Kelsey's Essential Summer Recipes

Kelsey Nixon knows a think or two about entertaining with ease. Make summer cookouts, picnics and potlucks extra special with her easy, tasty recipes.

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Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Emmer Schmidt

Photo By: Emmer Schmidt

Photo By: Emmer Schmidt

Photo By: Emmer Schmidt

Photo By: Emmer Schmidt

Sweet and Sour Barbecued Picnic Drums

Take the flavors of your favorite Chinese takeout and pack them in these grilled chicken drumsticks. A little marmalade and crushed red pepper flakes go a long way.

Get the Recipe: Sweet and Sour Barbequed Picnic Drums

Dos Leches Strawberry Cake

Stack up your summer dessert with fresh whipped cream and condensed-milk-soaked shortcakes. You won't regret it.

Get the Recipe: Dos Leches Strawberry Cake

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

The secret ingredient to keep these muffins from drying out is sour cream, which adds a nice tang to the classic blueberry recipe.

Get the Recipe: Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Stuffed French Toast with Fresh Strawberry Jam and Blueberries

Step up your French toast game with cream cheese and strawberry jam stuffed inside.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed French Toast with Fresh Strawberry Jam and Blueberries

Mango Salsa

Pump up your salsa's flavor with a mix of sweet (from ripe mangoes) and spicy (from serrano chiles).

Get the Recipe: Mango Salsa

Sugar Cookie Crust Fruit Pizza

Layer sliced seasonal fruits in concentric circles atop a giant sugar cookie for a sweet take on a pizza pie.

Get the Recipe: Sugar Cookie Crust Fruit Pizza

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork

Kelsey's slow-cooked pork is the perfect recipe for the busy professional or mom on the go. Set it in the morning, forget it all day and come home in the evening to a flavorful, fork-tender meal that melts in your mouth.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Shredded Pork

Charred Corn Salad With Basil Vinaigrette

Charred sweet corn is a welcome side at any backyard gathering, but when dressed with a rich basil vinaigrette and tossed with tomatoes, it's a standout side exploding with summer flavors.

Get the Recipe: Charred Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

POMEGRANATE GLAZED SKIRT STEAK FAJITAS

These are no ordinary fajitas. Kelsey rubs skirt steak with a garlic, chile, cumin and sugar mixture, then serves the grilled fare with a homemade pomegranate glaze for a sweet finish.

Get the Recipe: Pomegranate Glazed Skirt Steak Fajitas

Quick Coleslaw

Kelsey's simple coleslaw calls for just seven ingredients and can be prepared in 10 minutes or less, so you can whip it up on your way out the door for your next backyard barbecue or potluck party.

Get the Recipe: Quick Coleslaw

Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Icebox Cake

Kelsey updates the no-bake icebox cake with a classic trio of flavors: chocolate, peanut butter and banana. This decadent layered cake will remind you that sometimes one slice just isn't enough.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Icebox Cake

Classic Macaroni Salad

Kelsey's macaroni salad has the perfect balance of chewy, crunchy and creamy textures, and fresh dill gives a refreshing burst of herby flavor.

Get the Recipe: Classic Macaroni Salad

Asian Chicken Burger

Kelsey's flavorful chicken burger gets its Asian edge from chili sauce-infused mayo, hoisin- and soy sauce-flavored patties, and pickled Asian slaw with ginger.

Get the Recipe: Asian Chicken Burger with Spicy Lemongrass Mayo and Pickled Asian Slaw

Sinless Sangria

Kelsey's virgin sangria starts with a sparkling grape juice base, plus cranberry, lime and orange juices for sweet tang and color. She mixes in strawberries, citrus and mint, but you can feel free to use any fruit and fresh herbs you have on hand.

Get the Recipe: Sinless Sangria

S'mores Bars

It's hard to improve on the classically simple s'more, but Kelsey might have done just that with her marshmallowy, chocolately s'mores bar recipe.

Get the Recipe: S'mores Bars

Fried Quick Pickles with Buttermilk Ranch Dippin’ Sauce

Kelsey's crunchy, tangy quick pickles become hearty barbecue sides when breaded and fried to a golden-brown finish.

Get the Recipe: Fried Quick Pickles with Buttermilk Ranch Dippin' Sauce

Fresh Herb Salad with Burrata

Creamy burrata cheese and a variety of summer herbs top crostini for a light, flavorful summer appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Herb Salad with Burrata

Fresh Peaches and Cream Tart

Is there anything better than fresh peaches? Perhaps, if you count this easy open-faced tart. The rustic style means you can spend less time crimping the perfect crust and more time eating peach pie, topped with vanilla ice cream, of course.

Get the Recipe: Fresh Peaches and Cream Rustic Pie

Pressed Picnic Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoncini Spread

Planning a picnic? Make this pressed sandwich first thing in the morning and put it in the refrigerator for 4 hours with a pan on top of it. This will help condense and flatten the sandwich as well as marry all those deliciously salty flavors.

Get the Recipe: Pressed Picnic Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper and Pepperoncini Spread

Herby Potato Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

A smoky bacon-herb dressing makes this potato salad irresistible.

Get the Recipe: Herby Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Vanilla Bean Lemonade

Kelsey adds vanilla bean paste to her homemade lemonade recipe, adding aromatic sweetness to the classic cooling summer beverage.

Get the Recipe: Vanilla Bean Lemonade

Shredded Pork and Pineapple Tacos

Adorn Kelsey's slow-cooked shredded pork with quick pickled red onions and an array of garnishes for a winning fiesta dish.

Get the Recipe: Shredded Pork and Pineapple Tacos

Grilled Picnic Corn

Kelsey spreads grilled corn with a mixture of cilantro, garlic, chili powder and lime juice and then rolls it in Romano cheese for a spicy, tangy take on the classic barbecue side.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Picnic Corn

S'mores Pudding Pie

Transform a campfire classic treat into pie form by topping a graham cracker crust with chocolate pudding pie filling. Gooey toasted marshmallows add just the right finishing touch.

Get the Recipe: S'mores Pudding Pie

Ratatouille Tart with Caramelized Onion-Tomato Jam

Ratatouille, the inspiration for Kelsey's rustic tart, is a traditional French dish made of stewed vegetables, including tomatoes, onions, zucchini, squash and eggplant. This recipe is topped with goat cheese and fresh oregano –– a tangy, tasty and summery spin on the classic.

Get the Recipe: Ratatouille Tart with Caramelized Onion-Tomato Jam

Pan Seared Pacific Cod With Cilantro Vinaigrette and Creamed Corn

Turn sweet summer corn into a creamy base for seared cod fillets, and brighten the dish by topping with a zesty cilantro vinaigrette.

Get the Recipe: Pan Seared Pacific Cod with Cilantro Vinaigrette and Creamed Corn

Tangy Maple Baked Beans with Applewood Smoked Bacon

Applewood-smoked bacon lends its sweet-smoky flavor to these baked beans, which are nicely balanced by opposing cider vinegar and maple syrup.

Get the Recipe: Tangy Maple Baked Beans with Applewood Smoked Bacon

Antipasto Summer Lettuce Wraps

Kelsey chops the ingredients for a traditional antipasto platter, tosses them in a red wine vinaigrette, then serves the mixture up in Bibb lettuce for a playful spin on a classic Italian appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Antipasto Summer Lettuce Wraps

Tres Leches Bread Pudding

Who knew you could bake dessert in your slow cooker? Kelsey's recipe for Tres Leches Bread Pudding is ready in four hours. Don't forget the cinnamon-sugar sauce that takes it to the next level.

Get the Recipe: Tres Leches Bread Pudding

Fried Green Tomato BLT with Sweet Basil Mayo

Kelsey dips sliced green tomatoes in buttermilk batter before dredging them in a combination of rice flour and cornmeal and then frying. The result is a wonderfully crispy twist on the traditional "T."  

Get the Recipe: Fried Green Tomato BLT with Sweet Basil Mayo

Cumin-Scented Oven-Baked Ribs With Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce

No smoker is necessary for these easy oven-baked ribs.

Get the Recipe: Cumin Scented Oven-Baked Ribs with Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce

Quick Pickles

Kelsey's salty, tangy pickling liquid produces crisp pickles in just 20 minutes. Make sure to reserve any extra liquid to dress the pickles later, or to add some tang to other sauces.

Get the Recipe: Quick Pickles

Grilled Garlic Shrimp with Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce, made with toasted Marcona almonds and roasted red peppers, makes the perfect accompaniment to shrimp grilled with smoky paprika and garlic.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Garlic Shrimp with Romesco Sauce

Shredded Pork Summer Rolls

Spiced, slowly simmered pork, fresh herbs and vegetables are wrapped in rice paper for a lighter bite-sized take on the pulled pork sandwich.

Get the Recipe: Shredded Pork Summer Rolls

Smoked Bacon Blue Burger With Caramelized Onion Tomato Jam

A mixture of brown sugar and molasses gives Kelsey's carmelized onion and tomato jam rich sweetness, which complements the salty tang of this blue cheese-topped burger.

Get the Recipe: Smoked Bacon Blue Burger with Caramelized Onion Tomato Jam

Peach Salad with Tomatoes, Feta and Basil Vinaigrette

Salty feta cheese offsets sweet, juicy peaches in Kelsey's fresh summer salsa.

Get the Recipe: Peach Salad with Tomatoes, Feta and Basil Vinaigrette

Watermelon, Ginger and Lime Granita

Sweet watermelon, zesty lime and tangy ginger blend together in this beautiful icy pink dessert. Give the refreshing treat authentic Italian flair by topping it with fleur de sel.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon, Ginger and Lime Granita

Grilled Vegetable Panini with Herbed Feta Spread

The salty, herby feta spread, made thick, creamy and tangy with cream cheese and sour cream, almost overshadows all the fresh veggies in this sandwich.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Vegetable Panini with Herbed Feta Spread

Salted Caramel Milkshake

A hint of sea salt turns this caramel shake into an addictive, down-to-the-last drop drink.

Get the Recipe: Salted Caramel Milkshake

Smoky Panzanella With Market Vegetables

Got leftover bread? Chop it up and toss it into this colorful salad with red and yellow peppers, juicy cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and smoked mozzarella.

Get the Recipe: Smoky Panzanella with Market Vegetables

Pickled Shrimp with Lemon Chive Aioli

Whereas most pickling processes take several days or weeks to complete, Kelsey whips up these tangy, brined shrimp in a matter of minutes. Dipped in a creamy lemon chive aioli, these shrimp will disappear as fast as you made them.

Get the Recipe: Pickled Shrimp with Lemon Chive Aioli

Raspberry Limeade with Lavender and Mint

If you're skipping the alcohol, you can do no better than Kelsey's raspberry limeade, sweetened with sugar and infused with bubbly seltzer water.

Get the Recipe: Raspberry Limeade with Lavender and Mint

Stone Fruit Salsa With Cinnamon Chips

Chips 'n' dip becomes a dessert when cinnamon-dusted tortilla chips are topped with a unique, sweet stone fruit salsa. (Don't forget the fresh basil, which adds a burst of herby flavor.) For a different take, try using strawberries and mangoes, or any other favorite fruit combination.

Get the Recipe: Stone Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

Deviled Eggs With Candied Bacon

Crowd-pleasing deviled eggs become salty, sweet and indulgent with the addition of crunchy candied bacon.

Get the Recipe: Deviled Eggs with Candied Bacon

Sugar-Roasted Stone Fruit

Stone fruits –– whether peaches, plums, nectarines or apricots –– are late summer's darling. Concentrate the fruits' sweet flavor with a spin in a hot oven, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Stone Fruit

Bacon, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

For rolls that can stand up to barbecue's diverse flavors, try Kelsey's savory bacon, cheddar and chive biscuits.

Get the Recipe: Bacon, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

Berry Pie Pops on a Stick

These mini, portable pies are as much fun as they are delicious, and they make the perfect picnic basket addition. Sub in whatever fruit fillings you'd like!

Get the Recipe: Berry Pie Pops (Pie on a Stick)

Cumin-Seared Scallop Tacos

Serve a sophisticated taco complete with cilantro-lime rice, mango salsa and seared scallops.

Get the Recipe: Cumin-Seared Scallop Tacos

Banana Caramel Cream Pie

Kelsey adds a gourmet twist to this cookout classic with a swirl of salted caramel. It adds richness and helps cut the sweet.

Get the Recipe: Banana Caramel Cream Pie

Skillet Corn Cakes

Rethink corn on the cob and instead, fry some of Kelsey's sweet corn cakes and serve as an appetizer.

Get the Recipe: Skillet Corn Cakes

Skillet Blueberry-Peach Cobbler

Swap your favorite summer fruits into Kelsey's flexible cobbler recipe. Here, she uses blueberries and peaches.

Get the Recipe: Cobbler

Tomatillo Guacamole

Kelsey gives guacamole some extra spunk with the addition of tangy tomatillos.

Get the Recipe: Tomatillo Guacamole

Cherry Pie-in-a-Jar

Fresh tart cherries are fleeting, so savor as many as you can while they're here. Kelsey's adorable personal-sized pies in a jar are perfect as a late-summer party treat. They also make great gifts –– if they ever make it out of your kitchen.

Get the Recipe: Cherry Pie-in-a-Jar

Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork Menu

Get Kelsey's ultimate summer entertaining menu: tender pulled pork, easy coleslaw, grilled sweet corn and a tempting chocolate cake.

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