30 Easy Summer Dinner Recipes
Skip the canned stuff and make this childhood favorite from scratch. Our simple recipe is just a starting point; try one of our variations or experiment with seasonings.
Our ready-in-minutes recipe starts with pasta and mixed vegetables—then just pick the sauce that suits your mood. Choose among light lemon-basil, creamy Parmesan or peppercorn-ranch dressing for a pasta salad.
Simple Salsa Skillet
Mango-Barbecue Fish Tacos
Fresh fruit and bottled barbecue sauce lend sassy sweetness to low-cal, vitamin-rich grilled fish tacos.
Chicken Sausage Sandwiches with Watermelon Salsa
Basil and lime juice flavor the fruity salsa on this ready-in-minutes, low-cal grilled sausage sandwich.
Coconut Chicken Noodle Bowl
Ready in 25 minutes, this restaurant-style noodle bowl is a breeze to throw together. It uses Vietnamese bahn pho noodles, which you can find at large supermarkets or Asian groceries. It's fine to substitute another rice noodle or vermicelli.
With only five ingredients, these hearty stuffed peppers assemble in a snap. Team them with corn bread or whole wheat rolls, and dinner's done.
Super Simple Peachy Barbecue Chicken
Just three ingredients produce a rich-flavored, sweet-tangy barbecue sauce for drumsticks.
Linguine in Fresh Tomato Sauce With Garlic-Basil Toast
Kalamata olives add flavor to the homemade tomato sauce in this vegetarian pasta meal. And it's ready in 20 minutes!
Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas
Bottled black bean and corn salsa spices up these quesadillas, ready in just 20 minutes.
Loaded Greek Chicken Pizza
Frozen spinach-artichoke dip is the secret ingredient in this fabulous pizza that delivers an authentically salty punch of kalamata olives and feta cheese.
Lemon-Herb Grilled Chicken and Sassy Baked Beans
Herbed lemon marinade cooks down with honey to a glossy, gorgeous glaze in our Lemon-Herb Grilled Chicken recipe.
Three beans mix in Sassy Baked Beans, a chunky version of the potluck standby. A touch of heat from spicy barbecue sauce and salsa adds to the bold taste of this slow-cooked side dish.
North Woods Fish Tacos
We trolled the lakes for this south-of-the-Canadian-border specialty. To give extra zip to the marinated whitefish, spoon on sweet-tart Midwest cherry salsa. Roll the chunks of fish in a tortilla along with the burgundy salsa, and finish it off with tangy sour cream.
Chicken Cobb Salad
Why save this classic for when you're dining out? Rotisserie chicken makes it easy to enjoy a Cobb at home. Just add a whole-grain roll, and you've got a well-rounded meal.
Spicy Chicken-Peanut Thai Pizza
If you love Thai peanut sauce, you'll go nuts for this simple pizza. We especially love how the veggies go on after the pizza bakes, so they stay fresh, crispy and colorful.
Fresh Tomato Tart
Geri Boesen, creative director of Midwest Living®, combines Midwest-grown tomatoes with fresh basil in a cheesy tart that uses refrigerated piecrust for easy prep.
Short Ribs with Molasses-Beer Barbecue Sauce
Molasses and mustard perk up bottled barbecue sauce for this beef main dish.
Potato Chips Meet Fish
How do you get your family to eat fish? By serving them tilapia coated with potato chips, herbs and honey-mustard dressing.
Beefy Chili Dogs
The all-American chili dog is a natural for summer suppers. Stewing the hot dogs in a seasoned meat mixture makes them extra juicy. Top with cheese.
Cook fresh snapper fillets or other firm-flesh white fish with an easy tomato-olive mixture and crumbled feta cheese. Serve with rice, pasta or couscous.
Start to finish: 15 minutes
Just three ingredients yield a surprisingly flavor "quickie" barbecue sauce. Try it as a dipping sauce for purchased roasted chicken or breaded, baked chicken breast. You can also toss shredded chicken meat with the sauce for a simple pulled-chicken sandwich. (Bonus points if you add cheddar cheese and toast the sandwich in a panini press!)
Juicy Lucy Burger
Southside Minneapolis is home to this three-napkin burger famous for its molten cheese center. Both Matt's Bar and the 5-8 Club claim its creation. No matter the lineage, it's burgerlicious.
Brush sliced zucchini, apple and sausage with an easy-to-make honey-mustard glaze before cooking. Serve with a skewer of toasted bread pieces.
Greek Orzo Salad
Olives and feta give salty punch to this pasta salad from Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese Shop in Minneapolis.
This simple, flavorful recipe comes from reader Doug Heiken of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. It's a quick, easy recipe to throw together if you have a vegetarian at a cookout.
Chicken Chutney Salad
Jarred mango chutney and raisins add sweetness and mild spice to this chicken salad; trading the usual mayonnaise for yogurt makes it healthier.
Paella is a snap when you use precooked turkey sausage, precooked shrimp and pouch rice. Serve this delicious dish with warm, crusty bread to sop up the juices at the bottom of your bowl.
Shrimp Fusilli with Sweet-Pea Pesto
Frozen seafood is the rushed cook's friend--here, peeled and deveined shrimp let you skip the prep work. Peas, garlic, mint, butter and vinegar form the pesto.
Steamed Salmon with Lemon and Vegetables
A bed of pretty squash and carrot ribbons seasoned with lemon and herbs gently steams salmon in the oven, yielding moist, flavorful fish—with a veggie side dish built right in!