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By Jacqueline Kleis

Whether summer means fun in the sun, hiking in the mountains, or grilling by the pool, outdoor dining is back and it's time to turn on the grill. Dinner should be light, easy, and fun. These family-pleasing recipes are inspired by ingredients and recipes from our Latin American and Caribbean kitchens and are perfect for alfresco dining.

Except for last-minute grilling, most of these recipes can be prepared ahead of time, such as the Lime Chimichurri. Keep it in the fridge as a summer staple and serve it with grilled chicken or fish such as salmon, a Chilean favorite.

Enjoy the heat of the Chipotle Crema over the refreshing Lettuce Chicken Tacos but beware, you will be grilling plenty of chicken breast as you watch your kids assemble their own over and over again. This healthy alternative will be a family favorite!

Guests are coming? No problem. The Citrus Ceviche will impress them, especially when you serve it by the pool with your take on the classic Peruvian pairings, sweet potato off-the grill, and a sprinkle of purple corn as garnish. Do not worry, white or yellow will do too!

Finally, freshen summer by always having in your fridge a pitcher of Watermelon-Pineapple Agua Fresca. Pour it over ice and have fun in the sun!

Watermelon and Pineapple Agua Fresca


  • 6 cups fresh watermelon, cut in cubes
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut in cubes
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Basil leaves for garnish


  1. In a saucepan, make a simple syrup by simmering the sugar and water over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Let cool at room temperature.
  2. Place half the watermelon, pineapple, lime juice, and simple syrup in a blender. Mix until smooth.
  3. Pour through a fine strainer into a serving jar. Repeat with second batch and stir limeade well. Add sugar to taste if needed and cool in refrigerator.
  4. Serve over ice and garnish each glass with basil leaf.

Citrus Ceviche with Grilled Sweet Potato

Citrus Ceviche with Grilled Sweet PotatoAlbert K Howard / Jacqueline Kleis


  • 2 lbs. white fish filet, (such as snapper, grouper, or bass)
  • 1 red onion, cut in half and finely sliced
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 small hot pepper (chile de arbol, serrano, or habanero), finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Garnish:
  • 2 oranges, peeled and cut in segments
  • ¼ cup steamed corn (yellow, white, purple, or Peruvian choclo), for garnish


  1. In a glass bowl, mix lime juice, hot pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add sliced red onion and let marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Cut fish filets in half-inch cubes or strips. Add to the lime-juice mixture and toss well in the marinade. Add cilantro and refrigerate for at least four hours. Add corn and orange segments just before serving.

Grilled Sweet potato garnish

  1. 2 whole sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in half-inch slices tablespoons olive oilsalt and pepper to taste
  2. Boil the sweet potato slices in water until slightly tender. Carefully remove the slices from the boiling water and
  3. Drain on paper towel. Brush with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until tender. Refrigerate until ready to serve ceviche.

Lettuce Chicken Tacos with Chipotle Crema


  • 4 grilled chicken breasts, cut in ¼ “cubes
  • 1 Romaine heart leaves, preferably baby romaine, washed and dried
  • 2 ripe avocados, mashed (or 8 oz. guacamole)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 fresh ripe mango, cut in cubes
  • 1 Blue Tortilla Chips, slightly crushed
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1 recipe Chipotle Crema (see below)
Chipotle Crema:

1 whole chipotle peppers in adobo (come in cans and available in the Mexican section of supermarkets)

1 cup Mexican Crema or sour cream

  • In a blender, place chipotle pepper and crema (or sour cream). Blend until smooth. Place in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble Lettuce Tacos:
  • Start with a lettuce leaf, add a tablespoon of avocado or guacamole, then spread along the center. Top with diced grilled chicken, diced tomatoes, diced mango, and crushed tortilla chips. Drizzle Chipotle Crema over assembled lettuce taco and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Place on a platter and serve.

Suggestion: For a large group, you can present each ingredient separately and have your guests assemble their own.

Chilean Grilled Salmon with Lime Chimichurri

Grilled Salmon with Lime ChimichurriAlbert K Howard / Jacqueline Kleis


  • 4 (6 oz.) salmon filets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Lime Chimichurri:

  • ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Mix all ingredients of the chimichurri in a bowl or in a blender for a finer texture. Transfer to a serving bowl or refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Season salmon filets with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Heat a grill to medium-high and cook the salmon fillets for 5-7 minutes on each side.
  • Transfer to a platter and serve with lime chimichurri on the side.
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve over a bed of your favorite vegetable medley, salad greens, or sautéed spinach.

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