Janet's Notebook
Easy Summer Dinner Recipes


Stuffed Summer Squash


Summertime dinners are about easy recipes that incorporate fresh ingredients at their peak flavor. When looking for cooking inspiration, try one of these simple dinner recipes. I've thrown in a couple of easy summer desserts too... because what's dinner without dessert.

If you want a light dinner, Pam Ellingson's (Wichita, KS) Chilled Chilled Cantaloupe, Mango and Peach Soup is an option. For me, there's nothing like a chilled soup on a hot day.

"I used to make this chilled soup during the summers when I worked with my mother cooking at the Wichita Art Museum," explains Pam. "I never failed to sell all of it because it is so refreshing and tasty."

This cantaloupe soup recipe is so fruity and fresh, it's like a liquid dessert. I used vanilla yogurt in my soup (you can also use heavy cream, sour cream, half and half, etc) and the results were heavenly.

I love roasted vegetables but never made a sandwich with them until I tried Cheryl Neubecker's (La Mesa, CA) Roasted Garden Veggie Sandwich.

"In the summer everything is so delicious coming from the garden," thinks Cheryl. "Roasting veggies brings out all the wonderful natural flavors."

This sandwich is very fresh and filling. Made with zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes, it's a great way to use some of the summertime veggies. I tried this with provolone, but next time I'm going to use the goat cheese option. The tang will be a nice contrast with the other flavors.

Linda Wasko's (Beaver, PA) Stuffed Summer Squash is so good and full of flavor. The squash is primarily stuffed with both hot and regular Italian sausage. There's a little kick thanks to the spicy sausage. All the stuffing flavors blend well and, when baked in the tender squash, makes a delicious side or main dish.

"I made this one day because I had these ingredients on hand," shares Linda Knowles (Bristol, RI). "My husband took the leftovers to work the next day and heated it up in the microwave. Everyone in the office called and asked me for the recipe."

Linda's Chicken With Zucchini and Pesto Over Angel Hair Pasta is a delicious dinner your family is going to love too.

The stir-fry of Italian seasoned vegetables and chicken taste fresh and flavorful with the angel hair pasta. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese starts to melt over the pasta - kind of tastes like a softly salted sprinkle.

Even if you're not camping, s'mores are a fun summer dessert. What makes ooey gooey s'mores better? A big smear of peanut butter!

Kenneth Hilyard (Fowlerville, MI) added that to his Peanut Butter S'mores thanks to a suggestion from his son. The marshmallow, chocolate, and peanut butter melt together to create a mouthwatering treat. Once you have this yummy s'more you'll never have them any other way.

When fruit is in season, there's no better dessert than a cobbler. A simple recipe we love is Dawn Worden's (Milton, FL) Iron Skillet Peach Cobbler.

Cooking in a cast iron skillet creates the perfect crust. The fresh peaches have just enough sugar to let their natural flavors shine. An oatmeal topping adds a nice crunch and sweetness.

On a hot day, if you're going to get into the kitchen it should be for a worthwhile dinner. These Blue Ribbon summer recipes are worth turning on the oven. Happy Pinching!



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