All-Star Ingredients for Easy Summer Meals

What do you really need on hand for quick, easy summer dinners? Here's our go-to list. Some may surprise you! 

Summer Standbys 

What do you really need on hand for quick, easy summer dinners? Here's our go-to list — it's a combo of veggies that turn into meals in a snap, seasonings that make everything a little more summery, and starches that help round out whatever you've got on hand (ideally without heating up the house too much).


It's the perfect hit of sweet crunch to round out any meal.

Corn Salsa

Grill it, steam it or cut it off the cob and fold it (raw or cooked) into a salsa or salad.

Pizza Dough

Keep pizza dough in your freezer for quick, easy flatbreads, cooked either on the grill or in the oven.  

Grilled Pizza

Add your favorite sauce-and-cheese combo, or top it off with cooked vegetables.

Summer Squash

It wouldn't be summer without a ridiculous oversupply of summer squash.  

Pasta with Summer Squash

Shred it into noodles and add to pasta, grate it into quick breads, slice it thin and serve as a light appetizer with a dressing or on top of a flatbread, or layer in a skillet with thinly sliced potatoes and bake as a gratin.

Baking Ingredients

Baking? In summer?  

Zucchini Bread

Quick breads, cobblers and crumbles are some of the best (and tastiest) ways we know of to dispatch any of summer's more-bountiful ingredients.

Chili Powder

Pick your favorite chile, or the best blend you can find.

Chili-Grilled Corn

Stir it into mayo for a speedy dipping sauce, add it to dry rubs, or dust it over grilled corn — we think it's summer's indispensable seasoning.

Arugula and Other Lettuces

You're never more than a few minutes away from dinner with something leafy, green and deliciously raw in your fridge.  

Winning Chicken Dinner

Grill up something hearty to top it off, add your favorite dressing and you're done.

Short Pasta

Orzo, fusilli or elbow macaroni — anything short and easily forkable — is an easy, quick shortcut to turning a couple of disparate ingredients into a full-on meal.  

Pasta Salad

Dress the pasta while it's still warm, then chill. It's good in the fridge for up to 3 days, and is the perfect base for veggies and cold cuts.


Limes are in short stock this year due to drought and supply issues ...   


But they (along with lemons) play a critical part in many of our favorite summer classics, from marinades to margaritas. In a pinch, you can swap lemons for limes in pretty much any recipe.