Here are festive summer recipe treats.

Here are festive summer recipe treats.


Chicken Salad with Grapes

1 large chicken, cooked and cut into ½ (one half)-inch to 1-inch chunks

½ cup light mayonnaise

½ cup fat-free sour cream

milk for thinning

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1 small sweet onion, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 teaspoons celery powder or seeds

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

3-4 tablespoons sweet pickle juice

½ cup grapes, cut in half

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped (Optional)

Lettuce leaves

Chill cooked chicken and cut up into ½ -inch to 1 inch chunks. Place in large bowl.

In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, celery powder or seeds, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly, add milk if it’s too thick. Add chopped sweet pickles and pickle juice, stir to mix thoroughly. Stir in onion and celery.

Pour dressing over chicken; fold in grapes and fresh chopped parsley. Chill in refrigerator, when ready to serve fold in toasted walnuts. Serve cold over lettuce leaves.


Party Cole Slaw

1 pound coarsely chopped cabbage, ½ green and ½ red

1 pint fresh blueberries

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup dark raisins


½ cup sour cream

¼ cup light mayonnaise

½ cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vinegar

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

½ teaspoon celery seed

Pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a bowl whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, orange juice, vinegar, sugar, and celery seed. Add cabbage and toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Just before serving gently fold in blueberries and nuts. Serve immediately.


Chicken Burgers with Ricotta

1 pound ground chicken

1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup ricotta cheese

1 large Vidalia onion, sliced into thin rings

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 whole wheat hamburger buns

¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dill weed seed

4 lettuce leaves

1 large tomato, cut into thin slices

In a bowl combine ground chicken, Worcestershire sauce, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well. Form into 4 chicken burgers.

In a frying pan sauté onion rings in butter for about 12-15 minutes until caramelized or lightly browned. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix together mayonnaise and dill. Set aside and chill in refrigerator.

Heat frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil then chicken burgers cook about 4-6 minutes on each side. Cover pan and cook for another 5-6 minutes until done or measures 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. Place burgers on buns, add cooked onions, tomato slices, lettuce, and mayonnaise dressing.


Salmon Salad with Apples

½ pound baby red-skinned potatoes, cut into quarter wedges

½ cup sour cream

Pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Juice of one lemon

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon EVOO, olive oil

12 ounces fresh cooked salmon or drained canned salmon

4 cups romaine lettuce, cut into bite size pieces

6 radishes, thinly sliced

1 Granny Smith green apple, thinly sliced

¼ cup fresh flat parsley, chopped

Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water, add pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes; drain.

In a bowl stir together ¼ cup water, sour cream, lemon juice, horseradish, 1-tablespoon olive oil, and pinch of salt and pepper, pour into a blender and puree until smooth.

Flake cooked or canned salmon into large pieces.

Toss the potatoes with the lettuce pieces, radishes, apple, and parsley; add dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add salmon to salad and toss, serve.


Peas and Parsley with Farfalle Pasta and Shrimp

1 pound fresh medium size shrimp, peeled and deveined, and flash cooked

1 package frozen peas, defrosted or 1 cup fresh shelled peas, steamed for 2-3 minutes

1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

1/3 cup pine nuts (Optional)

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tablespoons water, use water from peas

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

10 ounces Farfalle Pasta, cooked according to package directions

Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish

In a blender or food processor combine parsley, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and 1-2 tablespoons. Blend until a soft paste forms, add olive oil, salt and pepper, blend.

Cook Farfalle according to package instructions. About 2 minutes before end of cooking time in a strainer add peas and cook for 2 minutes. Drain peas and set aside. Drain pasta, reserving 1- cup of the liquid. In a large bowl pour Farfalle, stir in peas and gently toss mixture with about ¾ of a cup of parsley mixture. Toss to mix completely, use reserved pasta liquid to make parsley mixture like a sauce over the Farfalle.

Stir in flash cooked shrimp and pine nuts just before serving. You may toast the pine nuts for a nutty flavor.


Fresh Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

2 pre-made piecrusts

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

5-6 tablespoons cornstarch or 3-4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 cups fresh rhubarb, scrubbed, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces ( 2-3 stalks)

Pinch salt

3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place one pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate.

Gently combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, flour, and salt. Arrange half the rhubarb pieces on the bottom of the pie plate pastry, top with half of the strawberry mixture; repeat these 2 steps. Dot top of fruit mixture with small pieces of butter evenly distributed. Place top pie crust over fruit mixture and crimp edges and cut some vents in the top of pastry.

Brush top of pie with 1- tablespoon milk and sprinkle granulated sugar or coarse sugar over the top of pie crust. Cut 4 small vents into the top. Place pie on a cookie sheet to prevent oven spillage. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until filling is tender and crust is golden. Place foil strips on pie crust edge if it is beginning to brown too much, remove when finished baking. Serve warm or cold with heavy cream, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.