Lightened Up Summer Fare

Summertime is right around the corner which means it’s almost time for cookouts that often include deliciously indulgent foods. The appetizers, entrees, drinks and desserts that typically pop up at a summertime barbeque are often quite heavy. If you’re anything like me, you tend to fill up on chips and dip and sugary frozen drinks before it’s even time to dig into the main meal!

When mike’s LITE hard lemonade reached out to me about creating healthier takes on summer fare, I was more than up for the challenge! I decided to revamp two appetizers, one entrée and one dessert and did my best to make dishes made with wholesome, healthy ingredients that we can all feel good about eating!

And stay tuned at the bottom of this post (it’s a LONG one!) for an awesome giveaway!

Southwest Turkey Burger


For the appetizers, I created two different creamy dips that utilize Greek yogurt as the main ingredient: An almond butter and honey fruit dip and a savory veggie dip!

Both dips come together in a flash and can be made with ingredients you likely already have on hand. No fuss!

First up is the almond butter and honey fruit dip!

Almond Butter and Honey Fruit Dip

I served this dip with crunchy apples and sweet strawberries.

Sliced Apples

Healthy Cinnamon Almond Butter Fruit Dip Healthy Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip

It was a hit!

Healthy Cinnamon Almond Butter Fruit Dip

Honey Almond Butter Fruit Dip

Cinnamon Almond Fruit Dip


  • 2 cups fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup all-natural almond butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (+ more for garnish, if desired)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir together until completely combined
  2. Top with additional sliced almonds, if desired, and serve with fresh fruit

The veggie dip is super simple to make and only requires one mixing bowl, so dishes are minimal!

Veggie Dip Ingredients

Healthy Veggie Dip Ingredients

A quick note about this veggie dip: It’s also delicious as a sandwich spread! I love it on top of a whole wheat roll with avocado and turkey.

Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip

Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip

Veggie Dip with Greek Yogurt

Savory Veggie Dip


  • 1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped scallions
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir together until completely combined
  2. Serve with fresh vegetables and enjoy


When I set out to create a healthy entrée, I wanted to make a delicious burger. I decided to use lean ground turkey as a base and knew I needed to add a lot of spice and flavor to the turkey to kick it up a notch. The end result was a tasty southwest burger that Ryan and I thought was fantastic!

How to Make a Turkey Burger

Turkey Burger Ingredients

I made these burgers for the first time over Mother’s Day weekend and again during a casual cook out at our house in Ocala. They were a hit on both occasions!

Southwest Turkey Burger

A little sliced avocado on top of the burgers make them even better!

Turkey Burger

Southwest Turkey Burger with Avocado

Southwest Turkey Burgers

Makes 4 burgers


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 3/4 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons salsa
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 avocado, sliced


  1. Combine all ingredients except for the sliced avocado
  2. Using your hands, squish everything together and mold into four patties
  3. Coat a sauté pan with olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat
  4. Place the burgers in the pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side
  5. Top burgers with sliced avocado and desired toppings and enjoy

During our Sunday afternoon barbeque with friends, we all ate our burgers with the mike’s LITE hard black cherry lemonade. This flavor was new to me and I was excited to try it since I’ve enjoyed the original mike’s hard lemonade for years. (I’ve been using it to make an awesome sangria since college!)

After one sip of the mike’s LITE hard black cherry lemonade, I absolutely loved it! It’s sweet, refreshing and reminds me of the perfect poolside beverage.

Mike's LITE Hard Black Cherry Lemonade

It’s light and crisp and sweetened with a bit of honey which is right up my alley.

And here’s the quick and easy sangria recipe I’ve been making with mike’s hard lemonade for years, though I made it with mike’s LITE hard lemonade this time to stay with the “lightened up” theme of today’s post!

Lemonade Sangria

It’s incredibly easy to throw together in a flash and is a refreshing summertime sangria!

Lemon Lime

Lemonade Sangria Recipe

Lemonade Sangria


  • 1 bottle white wine (Riesling or Moscato work well)
  • 3 11.2-ounce bottles mikes LITE hard lemonade
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and refrigerate for approximately two hours.
  2. Pour into glasses, garnish with a lemon slice if desired and enjoy!

Note: You may also add lemon-lime soda or lemonade to taste for additional sweetness and lemon flavor.

Mike's Hard Lemonade Sangria


Dessert! My favorite course!

Chocolate Banana Soft Serve

When I think of summertime desserts, ice cream immediately pops into my mind. I could easily eat a bowl of ice cream after every meal and never get sick of it, so that was the dessert I decided to tackle to try to make a little healthier. By using my favorite banana “soft serve” as a base, I added cacao powder and almond butter to the cold and creamy banana to make a dessert that only tasted indulgent!

banana soft serve ingredients Banana Soft Serve

Ryan and I both gobbled this up in no time at all and it definitely satisfied our sweet tooth in a healthier way!

Chocolate Banana Soft Serve

Chocolate Almond Banana Soft Serve


  • 5 frozen bananas, sliced (the riper the better!)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter


  1. Place bananas and almond milk in a large food processor and blend until creamy, approximately 5 minutes
  2. Add cacao powder and almond butter and blend until combined
  3. Top with desired toppings and enjoy immediately

And now you’re hopefully all feeling a little hungry and ready to get cookin’ in the kitchen, so let’s move right along to the giveaway portion of this blog post!

Three PBF readers will win a $100 gift card to use at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients you will need to make your own lightened up version of your favorite summertime recipes.

Awesome, right!?

To enter this giveaway, simply comment on this post by answering one (or both!) of the following questions:

  • What is your favorite dish to enjoy at a summer cookout?
  • What healthy dish do you like to bring to a summertime barbeque?

I will randomly select a winner on Monday!

Good luck!!!


  1. Janice says

    I love making Vietnamese shrimp summer rolls for get together with family or friends, it’s always one of the first things to be finished!



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