5 Quick Summer Dinners Guaranteed to Please


Warmer weather means nobody wants to be cooped up in a sweltering kitchen for hours making dinner. Tonight, try one of these quick and easy summer dinner recipes instead. Don’t be fooled, though. Even without all the extra time, they pack a flavorful punch.

1. Rosemary Ranch Chicken Skewers

Moist, tender and delicious, this chicken recipe is sure to please even your pickiest eaters.


  • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup creamy ranch dressing
  • 2½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ¾ tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

In a large, non-metal bowl, whisk together all ingredients except for the chicken. Add the chicken thighs and stir well to coat. Cover and allow to marinate for about 20 minutes.

Preheat your outdoor grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Thread chicken onto wooden skewers that have been soaked in water. Grill for about 10 minutes, or until juices run clear.

This crowd pleasing recipe is easily adaptable. For a tasty twist, omit the olive oil, use your favorite Italian dressing instead of ranch, and swap the rosemary for fresh, chopped thyme.

2. Slow Cooker Steak and Peppers

The slow cooker is a summer cooking staple. Let it do the work while you take some well-earned “me” time.


  • 2 pounds beef stir-fry strips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cube beef bouillon
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Season the beef strips with salt and pepper, and brown in a skillet with the cooking oil. Transfer to slow cooker. Mix bouillon cube and cornstarch with hot water until dissolved and pour over meat. Add tomatoes, soy sauce, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, onion and sugar. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Add red and green bell peppers and cook for another 2 hours. Serve over white rice or egg noodles.

Turn this simple recipe into killer cheese steak sandwiches by replacing the soy sauce with Worcestershire sauce and adding 3 tablespoons of your favorite steak sauce, such as A1. Serve on toasted rolls with melted provolone cheese.

More: 10 Summer Family Dinner Ideas

3. Lime Chicken Soft Tacos

Quick and easy, tacos are one of the unofficial foods of summer. This citrusy version is bright and fresh – perfect for those hot nights!


  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup shredded romaine lettuce
  • ¼ cup shredded Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
  • ¼ cup pico de gallo
  • ½ cup Mexican crema
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and cumin. Heat olive oil in a skillet and brown chicken. In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime, tequila, sugar, green onions and garlic. Add to chicken and cook over high heat for 10-18 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Add cilantro during the last couple of minutes of cooking. Serve in warm tortillas, topped with diced tomato, shredded lettuce, cheese, and a drizzle of Mexican crema.

For a spicy kick, add ½ can chopped canned chipotle peppers to the chicken mixture, and mix a finely chopped Serrano pepper to the crema.

More: 5 Versatile, Delicious Summer Pasta Dishes

4. Southern California Grilled Veggie Sandwich

You won’t miss the meat in this hearty west coast summer specialty. Fresh, seasonal produce will give you the best flavor, making these sandwiches a perfect way to use your farmers’ market finds.


  • ¼ cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 portabella mushroom cap, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Focaccia, Italian, or French bread

In a bowl, mix the mayo, lime juice, lime zest, garlic and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to marry, at least 30 minutes. Brush all vegetables with olive oil on both sides and grill over high heat for about 3 minutes per side, until cooked through, but still crisp-tender. Remove veggies from grill.

Spread some of the prepared mayonnaise on cut sides of bread. Sprinkle feta on top of mayo mixture and grill bread, cheese side up, until bread is crisp and cheese is softened. Take the bread off the grill, add vegetables, and top with other slice of bread.

This delicious grilled veggie combination is perfect for a creamy summer pasta salad. Omit the bread, dice up the vegetables once they’re off the grill, and mix with rotini pasta. Mix in mayo sauce, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

More: 10 Healthy, Low-Calorie Summer Snacks

5. Mango Swordfish Salad

The Caribbean flavors of this fresh salad make it the perfect ending to a warm summer evening.


  • 4 swordfish steaks
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons plus ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ripe mangos, peeled and sliced into 4 chunks
  • ½ bag fresh baby spinach
  • ½ bag fresh baby kale
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Zest and juice of 4 tangerines or mandarin oranges
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan for medium heat. Brush the swordfish steaks and mango with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and season fish with salt and pepper. Grill the swordfish on oiled grates, about 6 minutes per side, or until lightly browned on all sides. Grill mango for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and allow fish and mango to cool slightly. Cut fish and mangos into 1-2 inch chunks.

Toss together spinach, kale, and tomatoes. Top with swordfish and mangos. In a separate bowl, mix together remaining olive oil, tangerine juice and zest, soy sauce, and vinegar. Drizzle dressing over salad just before serving.

This versatile salad works with grilled chicken, too. Add a chopped red pepper and a finely diced Serrano pepper for some heat, and season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder and ground cumin.


Try one of these quick summer dinner recipes today and surprise your family with your culinary skills. What’s your favorite quick summer dinner recipe?