Summer Family Fun Ideas and Recipes

Even though we are getting closer to the end of summer there is still plenty of time left for summer family fun. Just head out to your own backyard for a day full of fun and quality time together making amazing memories. When it is time for dinner, work together as a family to create a fabulous family dinner of Grilled Panzanella Salad and Cheesy Flatbread Pizzas. Top of the evening after the sun goes down with more outdoor fun and a dessert of Apple Honey Crisp.

Do let your inner kid run free on this day. Think back to your fond memories of those summer days spent with family and what kinds of activities you did together. Tag is always a great game to play in the backyard. Lay on your backs in the grass and point out what things you see in the clouds. Insect nature and talk about the different plants and flowers and even bugs you can see. If you have some backyard lawn game equipment get that out as well – think badminton, cornhole, ladder toss, washers, horseshoes, or croquet.

Take a break for dinner, but try to get the family all involved. After dinner when the sun sets try flashlight tag, catching fireflies or an outdoor family movie night. Serve dessert outside too.

Grilled Panzanella Salad

Grilled Panzanella Salad

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
Servings: 6

  • 4          garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2       teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2          tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4       cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 15        fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1          medium cucumber, seeded, washed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3          large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2          tablespoons green olives, pitted and chopped (capers may be substituted)
  • 1          medium red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 1/2       large red onion, cut in half and then into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2       small loaf crusty whole-grain French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch slices and halved

Heat grill.

  1. In mixing bowl, whisk together garlic, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, gently combine basil, cucumber, tomatoes and olives.
  3. Brush bell peppers and onion slices on one side with oil mixture. Place oil-side down on hot grill and cook 3-4 minutes. Brush other side with oil mixture, turn over and cook additional 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove from grill. On cutting board, cut peppers into 1/2-inch slices and separate onion rings. Add peppers and onions to vegetable mix. Add remaining oil mixture and toss to coat.
  5. Toast both sides of bread until browned. On serving platter, layer bread and top with vegetables and basil mixture.

Cheesy Flatbread Pizza


Cheesy Flatbread Pizza

Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Find more family-friendly recipes for summer at

  • 1          piece (12 inches) cracker bread or flatbread
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for brushing
  • 1          package (8 ounces) Borden Cheese Mild Cheddar Shreds, divided
  • 8          strips thick-sliced bacon, cooked crisp and broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 4          whole garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4          plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2       red onion, cut in strips
  • 1/4       cup chopped Italian parsley
  • fresh basil leaves (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Brush bread with small amount of olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Spread 1 1/2 cups cheese evenly around bread. Top evenly with bacon pieces.
  3. In small skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until hot. Add garlic and saute until lightly browned. Sprinkle onto pizza. Arrange sliced tomatoes and red onions on pizza.
  4. Add parsley to remaining cheese and spread over ingredients.
  5. Bake 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, if desired.

Tip: For a different flavor profile, try grilling pizza rather than baking. Brush raw side of dough with olive oil and grill until bottom of crust is golden brown.

Apple Honey Crisp

Apple Honey Crisp

Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
Servings: 6
Find more sweet dishes for summer at

  • 2          pounds (1 1/2 quarts) apples, quartered and sliced
  • 3/4       cup honey, divided
  • 1          teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2       teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1          cup flour
  • 1/4       cup butter, softened
  • warm cream or ice cream
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In bowl, toss apples with 1/2 cup honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Turn into 2-quart baking dish.
  3. To make topping, beat flour with butter and remaining honey until crumbly; sprinkle over apples.
  4. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is golden. Serve with warm cream or ice cream.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Grilled Panzanella and Apple Honey Crisp)