Cooking Through the Seasons with Chopped: Summer

Get inspiration for cooking with these summery foods at home by reliving how past Chopped competitors used them on the show.

Corn on the Cob

Leftover corn, grilled or boiled, can be made into a creamed corn dish with just the addition of some heavy cream, butter and spices. Chef Alex Magloire also added in another basket ingredient for texture and flavor: leftover scalloped potatoes. 

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Strawberry Popsicles

Instead of letting these sweet treats go bad in the freezer, use them up in homemade ice cream. Chef Kyle Ricks melted them down in milk and cream, and then churned the mixture to make a quick ice cream. 

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BBQ Ribs

If you're lucky enough to have some of these left over after a barbecue, take a cue from Chef Aatul Jain and try pulling them off the bone and making them into a fritter. He combined the pork with chopped french fries and pan-fried them until golden brown. 

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Lobster Tails

Leftover meat from lobster tails is great served over grains or pasta. Reality TV star Amy Roloff served it atop quinoa with a cream sauce and some sauteed greens. 

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Fruit Cocktail

Canned fruit cocktail seemed pretty boring until Chef Wei Wen got creative with it and made it into a chutney. He cooked it down and served it atop fresh uni, or sea urchin.

Cucumber Salad

Since cucumbers don't last very long once they're sliced, try making them into a tea. Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky rinsed the dressing from cucumber salad, boiled the cucumbers with some fresh fruit and served it as hot tea. 

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Beer-Can Chicken

After a summer party, you can break down any leftover beer-can chicken and easily repurpose it into a whole different meal. On the Tournament of Stars, comedian Sinbad pan-seared it in a honey-based sauce to add some extra flavor. 

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If you're not using these to make a fresh batch of guacamole, try blending them up into a salad dressing for something creamy. Chef Chris Hart turned them into a vinaigrette with traditional margarita ingredients. 

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Turkey Burgers

Leftover burgers can dry out easily if you try to cook them into anything, so why not just chop them up and put them in a taco? Chef Carla Contreras wrapped up leftovers in a tortilla with some homemade guajillo salsa.

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Watermelon can be much more than just a fruit that you slice up and eat. Toss it on the grill! Chef Rick Browne did just that, grilling it slightly to add some smoky flavor and serving it with ribs. 

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Sweet Tea

Big-batch sweet tea can easily be reduced into a sauce for searing. Singer Carnie Wilson used it to give a piece of salmon a sweet, lemony flavor. 

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Pulled Pork Sandwiches

When the Chopped judges took to the kitchen, Chef Alex Guarnaschelli used the pulled pork from a sandwich to make a meatball. Just combine it with some rice for extra moisture and serve it atop your favorite pasta. 

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