34 Summer Dinner Ideas That Celebrate the Season
School may be out, but you've still got to get dinner on the table. Summer will be over before you know it, so be sure to savor every fresh summer flavor before it's gone. From garden-fresh summer squash to mouthwatering kabobs straight from the grill, these dinners are best enjoyed on your porch or patio, as you take in the sunset. Here are 34 of our best summer dinner ideas that the whole family will enjoy (when they're not busy enjoying the pool).
What's in season and available farm-fresh during the summer? Garlic! "This is a wonderful recipe for everyday or company, and the best part is you always have the ingredients on hand," says reviewer SAMMARTI.
Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs
"I made this with both dried rosemary and again with fresh rosemary, and I think that the fresh rosemary really adds a lot to the flavor," says reviewer R Conklin. "This will be a favorite recipe in the summer grilling months at our home!"
Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken
This easy recipe comes together in just 25 minutes with ingredients you likely already have on hand. Reviewer MADFORGOLD says, "Love the spicy little kick this chicken has to offer."
Slow-Cooker Pepper Steak
Put juicy summer peppers on display in this easy slow cooker recipe. "Very tender and flavorful, this recipe is one of our family's favorites," says recipe creator MJWAGNER68. "It's great to make ahead of time in the slow cooker and then serve over rice, egg noodles, or chow mein."
Stuffed Green Peppers I
"Here's a delicious stuffed pepper recipe that's easy to make," says recipe creator Suzanne M. Munson. "Each green bell pepper contains ground beef, onion, tomatoes, rice and cheese, and is cooked in tomato soup."
No matter where you are, these fish tacos will take you to the coast! Reviewer Chuck Sampson says, "I cannot believe how delicious the beer batter was. It's such a simple recipe, but it's so light and crispy and scrumptious. The white sauce was very, very good."
Lime Chicken Soft Tacos
These soft tacos can be easily customized to fit your taste. "Very good," says reviewer WAREAMANDA. "I threw all the ingredients including frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot in the morning. When I returned from work the chicken was so moist and fell apart on its own."
Lemon Garlic Tilapia
Tilapia is a budget-friendly fish that is made flavorful with fresh lemon juice and garlic. Reviewer pixiechick suggests serving this recipe over rice and baking the tilapia in foil and pouring the juices over the rice — yum!
Peppered Shrimp Alfredo
Pasta, shrimp, portobello mushrooms, and red peppers are tossed in a creamy Alfredo sauce. Reviewer Crystal S describes this dish as, "Absolutely easy and fast recipe to prepare with wonderful flavors. Even better the next day when the flavors have had a chance to marry. I used a combination of red and green bell pepper for an additional color."
Italian Sausage, Peppers, and Onions
Sausage, peppers, and onions are tossed in a white wine sauce all in one skillet. Reviewer BRIDGET says, "This was such an easy meal...this will be added into my regular rotation."
Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken II
Key West Chicken
If you can't be in the Florida Keys this summer, you can still eat like you are. "This recipe from the Florida Keys has been given to almost everyone I know," says recipe creator TINA B. "It is the best marinade for chicken, and it only takes 30 minutes from prep till you can grill! It's a great blend of flavors with honey, soy sauce, and lime juice. If you have time, try marinating overnight for the fullest flavor."
Connie's Zucchini "Crab" Cakes
Sean's Falafel and Cucumber Sauce
Chickpea patties are deep fried and served with a refreshing cucumber sauce. Reviewer Adrienne Lewis says, "They turned out perfectly! I chilled the mixture for about 30 minutes before frying it so it could 'solidify'...it was fantastic and easy!"
Scott Hibb's Amazing Whisky Grilled Baby Back Ribs
"Man, when your guests bite into these at the Memorial Day cookout, they'll savor meat so tender and juicy that it slides right off the bone and gets you the respect you deserve," says recipe creator Scott David Hibbard. "I have found that the major restaurant chains who make this awesome dish pre-cook their ribs SLOWLY before the quick grilling process."
Suki's Spinach and Feta Pasta
"Spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms mingle with tangy feta cheese in this quick and easy dish for a summer night or anytime," says recipe creator Suki.
California Grilled Veggie Sandwich
This colorful sandwich has a rainbow of grilled veggies: red bell peppers, zucchini, onion, and yellow squash. Reviewer KOALAGIRL says, "Trust me, you will not miss the meat in this sandwich!"
Juiciest Hamburgers Ever
Burgers and summer go together like peaches and cream. This recipe locks in the moisture for optimal juiciness: "Wow, these burgers were VERY juicy, even though I used very low fat meat," says reviewer Christi.
Fettuccine with Sweet Pepper-Cayenne Sauce
Fettuccine, bell peppers, and garlic are tossed in cream sauce with a bit of a kick from the cayenne. "Delicious, simple, and healthy with a bit of kick. I'll definitely make this again. I'll try adding shrimp next time," says reviewer Julia Pickup.
Chicken and Bacon Shish Kabobs
"Tangy marinated chicken and mushrooms, wrapped in bacon and skewered," says recipe creator Angie. "Excellent for entertaining and trying something new!" These can also be broiled instead of grilled if you're short on time.
Grilled Fish Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Dressing
Tilapia is marinated in a zesty lime marinade and grilled for maximum flavor. Reviewer Diana S. says, "The marinade gets 5 stars...it's fantastic!"
Marinated Tuna Steak
Orange juice, soy sauce, and garlic give this marinade a tangy flavor. Reviewer The Captain says, "I've never cooked tuna steak before, and it turned out perfectly...VERY juicy and extremely flavorful."
Chili-Lime Chicken Kabobs
"Awesome marinade," says reviewer JMccreery. "It is the perfect blend of spice and citrus...these were delicious!" Add your favorite summertime fruits and vegetables to these juicy chicken kabobs.
Garlic Shrimp Linguine
This dish is ready in just 30 minutes, but it's elegant enough to serve to guests. Reviewer ASKMOM says, "Only complaint was they wanted more sauce to dip their bread in."
Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa
"Don't let the list of ingredients fool you: this is super-easy, and gets rave reviews whenever I serve it," says recipe creator Naomi Witzke. "The salsa can be made the day ahead to save time. Strawberries can be substituted for the mango if you prefer--both are excellent! Combine leftover salsa with some drained black beans the next day for lunch."
Summertime and fair food go hand in hand, and now you can enjoy that familiar taste in the comfort of your own home. Reviewer queen of cakes says, "They taste just like the ones at the fair! I had been searching for a recipe for these corn dogs for a long time and I finally found it. The batter is simple to make and delicious."
Pasta Primavera with Italian Turkey Sausage
Use your bounty of garden-fresh vegetables to prepare this colorful dish. Farfalle pasta, sausage, garlic, onion, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, and basil are tossed in a mixture of chicken bouillon, red pepper, olive oil, and cheese.