chill for 1-2 hours in the fridge. Stir well and top with grated Parmesan cheese right before serving

Bacon Ranch Macaroni Salad

1 2/3 cups uncooked dried large ring macaroni
1 cup ranch dressing
1 small (1 cup) cucumber*, seeded, chopped
1 large (1 cup) tomato, seeded, chopped
1 small (1/2 cup) red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 Land O Lakes® Eggs, hard-cooked, cooled, peeled, chopped
1 cup chopped crisply cooked bacon

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain well; rinse with cold water. Combine cooked macaroni and all remaining ingredients except eggs and bacon in bowl; mix well. Gently stir in eggs. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours to blend flavors. Stir in bacon just before serving. Serve cold.

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Soak 1/2 thinly sliced red onion in cold water. Pat dry 4 cups diced watermelon and 1 seeded and sliced cucumber; toss with a handful of thinly sliced mint. Drain the onion, squeeze dry and add to the salad along with some chopped cashews. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon; season with salt and toss. Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Luscious Slushy Punch

2 1/2 cups white sugar
6 cups water
2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored Jell-O® mix
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 quart orange juice
2 (2 liter) bottles lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage

Bring the sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin to a boil in a large saucepan; boil for 3 minutes. Stir in the pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Divide mixture into 2 separate containers and freeze.

Combine the contents of 1 container with 1 bottle of the lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage in a punch bowl; stir until slushy. Repeat with remaining portions as needed.

Fresh Strawberry Pie


1 box Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box


3 pints (6 cups) fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
4 to 5 drops red food color, if desired


1 cup sweetened whipped cream

Heat oven to 450°F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using 9-inch glass pie plate. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, crush enough strawberries to make 1 cup. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch; stir in crushed strawberries and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. If desired, stir in food color. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Place remaining strawberries, whole or sliced, in cooled baked shell. Pour cooked strawberry mixture evenly over berries. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours, before serving.

Just before serving, top pie with sweetened whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

Easy Key Lime Pie

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
16-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate (not thawed)
1cup heavy cream
16-ounce graham cracker piecrust
zest of 1 lime

Place the condensed milk, limeade concentrate, and cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until fluffy and soft peaks form.

Pour the filling into the piecrust and smooth the top. Refrigerate until chilled and loosely set, at least 4 hours (and up to overnight).

Sprinkle the pie with the zest before serving.

Easy No Bake Banana Pudding

This makes a large serving and is so easy!

5 or 6 bananas
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1 can condensed milk
1 carton Cool Whip
1 bag vanilla wafer cookies

In large mixing bowl, mix pudding with milk according to package directions. Add condensed milk and Cool Whip. Mix with electric mixer. In a large serving bowl, cut bananas in bite size pieces. Add cookies. You can either layer bananas and cookies or just mix all together. Pour pudding mixture in and stir. It is best if refrigerated overnight or at least 4 or 5 hours for pudding to set.

Jodi’s Easy Potato Salad

4-5 cans of potatoes
4 boiled eggs, cooled and peeled
a splash of white vinegar
onion powder

Slice up and drain the potatoes in a colander, and put in a big pot, then warm them (no water in pot!). In a separate bowl, put the egg yolks and mash them a little.  Add a splash of vinegar and stir. Transfer that yolk mixture into the pot with warm potatoes.   Add salt (to taste) and the chopped up egg whites, and mayo.  Use your eye to decide how much mayo.  Carefully stir it.  The light yellow color comes from the yolks – no mustard in the salad.   It’s mild and creamy.

You can add relish if you’d like.  My mother in law doesn’t. This is the basic, simple recipe.  Serve warm or chilled.

The Potato Salad Trick that Jodi got from her mother-in-law (Murphy’s Mom) is… Used CANNED potatoes.  Yes, Jodi was also hesitant at first, but it saves so much time and is still delicious! You warm the potatoes in a pot and then drain the water and make the potato salad!

Jodi’s Pimento Cheese Recipe

2 cups extra sharp cheddar
2 cups sharp cheddar
garlic powder
onion powder
4 oz jar of pimentos, drained and chopped

Mix it alllll together and enjoy on a good sandwich or a dip for veggies!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing or Easiest Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup homemade or store-bought roasted pecans
12 ounces baby spinach and mixed field greens mix
16 ounces strawberries, quartered or sliced

Prepare Homemade Poppy Seed dressing or the Easiest Balsamic vinaigrette.

Combine spinach mix, strawberries, and pecans in a large bowl. Add salad dressing and toss until evenly coated.

I also like to add feta or another crumbly cheese. -Jodi

Caprese Salad

3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Coarse salt and pepper

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Flag Cake

4 cups fresh strawberries
1 pkg. (12 oz.) frozen prepared pound cake, thawed, cut into 14 slices
1-1/3 cups blueberries, divided
1 tub (12 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

Slice 1 cup strawberries; halve remaining strawberries. Cover bottom of 13×9-inch dish with cake slices; top with sliced strawberries and 1 cup blueberries. Spread COOL WHIP over berries.

Arrange strawberry halves and remaining blueberries on COOL WHIP to resemble a US flag. Keep refrigerated.

Chocolate Cherry Trifle

1 box of your preferred chocolate cake mix
1 large box vanilla pudding
1 large container of cool whip
1 can of cherry pie filling

Prepare cake as directed on box and set aside to cool before assembling trifle. Also prepare pudding as directed and refrigerate before assembling trifle. Allow cool whip to thaw before putting trifle together.

Chop up cake into 1 or 2 inch squares.

Put half of cake into trifle bowl and top with half of pudding, a layer of cool whip and half of cherries with juice. Repeat those layers. Finish off by topping with cool whip. Refrigerate a couple of hours before serving

Summer Dirt Cake

1 Large pkg of Oreo cookies, crushed (I used a food processor)
Gummy worms
brand new flower pot
brand new spade (for serving!)

Blend the following ingredients together: 1/2 stick of butter 8 oz. of softened cream cheese 1 cup powdered sugar 3 1/2 cups milk 3 small pkg. instant vanilla pudding 12 ounces of Cool Whip

Layers in a flower pot: Begin with 1/2 of the Oreo crumbs (dirt). Next, put in all of the Pudding mixture, hide gummy worms in this layer. Top with the rest of the dirt.  Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, add a few fresh flowers in the center of the pot ( with stems wrapped in plastic wrap) or use plastic or silk flowers.  Serve the dirt cake with a small garden spade.

The Best Lemon Bars Recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 lemons, juiced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.

Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool. For a festive tray, make another pan using limes instead of lemons and adding a drop of green food coloring to give a very pale green. After both pans have cooled, cut into uniform 2 inch squares and arrange in a checker board fashion.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Large pinch kosher salt

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment. Bring the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then let boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the oats, peanut butter, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine. Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, and let sit at room temperature until cooled and hardened, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

No-Bake Cookies and Cream Bars

¼cup salted butter, melted
2½cups finely crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 25 cookies)
16ounces cream cheese, softened
7ounces marshmallow creme (such as Fluff or Jet-Puffed)
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1cup coarsely crumbled cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 7 cookies), plus more for garnish

Stir together the melted butter and crushed cookies in a medium bowl. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; lightly grease foil with cooking spray. Press the cookie mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Beat the cream cheese, marshmallow cream, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold in the coarsely crumbled cookies. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pan, spreading it evenly over the cookie crust. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. Lift mixture from the pan using the foil overhang as a handle, and cut into bars. Garnish with more coarsely crumbled cookies, if desired.

Oreo Ice Cream Bliss

1 quart of vanilla ice cream, softened
1 regular package of oreos, crushed
1 regular size tub of cool whip

Mix everything together and put it back in freezer till you serve it!

4 Ingredient, No-Bake Lemon Pie

1 container of Cool Whip (8 oz)
1 can of condensed frozen lemonade
1 pre made graham cracker crust
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Thaw out the can of frozen lemonade.

Beat with mixer (or a whisk) ingredients together (including the Cool Whip) until blended and smooth – let it chill in fridge until set (2 – 3 hours)

(Optional) Serve with cool whip on top!

No-Bake Creamy Strawberry Pie

Filling and Topping

1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
4 oz (half of 8-oz package) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
3 containers (6 oz each) Greek Fat Free strawberry yogurt
1 1/2 cups Cool Whip™ lite frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries


1 grahm cracker crumb crust (6 oz)

In 1-quart saucepan, place water; sprinkle with gelatin; let stand 1 minute. Heat over low heat, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly.

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add yogurt and gelatin mixture; beat on low speed until well blended. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

Before serving, garnish pie with additional whipped topping and sliced strawberries.

The Best Steak Marinade

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)

Place the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, and pepper in a blender. Add hot pepper sauce and garlic, if desired. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds until thoroughly mixed.

Pour marinade over desired type of meat. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 6-8 hours. Cook meat as desired.

No-Churn Cake Batter Ice Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups cake mix with candy bits (such as Pillsbury® Funfetti®), or more to taste

Beat cream with an electric mixer in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.

Stir condensed milk and cake mix together in another bowl. Fold cake mix mixture into whipped cream. Pour mixture into a freezer-safe container, cover the container, and freeze until ice cream is set, 6 hours to overnight.

Lemonade Dip

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 small container marshmallow creme
1/4 cup of lemonade drink mix (Annie uses Countrytime)

Mix all 3 ingredients together, chill, and serve with fruit or graham crackers.

**A note from Annie: “I’ve also used this in a trifle with angel food cake, strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream.  It always goes fast!

Chocolate Poke Cake

Box of chocolate cake mix
Jar of butterscotch ice cream topping
Container (or 2) of Cool Whip
Butterfinger bars

Make the chocolate cake mix and let the cake cool.  Then poke holes in the cake and pour the butterscotch on top.  Cover with cool whip.  Crush Butterfinger bars and sprinkle on top of the cool whip!

Peanut Butter Pie

2 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crusts
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 (8 ounce) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed

Mix together the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar. Cream well together.

Add vanilla and peanut butter and mix well.

Fold in 1 – 8 ounce container whipped dessert topping. Spoon into the pie shells. Then top each pie the remaining dessert topping. Chill before serving.

Happy Summer Punch

4 Quarts of Water
4 unsweetened packs of Strawberry Drink Mix (I use Kool Aid)
2 (46 fl oz) containers of Pineapple Juice
2 liters of Ginger Ale (OR Sprite)
3 cups of sugar (or sugar substitute)

Mix all ingredients together stirring well.  Let it chill in refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.  Delish!!

Poke Cake

1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 tub (8 oz.) Whipped Topping, thawed

Prepare cake batter and bake as directed on package for 13×9-inch pan. Cool cake in pan 15 min. Pierce cake with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals.  Add boiling water to gelatin mix in small bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water; pour over cake. Refrigerate 3 hours. Frost cake with whipped topping. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Jodi’s Homemade Slushies

1 cup of water
1 cup of ice cubes
1 packet of Kool Aid – any flavor
(you can use ½ of the pack for a milder taste)
1 – 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend/pulse until desired consistency.  TASTE – and add sugar by the teaspoonful until you get desired sweetness (that may depend on the sweetness in the ice cream)

Serve immediately!

Chocolate Éclair Cake


1 large (16oz) Cool Whip
3 boxes French vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
Graham crackers


¾ cup sugar
½ cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1½ block of margarine (6 sticks)
2 tsp vanilla

Mix filling and set aside

In a large sauce pan mix sugar, cocoa and milk for topping and bring to a boil.  Stir in margarine and vanilla.  Set aside to cool.

This recipe makes 1 9×13 pan or 2 8×8 pans

Lightly butter pan(s).  Place a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of the pan and top with a layer of filling.  Add another layer of graham crackers and filling and top with a final layer of graham crackers.  Pour topping over éclair cake, cover and refrigerate overnight ( or at least a few hours) before serving.

Frosted Lemonade

Add 1 part Fresh Lemonade (use fresh or Simply Lemonade liquid – don’t use powder)
1 part vanilla ice cream

Blend in blender.

You CAN add a tsp or 2 of Concentrated Frozen Lemonade for an extra kick!)

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

24 vanilla ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped
2 (8 ounce) containers whipped topping (such as Cool Whip®), thawed
1 (12 ounce) jar hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 (12 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped pecans, or to taste

Arrange a layer of ice cream sandwiches in the bottom of a 9×13-inch dish; top with a layer of whipped topping, hot fudge topping, and caramel topping. Repeat layering with remaining ice cream sandwiches, whipped topping, hot fudge topping, and caramel topping, ending with a top layer of whipped topping. Sprinkle with pecans. Cover dish with aluminum foil and freeze until set, at least 30 minutes.

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing with Croutons & Romaine

Caesar Salad Dressing:

6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TBP Dijon Mustard
1 TBP Vinegar
2 TBP Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Anchovy fillets

Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar and 2 pinches of salt in the blender and mix thoroughly. Add mayo and blend. Drizzle in olive oil, season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon. Add anchovies, blend. (Anchovies are VERY salty so keep that in mind when seasoning!)

Crouton ingredients:

Cubes of bread – use a good bread, French, baguette, etc.
3 TBP butter
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp paprika – I use smoked
1 teaspoon pepper

In a black iron skillet, melt the butter, add seasoning and stir. Throw in cubes of bread and toss until they begin to brown. Takes about 5 minutes, set aside to cool.

Salad ingredients:

Fresh grated
Parmesan cheese

Murphy’s Trick For The Best Burgers

Murphy makes the BEST burgers!!   He learned a trick from his friend Dave.  Here are the secrets to the BEST burgers ever:

1 – Buy good, quality meat.  And make sure its got fat.  Save lean meats for soup.
2 – Don’t OVER WORK the meat.  The more you mash and mix ground meat, it breaks down – changing the taste.
3 – Don’t over-season the meat.  Just use salt & a little pepper.  This honors the natural and GREAT flavor of the meat – that you’ve NOT over worked or over seasoned.
4 – Don’t mash down on it during cooking – that releases the tasty fat.

Recommendation:  Have a burger BAR for everyone to put what they want on their perfect burger.  Don’t put sauces and condiments IN the burger, put them on the bar.

Burger Buffet Bar:

Cheese slices
Shredded Cheese

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

1 1/2 – 2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 can Pet milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbs. vanilla
Add milk to fill line
Add all ingredients to ice cream maker and churn until done.

*You can also add crunched up cookies or candy bars or fruit for a nice treat!

This is Jodi’s family recipe.

Jodi’s Homemade Lemonade

4-6 lemons, juiced
1 cup sugar

Make simple syrup with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar (put in pot on stove on medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves).  Pour that into pitcher, then pour lemon juice (some pulp is good!), then fill pitcher with water and mix.  Taste it and see if it’s too sweet or too tangy and change accordingly!  This is for a regular pitcher size, not one of the big ones!

Cool Summer Eats 2023