Summer

Next Week’s Meal Plan: 5 Easy Family Dinners from the Farmers Market — Next Week’s Meal Plan

My meal-planning routine has changed a bit since summer started. Instead of doing all my planning on Friday night, I wait until after the farmers market on Saturday to formulate a plan. I give myself a budget for buying eggs, vegetables, fruit, and bread (always buy the bread) at the market and just buy whatever looks great that week. After we get home with our haul, I put things away, make a plan, and grocery shop for staples or missing ingredients in the afternoon.

This farmers market-centric meal-planning routine keeps me inspired and gives me flexibility each week. Here's what a week of farmers market-inspired meals looks like for my family of four.

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It’s Totally Weird for Summer, but I’m Obsessed with Sweet Potatoes Right Now — Kitchn Obsessions

(Image credit: Ariel Knutson)

Summer is synonymous with cold salads, Popsicles, and grilled food. It's the time of year when you're supposed to say goodbye to your oven (unless you're making pie), and opt for simple, fresh meals. It's the time for weekly trips to the farmers market, tons of seasonal vegetables and fruits, and lazy beach days. It should be all about lazy cooking.

So why, all of a sudden, am I obsessed with roasted sweet potatoes?

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Recipe: Red Wine Strawberries — Easy Dessert Recipes

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Fresh, in-season strawberries don't need much to dress them up — really just eating them out of hand will do. But if you want to turn them into a dinner party-worthy dessert, you don't have to try much harder. Let those berries swim in a mix of red wine, brown sugar, and vanilla for a little bit, and they are transformed into something even better than you can imagine.

These boozy strawberries taste almost caramelized and just a touch earthy, yet they are still incredibly juicy and bright. When served in bowls with billowy dollops of crème fraîche or whipped cream, they are definitely the best way to finish off a seasonal meal with your favorite people.

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10 Cakes to Bake This Summer — Recipes from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Christine Han)

If there is one time it's worth heating up the oven during summer, it's for the promise of cake — especially one that highlights the season's fresh fruit. From a blueberry-lemon skillet cake to a towering strawberry shortcake, these are the cakes that should be on your must-make list. Whether you're going to a birthday party or a poolside picnic, you can't go wrong with any of these sweet treats.

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20 Make-Ahead Dishes You Can Bring to Any Cookout — Recipes from The Kitchn

I have two rules when heading to summer cookouts and potlucks: Never show up empty-handed, and leave ample time to whip up a dish the crowd will love. No matter what your timeframe looks like, and whether you have a full day or an hour to prep your dish, there's a recipe here for you.

From hearty broccoli and cauliflower "slaw" and summery succotash, to a tropical icebox cake and pitcher drinks for a crowd, here are 20 make-ahead recipes perfect for your summer cookout.

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Recipe: Red, White, and Blue Jello Mold — Easy Dessert Recipes

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you're feeling patriotic, there are plenty of red, white, and blue jello mold recipes out there, but the kicker is that most start out with boxes of flavored gelatin. Let's go for a tastier version, shall we? One with real fruit juice and lots of fresh fruit suspended in the layers, and no artificial colors.

This dessert is quite the showstopper — especially for kids. Plus, who doesn't love a sweet-tart red layer filled with strawberries, a creamy vanilla-based middle layer that tastes a bit like whipped cream, and a dark-blue layer chock-full of plump blueberries? Having it all in one slice is the best part. Not only will you get an amazing, satisfying feeling as you cut into the three gorgeous layers, but your taste buds (and guests!) will also thank you.

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