Whether it’s a pool party, barbeque or picnic, July is a month full of outdoor summer fun—and that means thinking “outside the kitchen” when planning summertime meals.
The good news is that summer is also full of fresh seasonal produce, so you can think “outside the grocery store” and pay a visit to your local farmer or farmers’ market for a variety of delicious, fresh-picked fruits and vegetables that add flavor, color and nutrients to any meal.
What better accompaniment to fresh produce than 100% real, natural cheese? Made with just five simple ingredients—milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes and annatto, a natural colorant—natural cheese is a nutritious dairy food that adds a source of protein and calcium to your summer menu along with great taste—whether on the grill, in a picnic basket, or as part of a snack platter for the patio.
Here are some summertime recipes that combine natural cheese with farm-fresh summer fruits and vegetables that are sure to be crowd-pleasers.
Fire up the flavor. Try adding a Southwestern flair to burgers with the Southwest Caesar Burger. Made with a Tex-Mex topping of grilled fresh corn, red bell pepper, onion and jalapeno peppers and topped with Sargento Sliced Colby Jack Cheese, these burgers add a flavorful twist to a cookout favorite.
Serve up summer sides. Tomatoes love warm weather, and cherry tomatoes are ripe and coming off the vine! Combine them with fresh corn, green onions, celery and your choice of Sargento® Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese or Sargento® Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese in the Country Garden Picnic Salad for a refreshing side dish.
Keep snacking simple and smart. Natural cheese snacks make a nutritious, satisfying snack on their own or as a complement to fresh vegetables in a party platter or paired with summer fruits. With nearly 15 Sargento Natural Cheese Snacks varieties, there are flavors to satisfy any snack cravings without sacrificing on taste—all for 90 calories or fewer per serving. Include Sargento Colby Jack or String Cheese Snacks along with your favorite summer veggies, like cucumbers, zucchini and sugar snap peas in the Hummus Snack Platter. Or make Caprese Skewers with Sargento Natural String Cheese Snacks, grape or cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves from the garden. For a fruit-filled snack, pair Sargento Colby Jack and Mild Cheddar Cheese Snacks with summer fruits like grapes, melon and strawberries for a simple Fruity Cheese Kabob.
Pat is the Executive Director of Nutrition and Wellness for GolinHarris, located in the Chicago office.
Pat has a B.S. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and a M.S. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is a registered dietitian and a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.