Fast approaching is Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer entertaining season. Easy, light, no-fuss recipes will fill indoor party tables and outdoor buffet and picnic tables.

Fast approaching is Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer entertaining season. Easy, light, no-fuss recipes will fill indoor party tables and outdoor buffet and picnic tables.


Dotti Milner of Springfield, Ill., shares a few of her favorite summer recipes here.


“The chocolate raspberry cake was a big hit for our family a couple of years ago. I make it other times, but the first time I made it was in the summer and they really enjoyed it,” said Milner, noting the recipe was a contest winner in Taste of Home magazine. She also submitted her recipes for macaroni and vegetable salad and a peach dessert that she said is a cinch to make.


Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cake




3 cups sugar

¾ pound (3 sticks) butter, melted

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon almond extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup raspberry jam

1 cup mini chocolate chips

¾ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugar and butter in a mixing bowl on low. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add the extracts.


Sift together dry ingredients, and add to the batter, mixing until smooth. Pour into greased and papered 9-inch cake pan, reserving about 1/3 of the batter. Top batter with raspberry jam, carefully smoothing out into a thin layer. Top with chocolate chips and half the sliced almonds. Carefully cover with the remaining batter. Sprinkle top of the cake with the remaining sliced almonds. Bake 1 hour, 45 minutes to 2 hours.


Makes 9 servings.


Summer Garden Macaroni Salad




2 cups dry macaroni

½ to 1 cup garden vegetables: cucumbers, green peppers, celery, carrots, onions

½ to 1 cup cubed cheese

¼ cup Green Goddess dressing

1 cup mayonnaise

1 ½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Milk

Cook macaroni until tender. Drain and rinse; cool a few minutes in cold water and drain again. Mix with the garden vegetables, cheese, dressing, mayonnaise and salt and pepper. Add milk until desired consistency, and chill well.


Note: A little sugar may be added to dressing and mayo, if desired.


Makes 12 to 14 servings.


Angel’s Peach Delight




1 (6-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

1 baked (store-bought) Angel food cake, cubed

15 (¼-ounce) can sliced peaches, drained

1 (16-ounce) tub whipped topping, thawed

Prepare pudding mix according to package directions. Refrigerate about 10 minutes. Line bottom of ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking pan with Angel food cake cubes. Spread pudding over cake. Arrange peaches over top. Spread whipped topping over all. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour.


Makes 18 to 20 servings.


--The Trading Post is looking for more summer entertaining recipes. If you have some good ones, please send them in.


The Trading Post is a recipe-exchange column that runs every other week and is compiled by Kathryn Rem. Send recipes and recipe requests to the Trading Post, The State Journal-Register, P.O. Box 219, Springfield, IL 62705, fax to 217-788-1551 or email food@sj-r.com. Please include your name, city and daytime phone number.