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Orland Park, IL 60467

Julie Kelly's Blog

This weekend is the official kick-off to a summer season filled with pool parties, graduation celebrations and last-minute neighborhood gatherings. Most people prefer to nosh on a few tasty appetizers rather than a big dinner on a hot night. Today’s post includes some of my favorite summer bites, including an artichoke fritter that can be frozen either before or after the frying process and ready-to-go when needed.

This summer, make sure you have some nibbles on hand for impromptu get-togethers, especially if you have a pool and are very popular on steamy afternoons/evenings! Buy some good-quality cheese, hard sausage, olive mix and nuts to store in the refrigerator; they’ll last for several weeks and create a nice hors d’oeuvres plate in a jiff. Add some crackers and fresh fruit to the tray - you’ll have enough to satisfy your unexpected guests.

The BLT Tomatoes are delicious but require a bit of prep. Take your time when removing the inner membrane of the tomato. Your effort will be well-rewarded because these bites are among the most popular – and most quickly devoured – of any of my appetizer recipes.

The Strawberry Salad in parmesan cups is a terrific appetizer or side dish for summer dinner party. You can even add some chicken for a flavorful and light entrée (and just leave the parmesan round as a crisp to serve alongside the salad).

So don’t get caught empty-handed this summer. And, even more importantly, don’t forget to stock up on the wine, beer and vodka too!

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"Julie, I really enjoyed your class and took way more away than I ever thought I would. I never in a million years thought a cooking class would make me excited to try new things!! So my hat's off to you. You are a great teacher and the recipes are so good!" 


Susie C., Orland Park