Quick

Recipe: Stovetop Pesto Macaroni and Cheese — Quick and Easy Vegetarian Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

A few big spoonfuls of bright, herby pesto make mac and cheese a weeknight dinner suitable for summer. The creamy, nutty flavors of sharp cheddar play nicely with the herby pesto, which brings a vibrant contrast to the cheese's richness. Store-bought pesto is always a back-pocket shortcut for us, but during the summer fresh become our first choice. So when considering this for dinner, include homemade pesto in the plans too.

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Recipe: Portuguese-Style Mint Rice — Quick and Easy Weeknight Sides

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I don't know about your garden, but in summertime the mint in my own vegetable patch always threatens to take over. I love that sweet herb, but how many juleps can one gal make? Luckily I was in Portugal recently and I found that mint, or hortelã, as the Portuguese call it, was a common ingredient throughout the meal there. I ate it in soups, from a refreshing, chilled green melon soup to a lemony chicken sopa; it was paired with fava beans for fish; and, along with olive oil, it dressed a "carpaccio" of thin-sliced oranges for dessert.

But the very best minty dish I tried was the arroz de hortelã — mint rice — at Luar de Janeiro, a low-key, traditional restaurant in the Medieval town of Évora.

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Recipe: Sour Cream and Berries Brûlée — Easy Dessert Recipes

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Dessert really doesn't get much easier than this. Three ingredients — berries, sour cream, and brown sugar — join forces to create a sweet treat that's juicy, creamy, crunchy, and caramelized all at once. It feels fancy and special, but it's super simple to assemble, making it the perfect choice for all your summer party dessert needs.

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Recipe: Sour Cream and Berries Brûlée — Easy Dessert Recipes

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Dessert really doesn't get much easier than this. Three ingredients — berries, sour cream, and brown sugar — join forces to create a sweet treat that's juicy, creamy, crunchy, and caramelized all at once. It feels fancy and special, but it's super simple to assemble, making it the perfect choice for all your summer party dessert needs.

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Recipe: Crispy Chicken Thighs with Fresh Cherry Salsa — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Chicken thighs are on the menu weekly in my house. It's hard to beat their versatility and affordability. This is how I plan to eat them until fresh cherry season — aka the best season — comes to an end. The thighs are cooked in a cast iron skillet until their skin crackles and then they're topped with a quick and easy cherry salsa made with red onion, jalapeño, fresh cilantro, and a big squeeze of lime. When piled onto the chicken thighs, it's an effortless yet elegant summer meal that's as ready for casual weeknights as it is for simple dinner parties out on the back porch.

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Recipe: One-Pan Basil-Plum Pork Chops — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I like to think of plums as the silent heroes of summer, sitting patiently among other more celebrated stone fruit like peaches and nectarines. Biting into a perfectly ripe, juicy plum is a rite of summer, and turning plums into dinner is one of the best ways to give them a place in the spotlight. When roasted with bone-in pork chops, plums get a bit jammy and turn into a sweet-savory sauce built around a few pantry staples and finished with a fistful of soft basil leaves. All this quick one-pan dinner needs is a crisp salad and a crusty loaf of bread for capturing all that saucy goodness.

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