A Toast to Summertime

By: Shannon Smith | Category: Restaurants | Issue: June 2019

World traveler and professional chef, Shannon Smith, owner of Beads and Basil.

World traveler and professional chef, Shannon Smith, owner of Beads and Basil.

Ah, it’s finally summer! The kids are out of school, the pools are open, the heat is on, and everybody’s hungry. What do you make on those hot summer days when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen? My favorite go-to for an inexpensive and tasty meal is toast toppers. There are so many options to topping toast, and you can satisfy everyone’s palate. Whether you toast sourdough, brioche, sandwich loaf, or gluten-free bread, you can dress it up with a variety of tastes, including leftovers. 

Start with a slice of bread that has been browned well in the toaster. It’s important that both sides of the bread are toasted so it doesn’t become soggy when the toppings are added. I like to smear some type of sauce on the toast first, such as mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, plain yogurt, mustard, or hummus. Then you can get creative and add shaved veggies, canned white beans, tuna, sliced boiled eggs, or whatever goes well with the sauce you choose. For a dessert or snack option, you can top the toast with peanut butter or Nutella, and add sliced fruit, nuts, and coconut. Of course, one of my favorite things to top toast is butter, cinnamon and sugar! Here are some of my other favorite toast toppers that make mealtime a little easier, and they’re great for the kids to make on their own. Find more of my recipes on beadsandbasil.com.


BLT with Scrambled Eggs

BLT with Scrambled Eggs

Spread Mayonnaise on toasted bread, then top with lettuce, scrambled eggs, sliced tomato, and crispy bacon.


Lemon Chicken Salad with Almonds

Shred a rotisserie chicken and add 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise, the zest and juice of 2 lemons, 2 stalks of celery (chopped), 2 tablespoons of chopped herbs (I like tarragon), salt and pepper (to taste).  Mix together and spoon onto toasted bread.  Top with toasted almond slices.

Lemon Chicken Salad with Almonds
Avocado & Crushed Corn Chips

Avocado & Crushed Corn Chips

Peel a ripe avocado, remove pit, and slice.  Add salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Mash with a fork and spread on toasted bread.  Top with crushed corn chips.


Patty Melt

Grill or broil seasoned hamburger patties and top with cheese to melt.  Spread mayonnaise or mustard on toasted bread, and top with hamburger patty.  Add sautéed onions, if desired.

Patty Melt

Shannon Smith Profile Picture

About Author Shannon Smith

I’m Chef Shannon Smith, creator of chefshannon.com, a website where I share my travel adventures, cooking experiences, jewelry creations, life stories, world travels, recipes, cooking classes, and jewelry art. In the past ten years, I’ve traveled to 52 countries, and I hope to add at least that many more over the next ten years. In every country, I am blessed to meet interesting people, learn new cultures, and try all kinds of delicious food. I take cooking classes, join food tours, meet with chefs, and often dine with people in their homes or restaurant kitchens. I’ve lived in Tulsa for over 30 years, and I love teaching people how to cook, especially dishes learned while traveling around the world. Some of my favorite cuisines are Indian, Moroccan, Turkish, Israeli, and Italian, although Indian is the cuisine that makes me the happiest. I’ve collected numerous recipes and methods for making delicious food, and I share those recipes on beadsandbasil.com. I teach classes several times a month when my travels allow. Those classes are advertised on the website but are almost always filled within hours after posting, so I also occasionally teach cooking classes to private groups. My readers and viewers get to learn about my cooking adventures, utensils and appliances. At last count, I have eight grills, two tagines, 22 knives, and ninety-four thousand serving dishes - at least according to my husband. My refrigerators are filled with nuts, cheese, and dried fruits I’ve brought from other countries. And my spice cabinets contain a menagerie of exotic and odiferous seeds, pods, and dried herbs that I use so many ways. Jewelry art is my other favorite activity. I create jewelry from beads and trinkets collected on my travels, including amber from Russia and Estonia, glass from Murano, Italy, paper beads from Rwanda, and old Yemen prayer capsules from Israel. I have an Indian friend who has some of the most beautiful semi-precious stones that he cuts into beautiful shapes. Several times a year, I attend national bead and jewelry shows where I search for unusual items to complete my creations. Many more adventures are planned for the future, and I’m excited to share them with you in my monthly column in Values Magazine, including recipes, cooking tips, interviews with my favorite Tulsa area chefs, cookbook recommendations, travel stories, my favorite local food trucks, and ways we can give our time and talents to our fantastic community of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Connect with me on Facebook and Instagram at Chef Shannon.

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