mango pineapple salsa

We have all racked our brains over what to bring to a summer cookout or potluck event. You want to be creative and not have to ask the host what to bring, but if you don’t, you run the risk of showing up with a duplicate dish. Welcome to your cookout nightmare: You arrive to your event and just what you did not want to happen happened – someone else also brought a boring potato salad. Could this get any worse? Absolutely! Your potato salad is not a hit, meanwhile people cannot get enough of the other one.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes that are sure to impress so you never have to worry about bringing another boring dish.



I bet you didn’t know you were getting a Spanish lesson today! Caldo means soup and camaron means shrimp. This dish is a Mexican shrimp soup served chilled. It’s a perfect dish for hot summer months, but don’t let it fool you – it still packs some heat!

caldo de camaron shrimp soup


Jumbo shrimp (deveined, cooked and peeled)

vegetable juice

lime juice

lemon juice

1 bundle cilantro

2 red tomato

1 red onion

1 garlic clove

red hot sauce of choice (best with Valentino, Tapatio, or Cholula)



PREP: chop cilantro, dice tomato, dice onion, finely chop fresh garlic

HOW TO: Use vegetable juice as base; add about 2 oz of lime juice and 3 oz of lemon juice. Add all prepped ingredients including shrimp. Add hot sauce to preferred level of spiciness, and salt or garlic salt to taste. Let chill. Avocado is best sliced and added immediately before serving.  Don’t forget to bring bowls!



You won’t be the only person to show up at the cookout with a dish requiring tortilla chips to dip, however I guarantee you’ll be the only one to show up with this delicious twist to a classic favorite. (You could also make this a simple mango pineapple salsa by just leaving out the seafood.) mango pineapple salsa


Your choice of seafood (best with shrimp)

1 whole mango

Diced fresh pineapple

1 bundle cilantro

lime juice

lemon juice

red onion


1 jalapeno (optional for added spice)


PREP: Cook seafood. Let chill while marinating in lime and lemon juice. Dice mango, red onion, and chop cilantro. If using jalapeño, chop finely.

HOW TO: Once seafood is chilled and marinated combine all other ingredients. When adding pineapple, add about an ounce of pineapple juice, and salt to taste. Keep chilled until served. Best served with plantain chips or tortilla chips.



Elotes are Mexican street corn on the cob. With this dish we’re forgetting the cob for ease of serving as a salad.

mexican grilled corn


Corn on the cob (every 6 serves about 4 people)


crumbled cotija cheese

1/2 garlic clove

2 limes

Tajin seasoning salt


PREP: Shuck corn, chop cilantro, chop garlic

HOW TO: Grill Corn (you’ll want to see about 15% of each cob grilled to blackened) and remove kernels from cob. Lightly coat with mayo, and begin to mix in garlic, lime juice, and desired amount of Tajin seasoning salt. Top with or mix in crumbled cheese, and garnish with a generous amount of finely chopped cilantro. Serve chilled.



Sure, it’s a favorite of many that is sure to make its way through the door at any cookout but is any of the hummus homemade? I’m guessing not, and it’s probably not a dessert hummus, either!

apples cookies dip


1 can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)

1 oz lemon juice

1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp granulated white sugar

3 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 oz olive oil

1 oz water


HOW TO: Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth; let chill. That’s it! Best served with apple slices or cinnamon sugar pita chips. Also good as a spread for warm pita bread.