15 Quick-Prep Recipes for Easy Summer Dinners
Lazy summer living calls for easy meals that don't keep you stuck in the kitchen with endless chopping, stirring, and fussing. These recipes need just 20 minutes (or less!) of hands-on time — your oven, grill, or skillet will take care of the rest.
For simple summer sides, stock up at the grocery store on key ingredients, like bagged slaw mixes and dried pastas and condiments for quick, creamy summer salads; ingredients that are versatile enough to make several sides for the week.
Orange Shallot Marsala Pork Chops
"Pork and orange flavors are lovely together," says reviewer BigShotsMom. "I used orange juice because I had no tangerines and I replaced the orange zest with Simple and Crisp orange slices. This went together so quickly and looks lovely and tastes even better."
Farmer's Market Vegetarian Quesadillas
"Making the most of simple, fresh ingredients found at your local farmers' market, these quesadillas make great appetizers or a quick and healthy meal. Serve while hot with your favorite salsa, sour cream, and guacamole." —Jennifer Baker
Air-Fried Italian Stuffed Tomatoes
Turn fresh tomatoes into a summertime meal by stuffing them with brown rice, cheese, garlic, basil, and toasted nuts, and cooking them in your air-fryer.
Mushroom Beef Burgers
Here's an easy way to bump up the flavor of your burgers — add chopped mushrooms, onion, garlic, and seasonings to the ground beef mixture. "These were really good. I did grill them on an outside gas grill but that was the only change I made. These are VERY meaty," says Soup Loving Nicole
Grilled Salmon with Bacon and Corn Relish
Salty, smoky bacon meets sweet summer corn to create an irresistible topping for grilled salmon. Serve over fresh spinach, if you like. No grill? Just cook the salmon in the oven.
Turkish Chicken Kebabs
After a quick 15-minute prep, these chicken kabobs need to marinate in their spicy, citrusy yogurt-based marinade for 2 hours before going for a speedy 12-minute grill. "Outstanding recipe!" raves Jeff Anderson. "I wouldn't change a thing. Great with a good tzatziki sauce."
Maui Girl's Summer Fettuccine
Recipe creator Maui Girl says, "This looks complicated, but it is so simple. I came up with this recipe when I needed to use up a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes and basil from my patio garden. It is rich and creamy and a perfect fettuccine for a warm summer night. I served this with a crisp white wine...perfecto!" The recipe calls for pancetta, but you can substitute bacon or thinly sliced ham, and it's still a great summer meal.
The hands-on time for this vegetable-packed dish is only 15 minutes, but then it simmers for about an hour to let all the fresh vegetables get to know each other. Warning: This recipe makes a big batch, but it's even better the next day.
Festival-Style Grilled Italian Sausage Sandwiches
"Oh my there's nothing quite so tasty as a grilled Italian sausage sandwich!" says home cook Jillian. "My husband and I are no strangers to making these and definitely feel you shouldn't have to wait for summer to have such a treat. We use both hot and sweet sausage and use red and green peppers along with the onion. We love grilling veggies and these give the sandwiches a nice smokiness. Be sure not to poke the sausages as you'll end up releasing all of those wonderful juices."
Sizzling Sherry Shrimp with Garlic
After a quick 10-minute prep and only 5 minutes of cook time, you'll have a fragrant skilletful of hot and spicy shrimp to serve over rice or pasta. Naples34012 says, "This is a beautiful dish, and I enjoyed the paprika even more than I thought I would. The recipe doesn't specify, but I used what I thought was an appropriate, fragant smoked Spanish paprika which was really, really good."
Nat's Shrimp and Veggie Stuffed Zucchini
Summertime is peak zucchini time, so grab a few and stuff them full of whatever floats your boat. For this recipe, that means shrimp, tomato, mushrooms, cheese, herbs, garlic, and shallots. Pop them into the oven and kick back until they're ready to plate up — about 30 minutes or so.
Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
This quick and easy meal is a true weeknight winner. Ready in only 30 minutes, it features shrimp cooked with bacon, onions, and chipotle chiles. Serve in warm tortillas with fresh cilantro and a big squeeze of lime. Diced avocado is optional, but go on and treat yourself.
Grilled Tofu Skewers with Sriracha Sauce
If you think tofu is bland and boring, these spicy marinated tofu kabobs will change your mind. Qofcheez says, "Wow! This one should convert people to tofu! Very cheap to make and a lot more filling than they look. And gorge all you like — they are really healthy!"
Aloha Chicken Burgers
Recipe creator Chris McDaniel describes this marinated and grilled chicken burger as "a luau on a bun!" No grill? No problem! You can wrap the chicken in foil and bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
Pesto Pasta Caprese Salad
Everything you love about caprese salad, but tossed with pasta to make a satisfying meal. And it comes together in only 20 minutes! Molly says, "We thoroughly enjoyed this pasta salad made with tomatoes and basil from our garden. I mixed this up in the morning to give the flavors time to marry with the exception of the basil. I added the basil about 30 minutes before serving so that it would be fresh."