My Favorite Summer Dinners

Though I’m sad that summer is almost over, it’s fun to celebrate the warm months by looking back at all my favorite dinners. This year, it is a mix of new dishes and old favorites.

Tuna Pasta with Crispy Capers

The original recipe for tuna pasta can be found in my favorite cookbook, License to Grill. I have added my personal touches to this dish; for example, I usually pan fry the tuna instead of grilling it. I also add tomatoes because they taste so sweet in the summer months, and occasionally include fresh mozzarella. This particular week, I added some fresh, chopped zucchini, too. To access this recipe, click here.

Grilled Chicken Salad

Though I originally got a few “yucks” when I shared the night’s dinner selection, due primarily to the mere mention of “salad,” this dish has turned into a summer family favorite. The original recipe can be found in a backdated issue of Cuisine at Home, and again, I have added a few twists.

The base contains grilled vegetables, coated in olive oil, salt and pepper, topped with chicken and an avocado hollandaise sauce. The original recipe calls for fennel, potatoes and asparagus, though I much prefer sweet onions to fennel. Last week, I actually substituted zucchini squash for asparagus (even added a layer of fresh spinach) and it was still delicious.

The the hollandaise is comprised of egg yolks, butter, avocado and vinegar.  This version of Avocado Dressing at the Kitchn seems pretty healthy.

Salmon Piadine

This is one of my all-time favorite restaurant recreations. A salad on flatbread, what’s not to like? I especially enjoy this meal early in the summer and again in the early fall when arugula is fresh and less bitter. For the recipe, visit my previous blog post about Salmon Piadine.

Oil Poached Tuna Salad

The flavors in this dish, from Bon Appetite, are exquisite. Even Luke ate every bite with the chef’s full complements. His only suggestion was to use ahi instead of albacore tuna, and I happen to agree with him. I also didn’t use three cups of olive oil, as the recipe suggested. Rather, I used enough to make the vinaigrette.

For the complete recipe and a photo that is much prettier than mine, click here.

Steak and Potato Salad

Another Cuisine at Home recipe, I don’t change much from the original suggestions, which can be found in one of my old blog posts about steak and potato dinner salad. You can play around with the chimichurri, all depending on what fresh herbs you might be growing.

Quinoa Burgers

Originating from Epicurious, there’s little need to revise much of anything in this delicious recipe. They are simple to make and delicious — and they don’t fall apart like lots of veggie burgers. The recipe makes about 12, as the website suggests, and they taste wonderful the next day heated up for lunch.

Sushi! (aka Asian Infused Tuna)

This happened to be Luke’s favorite meal of the summer, especially since he was instrumental in helping me prepare it. You need sushi grade tuna for this dish that is served atop fresh, toasted bread. Originally in Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef Takes Off,  I use fewer chilis, less lime and add some garlic, in my version.


Melinda Hinson