salmon fajitas recipe
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It’s late July and a lot of us are just plain sick of summer. Just one step into the scorching humidity and we instantly melt into gross puddles of sweat. Give us air conditioning or give us death! Or better yet, give us Christmas! If you’re clamoring to skip a few months ahead to the holidays, let us help. The farmers markets may not be boasting a bounty of cranberries or chestnuts just yet, but trust us, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate winter flavors, Christmas colors, and general holiday spirit into your summer kitchen. So get ready to deck the palm trees with tinsel and blast some Mariah as you cook up a storm and beat the heat with these oh-so-cool holiday treats.

Drinks

Frozen Hot Chocolate

You don’t have to go to New York’s Serendipity to get your hand on this famous drink. Plus, it’s way more affordable to make it yourself. The bev is rich, creamy, and evocative of cozy December nights, yet it’s still chill enough to chase away the summertime sweats. Get the Frozen Hot Chocolate recipe.

Piña Colada

Classic Piña Colada

Bochkarev Photography/Shutterstock

A piña colada is a summer no-brainer, but its snowy white color also fits into the festive theme’s color scheme. Garnish with a green pineapple leaf and a bright red maraschino cherry and the holiday allusion is complete. Get our Piña Colada recipe.

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Main Dishes

Grilled Turkey and Ham

smoked turkey recipe (smoking tips)

Chowhound

Sure, turkey is the holiday entree of choice, but you can give it a summer-y twist by throwing it on the grill. We swear this a real thing you can do and not a made-up concept we invented to excuse us from ever eating hot dogs again. Get our Smoked Turkey recipe. If you have a gas grill, the fine folks at Butterball have you covered. Either way, you can gobble down on this Thanksgiving bird all throughout the year. If you prefer pork, get this Grilled Ham recipe.

Mozzarella and Basil Grilled Pizza

grilled pizza recipe

Chowhound

If you need to keep it meatless, grill pizza! Load it up with red tomatoes, green basil, and white mozzarella cheese and, yes, you have the colors of the Italian flag, but also those of Christmas! Get our Mozzarella and Basil Grilled Pizza recipe.

Salmon Fajitas

salmon fajitas recipe

Chowhound

One more meaty option (though it’s easily made vegetarian too): fajitas. Red and green bell peppers, snowdrifts of crumbed cotija cheese, and plenty of verdant avocado and fiery hot sauce, plus the meat, meatless protein, or other veggies of your choice—all easily prepared on the grill if there’s no way you’re turning your oven on (though if you do, everything can cook on the same sheet pan). Get our Salmon Fajitas recipe.

Sides

Heirloom Tomato Salad

herbed heirloom tomato salad

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When heirloom tomatoes are in season—that’s right now—you can usually find a bold and beautiful mix of colors including, you guessed it, red and green. It’s an easy way to pay homage to the holiday theme while eating super seasonally. Get our Heirloom Tomato Salad recipe.

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

grilled steak with green bean and tomato salad

Chowhound

Summer produce in general is bright and fresh, often in color as well as flavor. This green bean and cherry tomato salad is on-point for a Christmas in July celebration, or any given picnic, potluck, or BBQ for that matter. Get our Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad recipe.

Related Reading: Easy Summer Party Dishes to Bring to Any Get-Together

Smoky Cucumber Tomato Salad

smoky tomato cucumber salad recipe

Chowhound

And one more vibrant veggie option: this crunchy and refreshing cucumber and tomato salad. It goes with anything grilled, but is also the perfect crisp complement to snacky dips and spreads like hummus and skordalia—so you could build an entirely no-cook meal that’s still Santa-approved. Get our Smoky Cucumber Tomato Salad recipe.

Dessert

Peppermint and Eggnog Ice Cream

Since everyone’s pigging out on ice cream to cool down anyway, why not take it a step further by making a flavor even more reminiscent of the cold weather months? In other words, break out the leftover candy canes! Trust us, they can still be of use once July rolls around. This Spiked Peppermint Eggnog Ice Cream recipe combines two classic Christmas treats (and bourbon), but if you don’t want the booze, we’re partial to this plain Peppermint Ice Cream recipe. You could also try making eggnog ice cream on its own, or even gingerbread ice cream if you’re craving something with a little more spice.

Ice Cream Snowmen

If you’re just looking for a way to dress up store-bought ice cream (no shame in that game), stack your scoops to resemble a snowman—or other snow person, as you please. If you want to up the ante, follow Martha Stewart’s lead and roll the scoops in shredded coconut; not only does it have a tropical taste that will transport you to the beach (see also: piña coladas), but in an ironic twist, it also looks like snow! Either way, you have an adorable no-bake dessert that’s perfect for your party.

Grilled Coconut Apple Crisp

Grilled Coconut Apple Crisp recipe

Chowhound

Speaking of coconut, if you’re firing up the grill for your main course anyway, keep it going through dessert. This coconut-apple crisp straddles the line between summer and fall flavors—coconut, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and orange juice, just to name a few—and it’s cooked on the grill in a disposable aluminum pan (but a cast iron skillet works as well). Get our Grilled Coconut Apple Crisp recipe.

Related Reading: How to Grill Dessert

Hula Gingerbread Men or Board Short Santa Sugar Cookies

If you are brave enough to turn on the oven in 90-degree weather, you might as well make some classic gingerbread men. But when it comes time to decorate, give them a summery edge. Add a hula skirt or bikini top with the power of sprinkles and frosting! If you’re looking for inspiration, this Hawaiian Style Gingerbread Men cookie recipe will have you saying “Mele Kalikimaka” all year long. Or you can put Santa in some swim trunks with this sugar cookie and royal icing recipe.

This post was originally published on July 18, 2018 and has been updated with additional text, images, and links.

Header image by Chowhound

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
Jen is an editor at Chowhound. Raised on scrapple and blue crabs, she hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work.
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