What Working at My Family Restaurant Taught Me About Summer — Best of Summer

Fireflies caught in Mason jars, chased barefoot. Cornhole played on plush lawns or basketball on your neighborhood net, the games ending only when the street lights came on. Hours spent shaping sandcastles on the beach, or digging holes just to watch with satisfaction as they filled with water from the bottom up.

And the food — oh, the food! Laid on tablecloths and served outdoors on picnic tables, summer barbecues are the ultimate joys of the season. Close your eyes and remember the tantalizing scent of charcoal as hot dogs blistered and split their skins on the grill. Burgers sizzling on the grates, flipped by someone wearing a "Kiss the Cook" apron. Ears of fresh corn, growing sweet inside charring husks as baked beans simmer equally slowly. The smacking of lips as rib meat is torn off the bone, then again as thick sauce is licked off the fingers. Then, finally, a hollow thwak as a ripe watermelon is broken open so that seed-spitting contests between cousins can commence.

Do you remember all of that?

I don't. Although my experiences may have held vestiges of this American daydream, the details were a bit different.

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20 Ideas for Make-Ahead Lunches That Last the Week — Recipes from The Kitchn

There have been far too many Sundays in my life when I've wanted to get ahead on meal prep for the week but skipped it out of laziness. That stops now! Because carving out some time to make lunches for the upcoming week can make busy days run a whole lot smoother — whether they're for your kids to tote to school or for you to pack up for the office. Here are 20 great recipes that call for a little effort on the last day of your weekend but reap big rewards.

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16 Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinners for Busy School Nights — Recipes from The Kitchn

My September Survival Plan involves school supply lists, a fresh planner, and a collection of recipes that are fast, easy, and delicious. With my oldest headed to kindergarten and a little one hitting full-time preschool, I know everyone is going to be exhausted and hungry when we get home every weeknight from Monday to Friday. I also know that a home-cooked meal that I can pull off in about 35 minutes is the quickest way to revive the brood and get them back into our school-night routine. These recipes are some of our family favorites (hello, 10-minute tacos) and some that I'm hoping will become new regulars at our table.

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Recipe: The Best Pesto Chicken Salad — Quick and Easy Lunch Recipes

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Over the years I've perfected a version of homemade pesto chicken salad after ordering it countless times at any number of restaurants. It pairs fresh pesto with sun-dried tomatoes with shredded chicken — the ideal preparation for catching all the bits of herbs, cheese, and nuts that makes this recipe the best.

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This Is the Most Popular Tomato Recipe on Pinterest — On Trend

(Image credit: julia's album)

Although many would say the greatest thing about summer is the sunshine or the endless excuses to eat ice cream, those of us in the know see red when we talk about summer.

That's right, I'm talking about tomatoes. Summer tomatoes are so unlike the pulpy, insipid versions that haunt most grocery markets year-round. These jewels of summer are bulbous and thin skinned, bursting with sweet juices, and need only a sprinkle of salt and a schmear of mayonnaise to make the perfect summer lunch. However, if you want to get a little fancier and don't mind turning on the stove, you aren't alone. Pinterest's most popular tomato recipe, which has been saved over 175,000 times, is a one-pot wonder that is savory and satisfying without taking all day to prepare.

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10 Foil Packet Chicken Recipes for Easy Dinners — Recipe Roundup

(Image credit: The Recipe Critic)

Foil packet dinners are a lazy cook's best friend. All you have to do is place your ingredients in the center of a large piece of tin foil, seal it up into a neat little package, and let it cook in the oven or on the grill. You can even eat right out of the packet, which means you won't have to wash any pots, pans, or plates when dinner's over.

Whether you're heading out on a camping trip or you're just looking for a no-fuss dinner to make this week, these 10 foil packet chicken dinners are here to make your life easier.

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