21 Super Summer Menu Ideas
Savor the flavors of summer with a week's worth of dinner menus that feature grilled meats, just-picked produce, cool treats and more.
Menu #1: Grilled steak dinner
Our steak's peppery rub and topping of juicy tomatoes combine some of summer's best foods. Serve with colorful sweet potato wedges, and linger at the table with a cool ice cream-shortbread dessert.
Peppery Grilled Steak with Summer Tomatoes (recipe link above)
Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges with Dipping Sauces
Lemon-Pecan Shortbread Sundaes (see next slide)
Tip: The steak recipe serves four big eaters or eight regular folks. Halve or quarter tomatoes for easier eating.
Lemon-Pecan Shortbread Sundaes
Irresistible tangy lemon and rich pecans flavor one of the easiest cookies around: buttery shortbread. Prop shortbread triangles in scoops of ice cream or citrus sorbet with assorted fresh fruit.
Menu #2: Grilled chicken dinner
Give your grilled meal an international flavor with spiced chicken. The East Indian garam-masala blend seasons the chicken, giving off an enticing aroma as it grills. The rest of the meal goes together fast while the chicken cooks.
Spiced Chicken with Cucumber-Mint Sauce (recipe link above)
No Measure Spinach Salad
Honey-Berry Yogurt Frozen Yogurt Sundaes (next slide)
Tip: For a timesaver or a different flavor, substitute purchased mango chutney for the Cucumber-Mint Sauce.
Honey-Berry Yogurt Frozen Yogurt Sundaes
Fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries star in our Honey-Berry Frozen Yogurt Sundaes, which take only 15 minutes to make from start to finish.
Menu #3: Vegetarian dinner
Juicy fresh tomatoes flavor both the cheesy tart and the salad, and fresh basil gives the tart extra oomph. Top the angel food cake dessert with in-season berries.
Fresh Tomato Tart (recipe link above)
Romaine Hearts with Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette (see next slide)
Triple-Berry Angel Food Cake (continue in slideshow)
Tip: The Tomato Tart makes a delicious appetizer (8 servings) as well as a main dish (4 servings).
Romaine Hearts with Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette
We based this salad on heart of romaine lettuce because it's so easy to serve. Colorful cherry tomatoes and tangy Kalamata olives add great flavor and visual interest to this side dish.
Triple-Berry Angel Food Cake
This simple, make-ahead dessert is light and colorful. Save time by using store-bought angel food cake and making the berry fruit spread the day before. You can substitute some of your other favorite fruits in the sauce, if you like.
Menu #4: Pork chop dinner
Serve spicy smoked pork with sausage-and-cheese cornbread stuffing plus black-eyed peas. An easy-to-make dessert using store-bought ice cream finishes the meal.
Grilled Applewood Smoked Pork Chops
Kansas Corn Bread Stuffing
Purchased black-eye peas
Upside Down Maple Pie (see next slide)
Tip: If you're pressed for time, skip smoking the pork.
Upside-Down Maple Pie
Maple syrup drizzles over a square of cinnamon ice cream, then a sprinkling of pecans and a dab of whipped cream finish off this delicious treat. Try adding a maple leaf piecrust cutout baked with a coating of cinnamon sugar--or a crispy cinnamon sugar cookie from the store if you're not in the mood to bake.
Menu #5: Main-dish salad dinner
Cool down with a menu so easy you don't have to open the oven or turn on the stove. Buy a deli rotisserie chicken to keep the salad super-simple, and pick up some muffins or your favorite bread while you're at the store.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Hickory-Smoked Chicken (recipe link above)
Ginger Fruit with Pineapple Sherbet (see next slide)
Tip: Store the Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Ginger Fruit with Pineapple Sherbet
This topping will impress family or guests with its zesty goodness. But easy ingredients—-canned pineapple and mandarin orange sections tossed with orange marmalade, crystallized ginger and vanilla—make it a snap to create and pair with good-for-you sherbet.Ginger Fruit with Pineapple Sherbet
Menu #6: All-American cookout
Pack extra flavor into classic grilled burgers by mixing the meat with egg, cheese, chopped onion and spices. Add a traditional potato salad, some watermelon and our easy ice cream dessert for a hearty backyard meal.
Our Best-Ever Grilled Burgers (recipe link above)
Grandma's Potato Salad
Patriotic Salute (see next slide)
Tip: For more great burger ideas, see our Best Burger Recipes.
Patriotic color bursts from strawberry ice cream, strawberry topping, whipped cream, cinnamon candies and fresh strawberries dipped in white chocolate and colored sugar. Add a star cookie cutout baked with a sprinkling of colored sugar (blue, of course).
Menu #7: Grilled tuna dinner
How do you improve on grilled marinated tuna? A Chicago restaurant serves warm tuna with a fresh-tasting citrus salad. Add purchased cheesecake with an easy homemade topping for dessert.
Citrus Pesto Tuna (recipe link above)
Raspberry-Topped Cheesecake (see next slide)
Tip: Try to cook fish the day you bring it home. If you have to keep fish overnight, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator.
Start with 4 slices of your favorite purchased cheesecake. Mix up this easy topping, and you've got dessert!