It’s that time of the year – pool parties, cookouts, outside birthday parties, family picnics, grilling out with friends, and more. We are invited to different gatherings on almost a regular basis and with each new invite comes a new creative side dish we must shop for, cook, and bring to the party. It’s nice to see family and friends, but we also have to plan accordingly.
I recently met with Maria at Whole Foods again, and as always, the store was alive with activity. When we started chatting, she began thumbing through their local flyer which contained an array of easy summer recipes to make on a budget. What I really love about my visits to Whole Foods is that Maria always thinks about what recipes our readers will really love.
All of her suggestions blew me away. Here are some of our top favorite summer entertaining ideas on a budget, including a few unique pasta sides and a fun chocolate dessert!
Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes & “Hidden” Zucchini – (estimated $3.05/serving) Serves 4
*This recipe is unique because you roast the tomatoes and then actually grate the zucchini and squash into the pasta. The tomatoes soak up the sea salt, EVOO and basil flavors, and the zucchini and squash blend right into the pasta. Guests will appreciate the extra serving of veggies you secretly added to make this a delicious side dish!
- 6 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped basil, divided
- 1/2 pound whole wheat fusilli
- 2 zucchini or yellow squash, grated
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes on a large parchment-lined sheet tray, cut-sides up. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter 2 tablespoons Parmesan and 2 tablespoons basil evenly over top. Roast until juicy and bubbling, about 20 minutes; set aside.Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fusilli and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add zucchini, lemon juice, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan and 2 tablespoons basil. Toss to combine. Divide pasta among four plates, top with tomatoes and serve.