Like most families who enjoy cooking and being outdoors, mine looks forward to grilling season. The great thing about Arkansas is that you can pretty much grill year-round.

Grilled meats are a given but I sometimes struggle with what to serve alongside my grilled meats that will be fresh, delicious and won’t heat up the kitchen.

I have three family-pleasing recipes for you that meet these criteria. 

Your family will love the Cucumber and Cantaloupe Salad paired with just about any food. The salad is refreshing and slightly sweet, so it also serves as a great summer dessert.

The Tex-Mex Corn Salad is almost a meal on its own. It goes great with grilled chicken thighs seasoned with a little taco or fajita seasoning or even a juicy bunless burger.

Finally, the Marinated Grilled Vegetable Basket with mushrooms, zucchini and squash is a great way to use up those squash that are prevalent in everyone’s garden during the summer. I can’t think of a single grilled meat that wouldn’t be great with these veggies!


Prep : 10 minutes plus chill time of  1 to 2 hours
Serves: 4


  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 large cantaloupe, seeded and chopped
  • 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • zest of one lime
  • 6 to 8 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 basil leaves, finely chopped
  • mint for garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one to two hours before serving.
  3. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Prep: 50 minutes + chill time of 1 to 2 hours
Serves: 4


  • 4 large ears of corn, grilled
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 15-20 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of three limes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Grill four ears of corn until hot and tender and just beginning to caramelize in a few spots.
  2. While the corn is grilling, chop your onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Halve the tomatoes.
  3. When the corn is cooked, allow it to cool for about 30 minutes before handling. Once cool, use a sharp knife to slice the kernels from the cob.
  4. Add the corn, beans, onion, jalapeño, tomatoes and cilantro to a serving bowl.
  5. Zest one lime onto the salad.
  6. Squeeze the juice of three limes onto the salad.
  7. Still well to combine and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.



Prep: 1 hour
Serves: 4

Special equipment – a vegetable grilling basket


  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 eight-ounce package of mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 15 to 20 cherry or grape tomatoes, whole
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite marinade (I used the Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Garlic White Balsamic Marinade from Harvest Fresh Farm in Desha, Arkansas.)


  1. Chop the onion, zucchini and squash into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a medium bowl combine all the veggies and the marinade of your choice.
  3. Stir to combine and let sit, covered, at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, tossing several times to coat the veggies with the marinade.
  4. Place your grill basket onto a hot grill and pour in the veggies. *
  5. Cook veggies 25-30 minutes, occasionally stirring, until they are tender.
  6. Serve hot.

* If you do not have a grill basket, you can place the veggies into a pouch made of heavy-duty foil. Cook over indirect heat, turning the foil packet every five minutes or so.