Photo by Aimee Broussard

Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Summer staples

Summertime is in full swing and so are the neighborhood potlucks, poolside barbecues and family reunion gatherings. Don’t stress your contribution and instead consider one of these easy summer staples.

Have access to a grill? Skip traditional jambalaya and instead whip up some Kickin’ Chicken Kabobs that have all the components of jambalaya. When served with rice, you’ll have all the flavors but in a grill-friendly crowd-pleaser.

Heading to a barbecue-themed potluck? Volunteer to bring my Grandma’s Family Reunion Potato Salad. Not only is it actually my grandmother’s recipe, it is comprised of everything people love about potato salad (potatoes and eggs) and nothing that they don’t. Which means … you won’t find any celery in our salad. It’s much too controversial. Feel free to add it if you can’t live without it.

And lastly, take advantage of peach season with my Sweet Peach Pound Cake. Baked in a Bundt pan (you can also use a tube pan) with only 8 ingredients, this cake with its lightly sugared crust will have guests raving. Served with a scoop of ice cream in the afternoon or topped with whipped cream for breakfast, this recipe represents the best of summertime.   

Have fun celebrating!

8 bamboo skewers
2 medium onions, cut into 1-in. pieces
12 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
14 oz. sausage, sliced thick
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cup diced bell pepper, cut into 1-in. pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. Creole seasoning
Preheat grill to high heat. Soak bamboo skewers in cold water for a few minutes to prevent burning (or use metal skewers). On each skewer, thread a piece of onion, shrimp, bell pepper, sausage, tomato and chicken. Repeat threading and ending with a piece of onion or bell pepper. Sprinkle with Creole seasoning. Grill for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until vegetables begin to soften, shrimp are no longer pink, and chicken is cooked through. Serve with a scoop of Cajun rice.
Makes 4-6 servings

4 lb. red potatoes (about 8)
4 hard-boiled eggs (3 chopped, 1 for topping)
¾ cup mayonnaise
1½ tsp. sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1½ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. black pepper
1 green onion, chopped, for garnish
Paprika for garnish
In a large stockpot, cook potatoes in boiling water for about 40 minutes or until tender; drain and cool. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-in. cubes. Add eggs, and mix.
Stir together mayonnaise, relish, mustard, salt and black pepper; gently stir into potato mixture. Garnish with green onion, a sprinkle of paprika, and the remaining boiled egg, sliced. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve.
Note: I like my potato salad with a combination of chunky potatoes and mashed, so I take a potato masher and lightly mash portions of the salad.
Makes 8 servings.

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. butter, divided
2¼ cups sugar, divided
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2½ cups fresh peaches, peeled and chopped
Grease a Bundt pan (or 10-in. tube pan) with 2 Tbsp. butter. Sprinkle pan with ¼ cup sugar. Cream remaining 1 cup butter, gradually adding remaining 2 cups sugar until well beaten. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine 2¾ cups flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until well blended. Dredge peaches with remaining ¼ cup flour. Fold peaches into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan before inverting onto a plate or cake stand.
Makes 8 servings.

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning author. Her recent cookbook Picnics, Potlucks & Porch Parties debuted exclusively on QVC. Join Aimee for weekly recipes with a side of Southern hospitality on her blog,