I am really looking forward to consuming large amounts of meat on the Fourth of July.

Some years, we load up the smoker with all manners of beef, pork and poultry; others, we grill hamburgers and hotdogs, complete with potato salad and baked beans. No matter what we cook, by the time all those good old American meat and potatoes leftovers are gone, we need something light to recover.

Fresh fish or shrimp, some light salads and more locally grown vegetables are on the menu for the coming days at our house. A quick sautéed or baked fish and steamed vegetables make quick work of dinner and lighten up the calories at least once a week so I can inch closer to looking swimsuit suitable. (Who am I kidding? I don’t even like to get wet.) That also means I can spend more time snuggling up to the air conditioner and playing board games than hovering over a hot stove in the kitchen.

While we were visiting friends back in Natchitoches, my oldest friend, a private chef, made this delicious cilantro pesto and stuffed it in shrimp before grilling. It was the perfect complement to the seafood and made for a decadent dinner out by the pool. She has graciously shared her recipe with all of us. We’ll be making the most of these long, hot summer nights with light and cool suppers.

Fresh fish with crispy spaghetti squash and a refreshing cilantro pesto is the perfect cool down to my July Fourth meat sweats this summer.