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Indoors or out, this summer menu makes the most of seasonal favorites. 

chilled cantaloupe soup

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

This cool, refreshing melon and citrus soup is perfect for a day when it is too hot to cook. Have it with a hearty, protein-filled sandwich on whole grain bread for a filling meal.

Makes 6 servings.


  • 1 cantaloupe (peeled, seeded, and cubed)
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)


  1. Wash hands with soap and warm water.
  2. Place cantaloupe and 1/2 cup orange juice in a container of a blender or food processor.
  3. Cover with lid and blend until smooth. Transfer to large bowl.
  4. Stir in lime juice, cinnamon, and remaining orange juice.
  5. Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  6. Serve chilled.

For nutrition information, please visit Chilled Cantaloupe Soup at USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen.

chicken salad on a bed of lettuce

Any Day's a Picnic Chicken Salad

Onion and pickle relish spice up a traditional chicken salad.

Makes 6 servings.


  • 2 1/2 cups chicken breast (cooked, diced)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2/3 tablespoon pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (light)


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Combine all ingredients.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Use within 1-2 days. Chicken salad does not freeze well.

How to use:

  1. Make chicken salad sandwiches.
  2. Make a pasta salad by mixing with 2 cups cooked pasta.
  3. Kids will love this salad served in a tomato or a cucumber boat.

For nutrition information, please visit Any Day's a Picnic Chicken Salad at USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen.

beans and rice with bell pepper on top

Black Bean and Rice Salad

Full of protein, fiber, and flavor, this salad works well as a side dish or stands alone as a main dish. It can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

Makes 3 servings.


  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper (green or red, chopped)
  • 1 cup brown rice (or white rice, cooked and cooled)
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounce, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
  • mustard powder (1/2 teaspoon, optional)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together onion, red or green pepper, rice and beans.
  3. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, add vinegar, dry mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and vegetable oil. Shake until dressing is evenly mixed.
  4. Pour dressing over bean mixture and stir to mix evenly. Chill for at least one hour. Serve cold as a side dish or main dish.

For nutrition information, please visit Black Bean and Rice Salad at USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen.

grilled vegetables

Grilled Vegetables

Cooking out tonight? Try cooking vegetables coated in oil and garlic on the grill for a delicious side dish. If you don't have a grill, you can make these vegetables in the oven.

Makes 6 servings.



  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Mix oil and garlic in a large bowl. Add vegetables and toss.
  3. Place vegetable on broiler pan or grill. Cook 10 minutes, turning twice until vegetables are tender.
  4. Place vegetables on platter. Serve.

For nutrition information, please visit Grilled Vegetables at USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen.

corn bread

Corn Bread

Make this corn bread recipe the classic way or jazz it up by adding chili powder, whole corn, or even blueberries to give a yummy twist to a basic recipe.

Makes 12 servings.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour (all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk, non-fat


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 8- or 9-inch square pan.
  3. Measure cornmeal, flour, sugar, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine ingredients.
  4. Crack egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork to combine white and yolk.
  5. Add egg, oil, and milk to flour mixture. Mix until ingredients are well blended.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until firm to touch or wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Create-a-Flavor Changes:

Buttermilk Corn Bread. Use only 2 teaspoons baking powder and add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Substitute 1 cup buttermilk for skim milk.
Whole Wheat Corn Bread. Use 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour.
Corny Corn Bread. Add 1 cup kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned, well drained) with the milk.
Cheesy Corn Bread. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese with the milk.
Chili Cheese Corn Bread. Add 1/2 teaspoon chili powder to the flour mixture. Drain one 4-ounce can chopped green chilies. Add chilies and 1/4 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese with the milk.
Blueberry Corn Bread. Fold 1 cup blueberries (fresh, frozen, or canned, well drained) into the batter.
Corn Bread Muffins. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

For nutrition information, please visit Corn Bread at USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen.

peach crisp

Peach Crisp

The perfect dessert when peaches are in season. Simple to prepare but absolutely scrumptious.

Makes 6 servings.


  • 4 peaches (4 cups sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Slice the peaches.
  4. Spread the peach slices on the bottom of the baking pan.
  5. Melt the margarine in a saucepan.
  6. In a small bowl, mix everything but the peaches. Stir until the mix is well blended.
  7. Sprinkle the oat mix on top of the peaches.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.

For nutrition information, please visit Peach Crisp at USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen.

fruit slush

Fruit Slush

Serve this fruit slush as a drink or a dessert, and keep leftovers in the fridge for later. Pour it over fresh ice when your are ready to eat.

Makes 4 servings.


  • 2 2/3 cups cantaloupe or watermelon (coarsely chopped, seeded, peeled)
  • kiwi (1 2/3 cup coarsely chopped, optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 cups water
  • ice


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. In a blender, puree fruit with sugar and lime juice until smooth.
  3. Combine fruit mixture and water in a large pitcher.
  4. If desired, pour through a strainer to eliminate pulp.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for up to a week.
  6. To serve, stir well and pour into tall glasses over ice.

For nutrition information, please visit Fruit Slush at USDA’s MyPlate Kitchen.