By Megan O'Connell, Alumna of University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Summer is one of my favorite seasons because of all the yummy produce that grows in Wisconsin. I can visit a local farmers market on Saturdays to stock up on tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and so much more!
Another thing I’ve always enjoyed about the beginning of summer is morel hunting. I have always gone morel hunting with my father as a kid growing up and continue to look for this tasty delicacy every late spring. Though I haven’t had much luck in the past few years, I see people posting pictures of them all over Facebook and get insanely jealous! If you can afford to splurge on these guys, you can buy them online. Definitely worth it!
As if hunting these mushrooms wasn’t exciting enough, I was driving down the street with my boyfriend the other day and he informed that asparagus grows in ditches! And so of course we had to go asparagus picking alongside the road in ditches until I had enough to last a few days. Check out this great article and video on finding wild asparagus.
The amazing foods Mother Nature offers us in our own backyards is something that we should really take advantage of. Of course, eating wild foods can be risky, as there are a lot of poisonous imposters, so be careful to do your research before eating anything wild. You can download a free guide to wild edible plants here.
On the topic of delicious summer recipes, listed below are five of my favorite summer eats!
Tropical Smoothie (serves 1)
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 1 whole banana
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 tsp. honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until all the ingredients are finely mixed.
Strawberry Banana Popsicles (serves 4)
- 4 cups V8 Fusion Strawberry Banana juice
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 cup sliced bananas
Combine your juice and fruit into a big pitcher and pour into popsicle containers. You may need to make less or more, depending on the size of your popsicle containers (mine makes four). Popsicle containers are a definite summer investment. I bought mine at the Dollar Tree and haven’t looked back. Even if I don’t have fresh fruit in the house, I just pour juice into them. It’s much more cheap and more delicious than store-bought popsicles!
Salmon over Rice (serves 2)
- 2 salmon fillets
- 2 cups rice
- 1 sliced avocado
Optional Salmon Rub:
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your rub by combining all spices and rubbing them into both sides of your salmon fillets. Place each salmon fillet into its own tin foil pouch and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Prepare rice as directed on package. Serve the salmon over the rice and place the sliced avocado on top of the salmon. Easy, delicious and healthy summer meal!
Grilled Corn on the Cob
- However many ears of corn you desire
Heat up the grill and put your corn on the top rack without being peeled at all! After about half an hour, you will have some of the best corn on the cob ever, sans the butter and seasonings. The flavor from the grill is all the flavor you need. Plus, the husks and silks peel off really easily. So tasty and so simple!
- Chocolate Bars
- Graham Crackers
OK, so s’mores aren’t healthy, but I always say that it’s important to treat yourself once in awhile, and s’mores are a summer necessity. S’mores are pretty self-explanatory … roast your marshmallow and place it between your two graham cracker halves and chocolate. I’ve seen some pretty awesome s’more variations, including using saltines instead of the graham crackers and a caramel instead of the chocolate and switching out the chocolate bar for a peanut butter cup. No matter how you switch it up, s’mores are delicious, and it’s not summer until you have a s’more. So do it however you have to do it — over the fire, over the grill or in the microwave — and make yourself a s’more because summer is almost officially here!
If you’re interested in seeing ‘s'more’ of my summer cooking adventures, follow me on Twitter @meg_ocon or on Instagram @meg_ocon. I’m always posting pictures of my food! I’d also love to hear what some of your favorite summer recipes are!