10 Quick and Easy Summer Treats

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KEEPING COOL IN THE KITCHEN

One of the challenges of summer is staying cool without spending a lot of money on air-conditioning and ice cream. With lots of fresh produce on grocery store shelves, it's easy to whip up inexpensive treats to help keep the heat at bay. Cheapism.com rounded up some of the best quick and easy recipes for summer.

SPARKLING JUICE

As temperatures climb, cool down with a little sparkle in your juice. Simply pour a container of your favorite juice concentrate into a pitcher and add as much chilled seltzer as you would regular water. Store the sparkly juice in a closed container in the refrigerator.

NO-COOK CHOPPED SALAD

We were inspired by SmittenKitchen's recipe for a chopped salad using feta cheese, lime, and fresh mint. Mix 3 cups of chopped vegetables (suggestions include radishes, cucumbers, cooked but still crunchy green beans), 1/2 cup of crumbled feta, two sliced scallions, 2 tablespoons of chopped mint, and 1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds. Separately, whisk 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, mix, and serve.

ICE CREAM

AllRecipes has a no-brainer recipe for vanilla ice cream, easily concocted with the help of any cheap ice cream maker. All you need is 4 cups of half-and-half, 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract. Mix the ingredients together, pour into the container, and follow the instructions that go with your machine. Alternatively, mix the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla and then add 2 cups of whipping cream; pour into a 2-quart container or a 9x5 baking pan, cover, and freeze for six hours.

GRILLED PEACHES

Stone fruit is sweet and plentiful in summer and heat from a cheap outdoor grill only intensifies the flavors. Brush peach halves with canola oil after pitting them and cook until you see telltale grill marks. Eat as is, toss into a salad, or slather them with homemade vanilla ice cream.

CHILLED WATERMELON

Watermelon has cooling and restorative properties, and summer is its high season. Cut a fat one into cubes and chill in the freezer. Serve with a squeeze of lime, which brings out the sweetness of the fruit.

ICE POPS

Investing a few dollars in an ice pop mold allows you to make these cool treats all summer long. Pour orange juice, lemonade, or fresh-brewed tea into the molds and freeze for a few hours.

SALSA

With tomatoes plentiful and cheap at the grocery store, it's the perfect time to make fresh salsa. Chop three or four tomatoes, add a few jalapenos, half an onion, some salt, and a squeeze of lime and you have a delicious bowl of salsa to top everything from eggs to hamburgers.

STRAWBERRY TARTS

Take advantage of one of the most delicious summer fruits with these tasty treats from Jazzy Vegetarian. Cut some fresh whole-grain tortillas into four-inch rounds. Mix 1/4 cup of maple syrup with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and coat the tortilla rounds, placing them on a baking sheet. Mix 2 cups of sliced strawberries with a tablespoon of maple syrup and spread on the tortillas. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. Once cooked, cover each tart with strawberry preserves. Let cool, and serve with a mint leaf on top.

CUCUMBER SALAD

Be cool as a cucumber with this crunchy and tangy salad. Cucumbers are actually fruits but are often classified as vegetables, which helps keep their price low. Chop three cucumbers and half a red onion, dress with olive oil and wine vinegar. You can eat right away marinate for a richer flavor.

GRILLED CORN

Big, juicy ears of corn go for about 50 cents apiece in the high season and offer lots of sweet satisfaction. Caramelize the sugars on a hot grill before slathering with lime, chili powder, and grated cheese for a delicious take on this Mexican street food staple.