5 Simple Summer Recipes to Make at Home Yourself

A little secret a chef may tell you is that some of your favorite foods are quite simple to make yourself.

I learned this personally one summer while working in a local restaurant’s kitchen.  I realized that many of summer’s popular dips or side dishes are not that much more work making them from scratch than just buying them already prepared at a store.

5 Simple Summer Recipes to Make at Home Yourself  Pesto

So, I created a list of simple summer recipes for you that will make you feel like a master chef yourself when you make them from scratch.



  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 TBL chopped cilantro
  • ½ TBL salt

Optional add-ins: diced onion, diced tomato, diced jalapeño

Directions: Mash avocados and combine all ingredients in a bowl (yes, it is really that simple).

Whipped Cream


  • 1 cup Heavy whipping cream

Optional: For sweeter whipped cream add in 2-4 TBL powdered sugar.

Optional add-in flavorings (pick one): ½ tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp maple syrup, ½ lemon juice, and zest, etc.

Directions: Place mixing bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer for 15 mins (you can use a stand mixer or hand mixer).  Then, pour whipping cream (and optional ingredients including sugar or flavorings) into a mixing bowl and whisk at a medium to medium-high speed for approximately 7 minutes until stiff peaks form.  To tell if you have stiff peaks, remove the whisk from it and turn it upside down.  The cream should form a peak (picture a mountain) and will either slightly curl at the top or will be a firm stiff peak.



  • 1 Can Chickpeas
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • lemon juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 TBL extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ tsp cumin

Directions: Blend together ingredients in a food processor.  Add water 1 TBL at a time until desired consistency is reached.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl each time water is added.  Garnish with paprika.

Restaurant Style Salsa


  • 2 10 oz cans of diced Tomatoes
  • ½ onion
  • 1 jalapeno (halved and stem removed)
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup of cilantro
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar

Directions: Put ingredients into a blender. Blend to desired consistency.

For a pico de gallo style of salsa use fresh tomatoes, skip the blender, dice up all your ingredients, and combine in a bowl.



  • 2 cups Basil (leaves no stems)
  • 2 TBL pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup parmesan

Directions: Blend together basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor until finely minced.  While the food processor is running, slowly add in oil and blend until smooth.  Add the cheese and process just until cheese is mixed in.

I am certain some of you mamas will have a surplus of vegetables from your garden that you can use to make homemade dips or as vehicles for the dips. I have never been great at gardening, but I do have some basil growing in my kitchen.  I am so excited to make pesto using the fresh basil I have grown myself!

Which recipe are you dying to try? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page!

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Alex is a former cook and culinary arts graduate turned stay at home mom to her sweet heart warrior toddler, Wyatt. Alex moved to Cedar Rapids almost 10 years ago after graduating from UNI where she met her husband. While awaiting her husband to return home from his first deployment, she stays busy by having dance parties with Wyatt, taking her two dogs on long walks, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, reading, and watching reality tv.