Summer means it's time to stock up on fresh produce and light the grill for a season of outdoor gatherings with friends and family. Make entertaining easier with flavorful options that can make menu-planning a breeze all summer long.

A nutritious and versatile ingredient, American Pecans can be your secret weapon for a variety of entertaining occasions. Add one bag of pecans to your shopping list and transform standby recipes into wholesome and delicious meals and snacks for the whole crowd.

Enjoy the long summer nights on the back porch with a Spiced Pecan Grilled Peach Salad, packed with the essential flavors and textures of summertime. Or serve up Pecan-Crusted Asian Turkey Meatball Lettuce Wraps, a light and delicious appetizer or easy entree to keep guests satisfied.

Discover more summertime entertaining recipes and cooking tips at AmericanPecan.com.

Spiced Pecan Grilled Peach Salad

with Goat Cheese

Spiced Pecans:

1 egg white

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups pecan halves

Salad:

1/4 cup, plus 2 teaspoons, extra-virgin olive oil or pecan oil, divided

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 large peaches, halved and pitted

6 cups mixed baby greens

4 ounces soft goat cheese

To make spiced pecans:

Heat oven to 275 F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In bowl, whisk egg white, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt until well combined. Fold in pecans and mix until evenly coated. Spread in single layer on baking sheet.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally until pecans are fragrant and golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

To make salad:

In bowl, whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Brush cut sides of peach halves with remaining olive oil; grill until grill lines appear and peaches become tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove peaches and slice.

Divide greens among four plates. Top with grilled peach slices and goat cheese. Divide 1 cup spiced pecans evenly among salads and reserve remaining for snack. Top each salad with drizzle of vinaigrette.

Pecan-Crusted Asian

Turkey Meatball Lettuce Wraps

Meatballs:

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey thigh

1/3 cup chopped green onions (about 2 stalks)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 cup fresh pecans

Sauce:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 head butter lettuce leaves

1/2 cup matchstick carrots

chopped scallions (optional)

cilantro leaves (optional)

Heat oven to 375 F.

To make meatballs:

Using hands, combine ground turkey, green onions, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, garlic and powdered ginger.

In food processor, pulse pecans until coarsely ground to similar consistency as panko bread crumbs.

Scoop 1 tablespoon meat mixture at a time and roll into meatballs. Roll meatballs in ground pecans until evenly coated.

Place pecan-crusted meatballs on parchment-lined baking sheet; bake approximately 20 minutes. Flip after 15 minutes.

To make sauce:

In small saucepan over medium heat, combine soy sauce, cornstarch, fish sauce and sesame oil. Stir until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Sprinkle lettuce cups with shredded carrots. Place meatballs on top and drizzle with sauce. Garnish with scallions and cilantro, if desired.

Source: American Pecan Council

Send your family's favorite recipes to the Sahuarita Sun and we'll include them in a coming issue. Email to kwalenga@sahuaritasun.com. A photo is welcome, too!

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