There’s just something about summer that makes preparing meals more fun and food taste better. The warm weather makes us crave cool salads, long weekends that send us searching for the best party recipes, while get togethers with friends and family make us eager to haul out the grill.
For all of these reasons and more, here we share nine of the best summer eats for your cooking and indulging pleasure. These dishes are guaranteed to add a little extra fun and adventure to your summer cooking plans!
1. Summer sliders
When it comes to a summer holiday get together, you want food that is not only delicious but is quick to prepare and easy to eat. These summer sliders are the perfect choice for a mouth-watering main dish that you can eat with one hand while you hold a sparkler in the other.
Burgers are a must for any outdoor gathering, but they require two hands and sometimes even a chair to enjoy them. With so many other activities going on — fireworks, badmitten, horseshoes — sliders win by allowing you to enjoy their juicy goodness while still participating in other fun festivities. See, you can have your cake — er, burger — and eat it too.
2. Grilled sweet corn with chili-lime honey butter
If burgers are the quintessential grilling food of summer, then corn on the cob is the only choice for a side. They are a match made in cookout heaven. There is nothing quite like the mounds of freshly picked corn on the cob you find at the local farmer’s market or grocery store, still in their husks, just waiting to be grilled to perfection.
A warm grill and bright yellow corn on the cob smothered in chili-lime butter are all you need for a memorable and delicious grilling experience. These grilled, buttery ears of corn are perfect with any main course, or all by themselves.
3. Bobby Flay’s grilled margarita pizza
If grilling doesn’t make you think of pizza, you’ve been missing out. Once you’ve treated your taste buds to the sensation that is Bobby Flay’s grilled margarita pizza, you’ll never look at pizza in a box the same way.
Why grilled? As with so many other dishes, it’s simply better. It’s that slightly charred, outdoorsy flavor that cannot be duplicated in a conventional oven. Store-bought or homemade pizza dough, tangy olive oil, slices of juicy tomatoes, mounds of scrumptious mozzarella cheese and leaves of savory basil perfected on the grill will forever ruin your excitement for plain old pepperoni pizza. Your taste buds will thank you.
4. Turkey meatballs with Asian dipping sauce
Have you ever attended a potluck, game day party or other get together that didn’t include meatballs of some variety? It seems unlikely. They are a staple at nearly all gatherings for the simple reason that they are a delicious and perfectly bite-sized party food. If you’ve grown a little bored of the standard party meatballs, these turkey meatballs with Asian dipping sauce will quickly replace all other meatball recipes as your go-to favorite.
The meatballs themselves are delicious, but it’s really the sauce that is makes them a bona-fide winner. Traditional Asian ingredients mixed with a bit of sugar and spice compliment the turkey meatballs to perfection. Eaten alone, with a bowl of steamed rice, or in a lettuce wrap, these meatballs will be requested frequently by their newfound fans, for everyday as well as for parties.
You can’t have a festive summer gathering without delighting your hot and thirsty guests with a fun, fruity, ice-cold drink. Slushies are the ultimate beat-the-heat summer refreshment, and all you need to make them is a few good ingredients and your blender.
6. Citrus berry and feta cheese salad
It’s the end of a warm summer day. Perhaps you’ve spent time enjoying yourself outside with family and friends; the last thing you want to do is heat up the oven for dinner. We just happen to have something thing to help with that. This citrus berry and feta cheese salad is a masterful combination of flavors that will help you cool off and keep the heat outside where it belongs.
Fresh, juicy fruits join together with savory greens, creamy feta cheese, crunchy almonds and a sweet and tangy dressing that all come together in harmony. Each bite of this salad is a burst of flavor for your tastebuds. Once you try this, it will become a regular visitor at your dinner table year around.
7. Air fryer fried chicken
Fried chicken is one of those nostalgic dishes that recalls memories in mom’s or grandma’s kitchen. It’s a feel-good food that doesn’t always make us feel so good after eating it. Maybe it’s the deep frying in oodles of oil that does it. For a dish that will take you back, without the guilt afterwards, this air fryer fried chicken should do the trick.
We want chicken that is juicy and crispy, but not the fat and calories that come with traditional fried chicken. The air fryer takes care of that for us by producing fried chicken pieces that are a crispy, golden brown but not saturated with oil. The tender chicken caked with a crispy coating of flour and seasonings lets you indulge in delicious fried chicken and leave the guilt behind.
8. Creamy confetti corn with bacon
Mmmm…bacon. Somehow that word just always jumps out of a recipe and we rarely need more convincing. When you add a few choice ingredients to freshly cooked bacon and cook those ingredients in some of the bacon grease — well there’s no turning back. For a side dish guaranteed to make you and your guests come back for seconds, take a look at this creamy confetti corn with bacon recipe. Then dash right out for all of the ingredients because you’re gonna want to make this immediately.
Fresh corn on the cob kernels, crispy smoked bacon, sweet red pepper, melted cream cheese, onions and cilantro come together for a side dish that will leave your guests speechless. Mostly likely because they’ve already put another bite in their mouth. Don’t worry about dinner party conversation topics for a while…that will be there waiting once you’ve had your fill of this delicious dish.
9. Pretzel bites with cheesy beer fondue
Soft pretzels are an unlikely delicacy that are nearly impossible to pass up. Whether at a sporting event, carnival or county fair, these are right up there with must haves like cotton candy and shaved ice. So a recipe for homemade pretzel bites with cheesy beer fondue that you can have without leaving your own home? Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not.
Soft, warm, and lightly salted, these bites are impossible to resist even before you get to the fondue. Try to exercise some self-control to make sure you still have some around to enjoy with the creamy, decadent cheese beer fondue. Then sit back and take it slow. This is not an experience you want to rush through, but rather slowly savor. Resistance is futile!