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97 Sizzlin’ Summer BBQ Ideas

Check out the hot hot hot summer BBQ ideas that'll make your cookout the best party on the block. We've packed this summer blockbuster with your fave grilled meats and veggies, picnic sides, sunshine-y desserts and thirst-quenching drinks.

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Summer Steak Kabobs

These steak kabobs not only satisfy my love of outdoor cooking, they feature a mouthwatering marinade, too. It's terrific with chicken and pork, but I prefer it with beef because it tenderizes remarkably well. —Christi Ross, Guthrie, Texas
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Spinach Tomato Burgers

Every Friday night is burger night at our house. The tomatoes add fresh flavor and the cool spinach dip brings it all together. We often skip the buns and serve these over a bed of grilled cabbage. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Jalapeno-Lime Chicken Drumsticks

Bottled hot sauce isn't my thing, so I developed a fresh pepper glaze for grilled chicken. These drumsticks practically fly off the plate. —Kristeen DeVorss, Farmington, New Mexico
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Buttery Grilled Shrimp

This is easy and delicious! These shrimp are great with steak, but for a special occasion, brush the sauce on lobster tails and grill. —Sheryl Shenberger, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Grilled Chicken Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

We love adding grilled chicken to our salads in the summer, but the real star here is the vinaigrette made with blueberry preserves and maple syrup. It goes great with a fresh baguette and a frosty glass of minted lemonade. —Susan Gauthier, Falmouth, Maine
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Macaroni Coleslaw

My friend Peggy brought this coleslaw to one of our picnics, and everyone liked it so much, we all had to have the recipe. —Sandra Matteson, Westhope, North Dakota
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Frozen Banana Split Pie

This dessert is special enough to make hamburgers and fries a meal to remember! It's so tall and pretty and just like eating a frozen banana split. Make it ahead to save time. —Joy Collins, Birmingham, Alabama
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Grilled Jalapenos

When barbecuing for friends at home, I also use the grill to serve up hot appetizers. These crowd-pleasing stuffed peppers have a bit of bite. They were concocted by my son. —Catherine Hollie, Cleveland, Texas
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Rainbow Spritzer

Layers of colorful fruit submerged in a fizzy, sweet beverage make this a kid-friendly sipper that gets two thumbs-up. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Raspberry Ice Cream Delight

Raspberry Ice Cream Delight

This gorgeous make-ahead dessert is a light, refreshing ending to a summer meal. I first made it for my aunt's 85th birthday dinner and everyone loved it! —Nancy Whitford, Edwards, New York
11 / 97

Gruyere and Egg Burgers

These burgers were a huge hit with our friends during football season. Regular mayo can easily be substituted for the garlic aioli if desired. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia
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Grilled Guacamole

If you’re a guacamole lover, try this fun grilled version that has a smoky flavor. The veggies tend to darken a bit when heated, so stir it gently to prevent further discoloration. —Lindsay Sprunk, Noblesville, Indiana
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Grilled Fruit Phyllo Tart

This tart was a hit at my friend's baby shower. It reminds me of a fruit salad that my mother used to make with cream cheese and whipped topping. Everyone loved the flaky crust, and the bright colors make it a pretty addition to any spread. —Laura McAllister, Morganton, North Carolina
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Rosemary Lemonade

A friend suggested I add a sprig of rosemary to lemonade. The herb makes the drink taste fresh and light, and it's a pretty garnish. —Dixie Graham, Rancho Cucamonga, California
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Steak Fajitas

Steak Fajitas

Zesty salsa and tender strips of steak make these traditional fajitas extra special. —Rebecca Baird, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Grilled Firecracker Potato Salad

I can eat potato salad like crazy. A little spice is nice, so I use cayenne and paprika in this grilled salad that comes with its own fireworks. —Ashley Armstrong, Kingsland, Georgia
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Tuna Teriyaki Kabobs

I love to barbecue but don't always want a heavy dinner. These are perfect in the spring, and you'll have room for dessert! —Holly Battiste, Barrington, New Jersey
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Triple Fruit Freeze

These pops won't turn your tongue blue or neon green like many store-bought pops because they're made with fresh grapes, blueberries and kiwifruit. —Colleen Ludovice, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
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Red, White and Blue Frozen Lemonade

This patriotic drink is as pretty as it is tasty. Layering cherries, blueberries and lemon juice, we created a striped frozen lemonade that sings with Fourth of July pride. —Shawn Carleton, San Diego, California
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Barbecued Burgers

Barbecued Burgers

I can't take all the credit for these winning burgers. My husband's uncle passed down the special barbecue sauce recipe. We love it on everything...it was only natural to try it on, and in, burgers. Add cheese and bacon to take them over the top. —Rhoda Troyer, Glenford, Ohio
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Fresh Lime Margaritas

This basic fresh margarita recipe is easy to modify to your tastes. Try it frozen or with strawberries. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Cool Strawberry Cream

This fruity, luscious dessert makes a wonderful ending to a special dinner. When fresh strawberries are not available, substitute two packages frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed and drained, for the fresh. —Joyce Cooper, Mount Forest, Ontario
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Mushroom Cheese Bread

This savory grilled bread is delightful with barbecued steak, baked potatoes and corn on the cob. For variation, we sometimes use half cheddar cheese and half mozzarella. —Dolly McDonald, Edmonton, Alberta
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California Burger Bowls

Burgers are a weekly staple at our house year-round. Skip the fries, chips and bun—you won't need them with these loaded veggie & fruit burgers. To spice up the mayo, add 1/2 tsp. of chipotle powder. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Matt's Jerk Chicken

Get ready for a trip to the Islands. You may think jerk chicken is complicated, but really, all it takes is time. Throw on some tunes, grab an icy drink and prepare to be transported. Have a smoker? You can smoke the chicken first and finish it on the grill. —Jenn Hall, Collingswood, New Jersey
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Summer Dessert Pizza

My family enjoys this dessert pizza recipe anytime of the year, but it's especially refreshing during the hot months. You can use whatever fruits are in season. —Ida Ruth Wenger, Harrisonburg, Virginia
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Raspberry Refresher

This recipe explodes with raspberry flavor! It's a wonderful summertime treat.—Doreen Patterson, Qualicum Beach, British Columbia
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Grilled Garden Veggie Pizza

Pile on the veggies—this crisp, grilled crust can take it! This colorful, healthy pizza looks as fresh as it tastes. —Diane Halferty, Corpus Christi, Texas
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Bacon Macaroni Salad

This pleasing pasta salad is like eating a BLT in a bowl. Filled with crispy bacon, chopped tomato, celery and green onion, the sensational salad is coated with a tangy mayonnaise and vinegar dressing. It’s a real crowd-pleaser! —Norene Wright, Manilla, Indiana
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Grilled Leek Dip

Smoky leeks from the grill add punch to this creamy appetizer with veggies and chips. If baby Vidalia onions are available, I use those. —Ramona Parris, Acworth, Georgia
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County Fair Cherry Pie

This cherry pie is so easy! I'm a teacher and a Navy wife, so simplicity and quickness are both mealtime musts at our house. —Claudia Youmans, Virginia Beach, Virginia
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Best Italian Sausage Sandwiches

Need a different type of sandwich? This rich tomato sauce simmers all afternoon in the slow cooker, getting ready to top freshly grilled Italian sausages. It's an amazing combination with lots of crowd appeal! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Grilled Pineapple with Lime Dip

Serve this dish as an appetizer or a dessert—the choice is yours! If desired, the pineapple spears can be rolled in flaked coconut before grilling. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Fluffy Key Lime Pie

For a taste of paradise, try this no-bake Key lime pie recipe. It's low in fat, sugar and fuss. It truly is the best Key lime pie recipe ever! —Frances VanFossan, Warren, Michigan
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Grilled Cajun Green Beans

This is a perfect way to use up your garden's green beans. The Cajun flavor makes it different from your regular green bean recipe. —Shannon Lewis, Andover, Minnesota
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Pina Coladas

Velvety-smooth texture and a taste of the tropics are what this tropical drink delivers. The easy-to-make drink can be mixed and chilled ahead of time. When ready to serve, just blend for a creamy and delicious beverage. —Linda Schend, Kenosha, Wisconsin
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Pork Chops with Glaze

Rosemary adds a special touch to these beautifully glazed pork chops that are just right for any meal. —Louise Gilbert, Quesnel, British Columbia
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Steak & Blue Cheese Bruschetta with Onion & Roasted Tomato Jam

An appetizer bursting with flavor from bleu cheese, caramelized onion, jam and balsamic vinegar—tasty bites that vanish in a hurry. —Debbie Reid, Clearwater, Florida
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Moscow Mule

Here's an old-time cocktail that was popular in the 1940s and '50s. A Moscow Mule is traditionally served in a copper mug with plenty of ice. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Gingered Spaghetti Salad

We love this chilled chicken salad brimming with colorful veggies. Make it meatless by omitting the chicken and tossing in more edamame. —Cindy Heinbaugh, Aurora, Colorado
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Jalapeno Popper Mexican Street Corn

One of the best things about summer is fresh sweet corn, and this recipe is a definite standout. We love its creamy dressing, crunchy panko coating and spicy jalapeno kick. If you're really feeling wild, sprinkle these with a bit of cooked and crumbled bacon! —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Lemon Coconut Bites

The tangy lemon flavor of this layered bar dessert is especially delicious on a warm day. It takes me back to selling lemonade on the sidewalk as a little girl. —Donna Biddle, Elmira, New York
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Corn 'n' Squash Quesadillas

Grilled vegetables give these quesadillas their distinctive flair, while cumin and jalapeno peppers add a little zip. —Mildred Sherrer, Fort Worth, Texas
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Pina Colada Molded Salad

My gelatin ring gets a tropical twist from coconut, pineapple and macadamia nuts. It's a wonderful anytime treat. Now that I'm retired from teaching, I have more time for kitchen experiments. —Carol Gillespie, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
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Peach-Chipotle Baby Back Ribs

My son and I collaborated in the kitchen one day to put our own unique twist on classic baby back ribs. We added a sweet peachy glaze and a little heat with chipotle peppers. It was a great bonding experience, and now we have a keeper recipe for fall-off-the-bone ribs. —Rebecca Suaso, Weaverville, North Carolina
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Chicken Caesar Pitas

Hand-held and picnic friendly, these chicken-stuffed pockets pack a double dose of whole grains from brown rice and whole wheat pitas. The chicken can be made up to 2 days in advance for a fast-fix lunch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Shrimp Pasta Salad

I adore shrimp, so discovering it in this pasta salad recipe was a real treat for me. The lemon-dill sauce is light and bright. —Traci Wynne, Denver, Pennsylvania
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Mint Julep

It wouldn't be Kentucky Derby Day without this mint julep recipe! But, really, this Kentucky Derby mint julep recipe is good anytime. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Irresistible Coconut Cream Pie

My husband and I grow 500 acres of wheat on the farm his family homesteaded in 1889. I grind my own flour and love to use it in this recipe. The easy, pat-in crust has a rich grain flavor. It’s irresistible filled with old-fashioned coconut cream and topped with a fluffy meringue. —Roberta Foster, Kingfisher, Oklahoma
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Cajun Boil on the Grill

I came up with these everything-in-one seafood packets for a family reunion, since the recipe can be increased to feed a bunch. The foil steams up inside, so open carefully. —Allison Brooks, Fort Collins, Colorado
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Old-Fashioned Coney Hot Dog Sauce

Old-Fashioned Coney Hot Dog Sauce

Camping and hot dogs go hand in hand. Roast some up over the fire, then top with this irresistible one-pot sauce. —Loriann Cargill Bustos, Phoenix, Arizona
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Pasta Salad in a Jar

If you're planning a picnic, make this pasta a day ahead. For my husband's lunch at work, I sometimes tie a plastic fork on the jar. —Pat Neiheisel, Leetonia, Ohio
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Blueberry Lattice Bars

Since our area has an annual blueberry festival, my daughters and I are always looking for new berry recipes to enter in the cooking contest. These lovely, yummy bars won a blue ribbon one year. —Debbie Ayers, Baileyville, Maine
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Smooth Sweet Tea

A pinch of baking soda eliminates bitterness in this smooth and easy-to-sip tea and it has just the right amount of sugar so it's not overly sweet. —kelseylouise, Taste of Home Community Member
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Layered Veggie Tortellini Salad

Layered Veggie Tortellini Salad

Tortellini and a Parmesan dressing give this layered salad an unexpected twist. It's great for a potluck. —Dennis Vitale, New Preston, Connecticut
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Grilled Tilapia Piccata

Grilled Tilapia Piccata

We aren’t big fish eaters, but a friend made this for us, and we couldn’t believe how wonderful it was! Now we eat it regularly. I love making it for guests because it’s simple, looks lovely and tastes restaurant-worthy. —Beth Cooper, Columbus, Ohio
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Grilled Potatoes with Bacon-Ranch Sauce

These potatoes are tender and good all by themselves, but pairing them with the sauce creates a perfect combination—a side dish compatible with any entree cooked on the grill. —Craig Carpenter, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
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Peanut Butter Custard Blast

"Ooey, gooey, great!" is how friends and family describe this chocolate-peanut butter dessert. I appreciate the make-ahead convenience. —Marilee Evenson, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
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Watermelon Vodka Sorbet

This icy granita is a cooling delight on a hot summer day. This is an adults only goody. You can use watermelon vodka for plain vodka if you like. —Rebekah Beyer, Sabetha, Kansas
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Grilled Chipotle Salmon Tacos

When fresh fish is available, I pull out my salmon taco recipe and fire up the grill. Try it with whitefish or mahi mahi, too. —Brenda Washnocok, Negaunee, Michigan
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Avocado & Artichoke Pasta Salad

A squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of cilantro and a little avocado make this a creamy and zingy pasta salad. —Carrie Farias, Oak Ridge, New Jersey
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Spiced Peach Cobbler

When you tuck into this warm and comforting fresh peach cobbler, you won’t miss the extra fat and calories a bit! —Mary E. Relyea, Canastota, New York
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Cerveza Margaritas

One sip of this refreshing drink and you’ll picture sand, sea and blue skies that stretch for miles. It’s like a vacation in a glass, and you can mix it up in moments. What are you waiting for? —Christina Pittman, Parkville, Missouri
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Grilled Cherry-Glazed Chicken Wings

When I take these grilled wings to events, there are never any leftovers! Friends and family love them. —Ashley Gable, Atlanta, Georgia
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Triple Tomato Flatbread

Tomatoes are the reason I have a vegetable garden, and I developed this recipe as a way to show off my plum, sun-dried and cherry tomatoes. It's so easy, and will absolutely impress. —Rachel Kimbrow, Portland, Oregon
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Picnic Berry Shortcakes

You can make the berry sauce ahead of time and chill it. Then assemble the entire dessert right before the picnic or party. —Frieda Bliesner, McAllen, Texas
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Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet

The concept of an old-fashioned dates back to the early 1800s and includes whiskey, bitters, cherry juice, sugar and water. This old-fashioned recipe, which is extremely popular in Wisconsin, uses brandy in place of whiskey and lemon-lime soda instead of water for a milder cocktail. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Garlic-Grilled Chicken with Pesto Zucchini Ribbons

The first time I substituted zucchini noodles for regular pasta, it was because I was trying to reduce carbohydrates and calories. Now I make them because we love the flavor and texture they bring to dishes. This dish is just as delicious if you substitute shrimp for the chicken. —Suzanne Banfield, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
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Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho

This is the perfect starter for a summer dinner or a lunch meal. It's cool and tangy with a whole lot of great grilled flavor. If you like a little more spice, just add more jalapenos. —George Levinthal, Goleta, California
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Fudgy S'mores Brownies

I combined the perfect, simple summer snack with my favorite brownie recipe to get a treat that's sure to wow at your next big party. —Judy Cunningham, Max, North Dakota
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Brandy Slush

This slush with a hint of citrus keeps you cool on hot summer days. Even if you're not a tea lover, you'll likely find the mix of flavors pleasing. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Cuban-Style Pork Chops

These are like Cuban sandwiches without the bread, so they’re a bit more elegant. Let your family customize the chops with pickles, mustard and other condiments. —Erica Allen, Tuckerton, New Jersey
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Sweet & Smoky Salsa

I love the roasted flavor that grilling gives food, so I decided to make a salsa from grilled vegetables. I think this recipe would also taste great using plum tomatoes. Also, if you can't use wood chip charcoal, you might try adding a little liquid smoke to the salsa while it cooks. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Frozen Greek Vanilla Yogurt

It's simple and easy to make your own frozen Greek yogurt—you might even want to get the kids in on the fun. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Greendale, Wisconsin
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Maple Blackberry Mojito

This refreshing blackberry cocktail is how you take advantage of prime berry season during the summer months. I've also used other types of fruit, including raspberries, kiwi and strawberries. —Donna Noel, Gray, Maine
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Hot Dog Sliders with Mango-Pineapple Salsa

For parties, we shrink lots of foods to slider size, including these quick hot dogs. Pile on the easy but irresistible fruit salsa for a burst of fresh flavor. —Carole Resnick, Cleveland, Ohio
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Tarragon Asparagus

I grow purple asparagus, so I'm always looking for new ways to prepare it. Recently, my husband and I discovered how wonderful any color of asparagus tastes when it's grilled. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Grilled Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

One night I goofed, accidentally using the balsamic butter I save for grilling chicken on my pound cake. What a delicious mistake that my entire family loved! For a patriotic look, add a drizzle of blueberry syrup. —Tammy Hathaway, Freeman Twp, Maine
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Tipsy Iced Coffee

My family loves this frozen coffee with Amaretto and whipped cream. Serve it at brunch or as an after-dinner treat.—Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Grilled Chicken, Mango & Blue Cheese Tortillas

Grilled Chicken, Mango & Blue Cheese Tortillas

Here's a fantastic outdoor appetizer to kick-start your summer get-togethers. We double or triple the ingredients when we host parties. —Josee Lanzi, New Port Richey, Florida
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Charlotte's Green Tomato Pie

Green tomato pie makes an awesome conversation piece. I took it to a potluck and it was a delight to share. —Charlotte McDaniel, Jacksonville, Alabama
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Rhubarb Berry Upside-Down Cake

I had leftover rhubarb and wanted to create something fresh. With blueberries, strawberries and dried cranberries on hand, I discovered I had a berry upside-down cake. —June Paul, Portage, Wisconsin
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Grilled Peach & Pineapple Sangria

Grill up fresh peaches and pineapple slathered in cinnamon butter and use them to make a refreshing summer sangria. I also like to add slices of grilled lemon and lime to drop in the glass for a citrusy boost of flavor. —Heather King, Frostburg, Maryland
84 / 97

Bacon & Swiss Chicken Sandwiches

I created this chicken sandwich recipe based on a meal my daughter ordered at a restaurant. She likes to dip her sandwich in the extra honey-mustard sauce. —Marilyn Moberg, Papillion, Nebraska
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Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Gorgonzola Spread

My husband first tried this recipe with plain potatoes. They were so yummy; we experimented with sweet potatoes. Dipped in Gorgonzola spread, they’re irresistible. —Kristen Minello, Macomb, Michigan
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Ginger Salmon with Cucumber Lime Sauce

Lime with ginger is a favorite flavor combo for me, especially with grilled salmon. So good. Even with the cucumber sauce, this recipe is easy, too. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Frozen Banana Cereal Pops

When we want a healthy snack, we dip bananas in yogurt, roll 'em in cereal, then freeze. Ta-da! —Scarlett Elrod, Newnan, Georgia
88 / 97

Grilled Southwestern Steak Salad

Pasta salad loaded with steak, peppers and onions makes both my boyfriend and me happy. Plus, it’s versatile! We serve it hot, room temperature or cold. —Yvonne Starlin, Westmoreland, Tennessee
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Cola Cake with Strawberries & Cream

We Southerners have been eating cola cake for decades. This easy version has strawberries, too. Chill it in the fridge for a dreamy summer dessert. —Peggy Walpert, Fort Worth, Texas
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Feta Mushroom Burgers

Feta Mushroom Burgers

My son-in-law gave me this recipe and I tweaked it to make it healthier. The burgers are so quick to whip up on the grill on busy nights. —Dolores Block, Frankenmuth, Michigan
91 / 97

Perfect Lemon Martini

Time to relax with a refreshing lemon drop martini! The combination of tart lemon and sweet liqueur will tingle your taste buds. —Marilee Anker, Chatsworth, California
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Jalapeno Burgers with Gorgonzola

On a whim, we mixed homemade jalapeno jam into ground beef patties, then topped the burgers with caramelized onions and tangy Gorgonzola cheese. Fabulous! —Becky Mollenkamp, St. Louis, Missouri
93 / 97

Grilled Beef Chimichangas

I created this recipe when I didn't have the ingredients for my go-to dish. After making this, it became my new favorite! —Jackie Burns, Kettle Falls, Washington
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Farmers Market Orzo Salad

Orzo is a tiny pasta shaped like rice. We use it as a base for veggies, lemony vinaigrette and cheeses such as mozzarella, feta or smoked Gouda. —Heather Dezzutto, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Grilled Mushroom Kabobs

Grilled Mushroom Kabobs

Earthy grilled mushrooms taste like flame-kissed goodness. The balsamic vinegar adds just enough tanginess to the savory side. —Melissa Hoddinott, Sherwood Park, Alberta
96 / 97

Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches

Grill this eggplant, tomato and goat cheese sandwich to perfection...it makes a delicious meatless meal. —Jennifer Jaras, Corona, California
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Creamy Pineapple Pie

Creamy Pineapple Pie is a light and refreshing dessert that's quick to make and impressive to serve. This is one of our favorite ways to complete a summer meal. —Sharon Bickett, Chester, South Carolina

Kristin Sutter
A big fan of homegrown cooking, Kristin has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years. She has mastered the art of learning from her inexpert riffs on other people's truly good recipes.

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