Summer bash: Try watermelon coolers, veggie chips, more

Summer has finally arrived, so why not celebrate the season by throwing a fun and festive backyard bash. Here, Better Homes and Gardens contributing editor Elaine Griffin makes watermelon-mint coolers, Trisha Yearwood's vegetable pies, and fresh vegetable chips with caramelized onion dip.

Fresh vegetable chips
Servings:

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

  • For chips:

    • 12 oz. large red radishes, trimmed (1 bunch)
    • 1 small jicama, peeled
    • 1 large daikon, peeled
    • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
    • 1 1⁄4 tsp. salt
    • 1⁄4 tsp. sugar
    • 1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 4 tsp. finely shredded lime peel
    • 1 recipe Caramelized Onion Dip
  • For dip:

    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 large onions, chopped (2 cups)
    • 2 tsp. sugar
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1⁄2 cups light sour cream
    • 2⁄3 cup light mayonnaise
    • 1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper

Preparation

Baking Directions:

For chips:1. Slice radishes, jicama, and daikon about 1/4 inch thick. Halve large slices of jicama. Transfer vegetables to platter.2. In a small bowl, combine smoked paprika, salt, sugar, pepper, and lime peel.3. To serve, scatter paprika mixture over vegetables.For onion dip:1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. of salt; toss. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook and stir onions until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Stir in garlic.2. In a medium bowl combine the cooled onion mixture, sour cream, mayonnaise, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper. Cover; chill 1 hour to blend flavors.3. Transfer to a serving bowl; stir.

Trisha Yearwood's vegetable pies
Servings:

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 cup peeled and chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
    • 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
    • 1 large yellow squash, thinly sliced
    • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
    • 1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (4 to 6 oz.)
    • 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (4 to 6 oz.)
    • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch slices
    • 2 9-inch deep-dish pie shells, prebaked as directed
    • 1 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes; don't let it brown. Add onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and 1/4 tsp. each of the salt and pepper. Cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Divide the mixture in half.3. Mix the mayonnaise and cheeses and set aside. Layer the sliced tomatoes in the bottom of the baked piecrusts. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the remaining salt and pepper. Layer the squash mixture on top of the tomatoes, then layer the water chestnuts. Top each pie with half of the mayonnaise and cheese mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Allow the dish to stand for 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Watermelon-mint coolers
Servings:

Serves 5.

Ingredients

    • 3 1⁄4 lbs. seedless watermelon, chopped (5 cups)
    • 1⁄4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
    • 1⁄2 cup sugar
    • 1⁄2 cup water
    • 1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
    • 3⁄4 tsp. aromatic bitters
    • 4 to 5 cups ginger ale, chilled

Preparation

Baking Directions:

1. In a blender container, place watermelon and puree until smooth. In a small heatproof bowl, use a wooden spoon to mash mint leaves and 1/4 cup of the sugar; add 1/4 cup of the water. Microwave on high until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mint leaves to blender, leaving sugar in bowl. Blend until mint is chopped. 2. To bowl of sugar mixture, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Microwave until sugar dissolves into a syrup, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and chill. 3. To serve, strain watermelon mixture into an iced-filled pitcher or jar; stir in syrup, lime juice, and bitters. Divide watermelon mixture among ice-filled glasses; top with ginger ale. Garnish with mint sprigs. Makes 8 servings. Make ahead: Cover and chill watermelon mixture up to 8 hours.

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