Delightful Spring and Summer Dishes


Courtesy of Dinner At The Zoo

Make delicious appetizers, dishes, and desserts for your family and friends this season!

Faith DeSio, Photojournalist

With summer right around the corner, it is important to discover all the summer foods and treats that come with the delightful season. The hot weather brings along sweet, seasonal fruits and savory dishes for friends and family to enjoy. Summertime embodies a carefree and playful attitude, and our food should embody that feeling. 

One idea for a fun, fresh spin on a traditional appetizer is adding seasonal fruit to the dish. An easy appetizer that will be a hit among summer parties is the classic flatbread recipe. A summer play on this dish includes strawberries, which come into full season at the beginning of the season, and balsamic vinegar. The savory and sweet appetizer readies the pallet for further summer flavors and is light enough to compliment any dinner. The recipe is as follows:


  • 2 flatbreads
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh basil


  1. Wash and slice strawberries. Slice or chiffonade basil leaves. 
  2. Place strawberries, basil, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl to marinate while you prepare the flatbread. 
  3. Place 1/4 cup of mozzarella on each flatbread. Broil in the oven until slightly brown. Let cool for a few minutes. 
  4. Place marinated strawberries and basil on top of the flatbread. Add more basil for a garnish if desired. 
  5. Slice and enjoy! (SUBURBANSIMPLICITY) 

Another delicious dish is a summer entree that proves popular among all tastes includes a spin on pizza. Using individual skillets to create custom pizzas for guests allows them to choose what toppings they would specifically like. A great way to capitalize on summer flavors is to offer fresh cilantro, pineapple, and basil as topping options. Fresh summer vegetables such as summer squash and zucchini are also seasonal favorites. Even more fun is the ability to cook these pizzas outside in a pizza oven. If a pizza oven is not available, alternate recipes are available that offer cooking tips for making pizzas on the barbeque. As follows is a recipe for homemade individual skillet pizzas.



  • 1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup water at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
  • 1/2 onion, peeled
  • Kosher salt


  • 1 1/2 cups grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh oregano or thyme leaves
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Torn fresh basil leaves


  1. In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. When you’re ready to shape your pizzas, turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter, being careful not to deflate too much of the air in the dough. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide the dough in half. Working with one half of the dough at a time, grab a corner of the dough and pull it up and over to the center. Continue to grab the corners of the dough, pulling towards the center to form a taut ball. Pinch together the seams of the dough, and then flip it over so that the seam is facing down. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
  3. Pour a generous amount of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) into two 9-inch iron skillets. Swirl the oil around to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Place one dough round into each skillet and turn to coat in the oil. Flip the dough rounds so that they are seam-side-down, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours. About 1 hour into the proofing, turn the oven on to 550 degrees, or as high as it will go.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and the onion half and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and flavorful for about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the onion half. Season to taste with salt.
  5. To top and cook the pizzas: After 2 hours of proofing, unwrap the skillets. Use your fingers to press the dough out until it reaches the sides of the skillets and pops any large bubbles that you see. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce onto each dough round and top with the cheese. Sprinkle the fresh oregano over the cheese and bake for about, 10 to 15 minutes until well browned.
  6. Immediately sprinkle the top of the pizzas with Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle basil leaves over the top, then slice and serve. (SOUTHERNKITCHEN) 

A great ending to a summer evening is a delicious dessert. Since most summer festivities involve multiple people, a great way to feed a group is to make dessert dips. The following recipe takes a popular classic and turns it into a one-of-a-kind dip. 


  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips – Guittard or Ghirardelli is recommended
  • 1 bag large marshmallows
  • graham crackers, cookies, and fruit for serving.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pour the chocolate chips into an 8 or 9-inch skillet.
  3. Bake for 3-4 minutes or until chocolate is melted.
  4. Arrange the marshmallows over the top of the chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 2-3 minutes or until the marshmallows are browned.
  6. Serve immediately with graham crackers, cookies, and fruit for dipping. (DINNERATTHEZOO)

Summer is for friends, family, and eating delicious foods. One student who loves to bake, Avery Omens (9), states “I’m so excited to make a lemon loaf with my mom, it’s one of our favorite treats in the summer!” These recipes are great additions to any summer meal plan. Remember to incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables into classic dishes to add a touch of summertime flavor. Here’s to summer dining and good times!