Cooking Basics

Summer appetizers you'll love

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These taste tempting summer appetizers will delight you and your guests
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When the temperature sizzles, think cool when preparing summer appetizers.

Summer is the best time of the year for entertaining guests. Here are a few recipes for summer appetizers sure to make the best of your warm weather get togethers.

Mango cucumber salsa This is wonderful combination of flavors to enhance practically any meal.

* 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into ¼ cubes * 1 mango, peeled and diced into ¼ cubes * 4 tbsp red onions, finely diced * 1 lime (juice only) * ½ tsp rice wine vinegar or white vinegar * ½ jalapeno (very finely minced) * 2-3 sliced sweet peppers, diced into ¼-inch pieces

Mix all the ingredients together and let sit in the fridge for thirty minutes or more; then serve with tortilla chips, chicken, or on top of a bed of greens.

Shrimp cocktail One of the best-loved summer appetizers, this traditional will not disappoint anyone.

* 20 or so shelled, cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined * 1 orange * cilantro (fresh) * salt and pepper * green olives * hot pepper sauce * crushed ice (for the serving dish)

Peel, section and coarsely chop an orange. Toss gently with the shrimp, an egg-sized heap of snipped cilantro and a little salt and pepper. Serve with ice, extra orange wedges, green olives and hot pepper sauce.

Bacon stuffed cherry tomatoes These are pretty to see and a delight to eat!

* 2 pints cherry tomatoes * ¾ cup mayonnaise * ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese * ½ bunch green onions, finely chopped * ¼ tsp garlic powder * 16-oz package of bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled

Cut the top off each cherry tomato and using a melon baller or sharp knife, scoop out the seeds and most of the pulp. Place the tomatoes upside down on a paper towel and let them drain. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and then stuff each cherry tomato with the bacon mixture. Chill in the fridge for about two hours and serve.

Brushetta with tomato basil topping A favorite among summer appetizers, this one will be sure to bring smiles around your table. This recipe is adjustable according to the number of people you will be serving.

* fresh tomatoes, chopped into small pieces * fresh basil * French stick or Italian loaf bread * parmesan cheese * feta * olive oil

Grill the bread and then brush the warm loaf with olive oil. Top with tomatoes and basil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. If desired, crumble feta on top.

Lime shrimp tapas A hot and spicy shrimp dish to match the summer heat. A truly tasty summer appetizer.

* 2 tbsp butter * 1 tsp flour * ¼ tsp salt * ¼ tsp paprika * 2 minced garlic cloves * 24 large, peeled and deveined shrimp * ½ cup triple sec * 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley * crushed red pepper flakes * lime wedges

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add flour, salt, paprika and garlic. Sauté, stirring constantly for two minutes. Stir in the shrimp and triple sec; sauté for five minutes, stirring frequently until shrimp turns pink and sauce thickens slightly. Sprinkle with parsley and red pepper flakes and serve shrimp on small wooden skewers with small lime wedges.

Chunky tomato fruit gazpacho One of the most exciting summer appetizers on the menu, this recipe serves seven.

* 2 cups finely chopped tomatoes (about ¾ pound) * 2 cups finely diced honeydew melon (about ¾ pound) * 2 cups finely diced cantaloupe (3/4 pound) * 1 cup finely diced mango (1 medium) * 1 cup finely diced and seeded, peeled cucumber (1 medium) * 1 cup finely diced nectarines (3 medium) * 1 cup fresh orange juice * ½ cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion * ¼ cup chopped fresh basil * 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint * 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice * 1 tsp sugar * ½ tsp salt * 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl, cover and chill for two hours. Serve and enjoy!

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