Whether you’re cooking for yourself or hosting a dinner party, it’s always nice to keep a collection of go-to recipes up your sleeve—the ones that are easy to make, not too time-consuming and that are definite crowd-pleasers. This is especially true during the summer months, when it’s not uncommon to be cooking for a different potluck or barbecue every weekend.
Just as you probably made your favorite easy lasagna recipe for get-togethers throughout the winter, the following summer meal ideas are easy to whip up for all kinds of summer occasions, from pool parties to easy vacation meals. Make them once and you’ll find yourself making them all summer long:
It doesn’t get much easier than this summer potluck staple; all you need are noodles, some veggies and a dressing made from whatever you have in your pantry. Mayonnaise and sour cream are classic pasta salad bases, but it’s easy to lighten up recipes with Greek yogurt, pesto, or even a simple vinaigrette. For more protein, add shredded cooked chicken or cooked shrimp.
Burgers are one of the fastest meals to throw together and you’ll find countless opportunities to make them during the summer. They’re perfect for feeding a crowd if you’re hosting a barbecue, since burger recipes are easy to double, triple and even quadruple. Grill up some beef, turkey or veggie patties and have everyone customize his or her own burger with a toppings bar.
There’s nothing more summery than barbecued chicken hot off the grill, and it’s a surprisingly versatile dish. Not only is barbecued chicken delicious eaten on its own, but it’s also great sliced on top of salads, grilled up in a quesadilla or topped with ranch, cheese, lettuce and tomato for a hearty sandwich.
With all the fresh fruit that comes into season during the summer, from blueberries and blackberries to mangoes and watermelon, it only seems right to make lots of fruity baked goods! Desserts with fruit are much more prevalent during the summer than in the winter and come in a variety of forms. Try your hand at a cobbler, pie or tart to enjoy summer fruit at its freshest.
Make this chilled tomato and vegetable pasta salad for your next summer get-together; it only takes 20 minutes and can be made the night before for low-stress cooking!
- 12 ounces dry gemelli or rotini pasta, uncooked (about 4 cups)
- 1 14.5-oz can Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup quartered and sliced English cucumber
- 1 4-oz package crumbled feta cheese
- 1 3.8-oz can sliced ripe olives, drained
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- ½ cup chopped roasted red pepper
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 cup light Italian dressing
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt.
- Rise cooked pasta with cold water and place in a large bowl.
- Add drained tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, olives, carrots, roasted pepper and onion; mix gently.
- Add dressing and toss to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving or until chilled.
- Sprinkle with pine nuts
Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Hunt’s®. For easy summer tomato recipes, visit www.hunts.com.