5 Quick, Easy, and Delicious Summer Dinner Recipes

This week's meal plan is full of clever ways to squeeze the most out of every meal. Ideas on how to turn last night’s dinner into today’s breakfast, multiple uses for a tasty marinade, and ways to use up extra Tuna Patties. Efficient and delicious!

"What's for Dinner" with a platter of Char Siu behind the words.

This month, we welcome back Marta Rivera for more of her meal plans. Marta is a trained chef, mom of twins, Army wife, and a Simply Recipes recipe tester and developer!

Wardrobes shouldn’t be the only transitional thing in our lives. Meals and ingredients should be transitional as well, if for no other reason than it helps lessen the stress of cooking and baking.

For me, I need ingredients that transcend recipes. If an ingredient can transform itself from breakfast to dinner, or from a cocktail to dessert, it’s going to find a permanent place in my kitchen.

Staple ingredients relieve the pressure on me to “make it happen” when figuring out what to make for dinner on any given night.

This week’s recipes can go from being served with eggs in the morning, to saddling up alongside a starch and veg for dinner later that night. Think of them as a dress (or a blazer) in your wardrobe that goes from work to cocktails with friends.

Yeah! Just like that.

One last thing: Looking for dinner ideas? You're in the right spot! We just launched our new paid meal plan service. We have delicious meal plans to suit every taste and lifestyle -- Healthy Eating, Family Favorites, and Vegetarian just to name a few. These one-week plans are $1.95 and, with them, you get a dessert and weekend prep recipe and a shopping list. They're beautifully designed and perfect to print and save or simply load and cook right from your computer!

  • Easy Steak Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

    Steak salad made with thinly-sliced pan-seared flank steak on a bed of arugula and lettuce with avocado, pomegranate seeds, and other add-ins
    Elise Bauer

    Monday is never an inspiring day for me. If I’m not throwing cereal at my family for dinner tonight, I count it as a win. Instead of stressing over a four-course meal, I can sear this steak, set it atop peppery arugula, and drizzle it with zesty, homemade salad dressing. When morning comes around, leftover steak can be tossed into scrambled eggs and scooped into a tortilla for a steak and egg breakfast burrito. Transitional meal at its finest.

  • How to Cook Pork Chops Sous Vide

    Sous Vide Pork Chops
    Alison Conklin

    Meals aren’t the only thing that need to transition. Even though I work from home, I need a good amount of time to go from work mode to full-on mom/wifey mode. The switch isn’t instant, but with hands-off cooking methods like sous vide, I can get dinner started while I sip some wine and cuddle with my family as we recap our days.

  • Tuna Patties

    Tuna Patties
    Elise Bauer

    On burgers, on pasta, on their own for dinner with complimentary fixings like mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Tuna Patties are the dinner G.O.A.T. Extra patties (because there’s always a good reason to make extra) can be wrapped in flatbread or served with greens for tomorrow's lunch. Doubling recipes like this makes transitional meals even easier.

  • Char Siu Chicken

    Stove Top Char Siu Chicken
    Alison Conklin

    This recipe needs its moment. Serve it with a bowl of steamed white rice and crispy Asian coleslaw. Transitional elements go beyond the main ingredient. Can the marinade transition from chicken to seafood? What about red meat? Or tofu? In this case, the answer is a resounding YES! Transitional isn’t limited to the main course, look at the recipe as a whole and take anything from it that can be used in another recipe.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • Quinoa Greek Salad

    Quinoa Greek Salad
    Elise Bauer

    Don’t feel like every recipe must be made with the ingredient you always see it made with. As a result, we go to our pantries, see we’re out of that particular ingredient, throw our hands up in defeat and resign ourselves to PB&Js. It doesn’t have to be so, my friend. Grains are pretty versatile, and most, if not all of them, lend themselves to bulking up most salads. Quinoa saves the day in this Greek salad recipe, but steamed rice, a shaped pasta, or Israeli couscous (with its large pearls) will fill in nicely for it.

  • Weekend Baking

  • How To Make French Crêpes

    How To make Crepes
    Sally Vargas

    French Crêpes with Whipped Cream and fresh berries takes what’s normally breakfast-y and transitions it into a simple dessert. Do as the Europeans do and spread your favorite sauces like a hazelnut-chocolate spread or nut butter over them and fold in sliced bananas.