Sometimes I need to change things up a bit with my summer meals. Generally, our meals center around what is available from the garden or on sale at the grocery store. Lately, we have been enjoying fresh sweet corn, green beans and beets from the garden to go along with a simple hamburger. It is a quick easy meal, but sometimes you need to change things up a bit. These are some recipes I have used and discovered over the years.   
    With all of the fresh berries (raspberries and blueberries), I have been craving custard. I found this first recipe online. It is one way to use up the extra milk in my refrigerator. It is very similar to the baked custard recipe from Betty Crocker that my mom modified. She adds leftover rice and raisins to make a rice pudding type dessert. This is one of Mark’s favorites.  
    Sometimes you need to eat more than just beef. I found this salmon recipe at the grocery store and loved it. Whenever salmon is on sale or I want to splurge a little bit, I’ll pick up some salmon fillets and make this for dinner. It is almost as simple as frying up hamburgers at the end of a long day and just as quick.
    Of course, we cannot forget the dessert. The blueberry coffee cake is a modified recipe from Taste of Home. If you do not have room for it after supper, it is great to grab on your way out the door for a morning snack before chores.   

Raspberry crème dessert
2 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Whole raspberries
3-4 tablespoons sugar
Hot water
    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat cream in saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appear around edges of pan. Add vanilla. Whisk yolks and sugar together until light colored. Slowly whisk in warm milk and vanilla. Put a few raspberries in bottom of custard bowls or ramekin bowls. Pour milk/egg mixture over berries until two-thirds full. Place bowls in 9- by-13 pan. Pour hot water into pan until half way up the sides of the bowls. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the middle is still a bit soft. Cool slightly. Can enjoy warm or let set in refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons sugar over bowls and put under broiler to melt sugar and give it a glazed look. Keep a close on eye on it. Only takes a few seconds.

Baked custard from the Betty Crocker cookbook
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups milk, scalded
Ground nutmeg
Hot water
    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir in scalded milk slowly. Pour into six 6-ounce custard cups; sprinkle with nutmeg. Place cups in oblong ban on oven rack. Pour very hot water into pan to within one-half inch of tops of cups. Bake until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove cups from water. Serve warm or chilled. I use this recipe but use a 2-quart glass casserole dish to bake the custard in. I also add leftover cooked rice and raisins to the custard mix before I pour into the bowl. Good warm; great cold.

Salmon with cranberry-thyme crust
Four 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin on
3/4 cup Panko or fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onion
3 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place skin side down on baking sheet. Combine breadcrumbs, cranberries, onion, 2 tablespoons butter, thyme and lemon peel in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Press mixture on salmon and drizzle with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until topping is golden and salmon is just opaque in the center.

Oven fries
4 medium baking potatoes or sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
    Scrub and dry potatoes (peeling is optional). Cut into thin sticks or wedges and place in large container with a tight lid. Pour oil on potatoes, cover and shake to thoroughly coat fries with oil. Sprinkle salt on fries along with any seasoning options (garlic powder, oregano, Lawry’s salt, paprika, Parmesan cheese, etc.) Spread fries in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 30-45 minutes, stirring and flipping fries every 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Blueberries and cheese coffee cake from Taste of Home
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons canola oil (sunflower oil is great too)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 1/4 cups flour, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter milk
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
One 8-ounce package reduced fat cream cheese, diced
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons cold butter
    In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and crumbly. Beat in egg, egg whites, applesauce, oil and lemon peel. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to sugar mixture alternating with buttermilk. In a separate bowl, toss blueberries with remaining flour; fold into batter along with diced creamed cheese. Pour into a 9-by-13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. For topping, combine flour, sugar and lemon peel in a bowl; cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
    Natalie, Mark and his brother Al, farm together near Rice, Minnesota. They milk 100 registered Holsteins under the RALMA prefix. Their four children are grown up and all involved in agriculture with hopes of someone returning to the farm. For questions or comments, please e-mail Natalie at