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80 Light Summer Meals

When it starts to get hot and sticky, keep your meals light all summer long with these tasty dishes.

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Grilled Kiwi-Chicken Kabobs with Honey-Chipotle Glaze

When guests bite into these juicy grilled kabobs, their eyes always widen with satisfaction. Our four kids are crazy about the spicy-sweet sauce. —Joni Hilton, Rocklin, California

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Chicken with Peach-Avocado Salsa

This super fresh dinner is pure summer—juicy peaches, creamy avocado, grilled chicken and a kick of hot sauce and lime. To get it on the table even quicker, make the salsa ahead. —Shannon Roum, Cudahy, Wisconsin
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Poached Salmon With Chimichurri Exps Cimz19 38043 E09 13 1b 3

Poached Salmon with Chimichurri

Tender, flaky poached salmon is treated to a flavorful sauce in this elegant dish. Though it takes a little extra prep time, this impressive entree will please every mouth it meets! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Cherry Salsa Mole Exps Thjj19 161193 C02 19 2b 9

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa Mole

The combination of pork and cherries has long been a favorite of mine. The hint of spice and chocolate in the salsa mole makes the combination even more special. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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Grilled Tilapia with Mango

Here's a new twist on tilapia that I created for my wife. She enjoys the combination of mango with Parmesan. Somehow it tastes even better outside on the deck with a cold glass of iced tea. —Gregg May, Columbus, Ohio
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Exps158452 Sd163615c04 07 5b 2

Simple Grilled Steak Fajitas

After moving to a new state with two toddlers in tow, I came up with effortless fajitas. They make an easy weeknight meal on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet. —Shannen Mahoney, Odessa, Missouri
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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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Garden Stuffed Zucchini Boats Exps Thsum18 194344 D02 01 10b 8

Garden-Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Not only are these boats a delightful way to get your veggies, they're basically a one-dish meal that covers all the bases—just grab your favorite garden goodies and add any spices or mix-ins you like. —Janie Zirbser, Mullica Hill, New Jersey
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Tequila Lime Shrimp Zoodles Exps Hck19 207696 C09 21 1b 7

Tequila Lime Shrimp Zoodles

This tangy shrimp is a smart way to cut carbs without sacrificing flavor. If you don't have a spiralizer, use thinly julienned zucchini to get a similar effect. —Brigette Schroeder, Yorkville, Illinois
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Key West Flank Steak Exps Thjj19 55213 B02 21 5b 7

Key West Flank Steak

My husband, Jason, is the cook in our family. This is his recipe, inspired by his Colombian roots and our visits to Key West. Sometimes we grill extra lime and onion slices alongside. Serve with sides of rice and fried plantains. —Gretchen Ospina, Columbia Heights, Minnesota
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Easy Poached Salmon Exps Thedsc19 187504 B03 01 2b Rms 1

Easy Poached Salmon

In 46 years of marriage, we had never tasted salmon until a friend told me about poaching it in a low cooker. I tried it and got flaky, moist results with little fuss. I added some soy sauce for extra flavor. — Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona
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Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar Wraps Exps Scm2bz20 191086 E01 22 7b 12

Slow-Cooked Chicken Caesar Wraps

I first made these slow-cooker chicken Caesar wraps for our daughter, who loves Caesar salads, then later for our extended family on vacation. It's such an easy meal—perfect for days when you'd rather be outside than inside cooking all day. —Christine Hadden, Whitman, Massachusetts
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Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice Exps Tohescodr20 246006 E03 17 2b 13

Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice

This healthier take on kimchi fried rice is one of my favorite recipes because it's customizable. If there's a vegetarian in the family, leave out the bacon and add your favorite veggies. —Stefanie Schaldenbrand, Los Angeles, California
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Pressure Cooker Tequila Salsa Chicken Exps Ft20 251253 F 0306 1 1

Pressure-Cooker Tequila Salsa Chicken

I had this dish at a local Mexican restaurant when celebrating a friend's birthday. I fell in love with the spicy, smoky flavor from the tequila and decided to try Instant Pot salsa chicken at home. Boy, was it a success! It's also great stuffed into flour tortillas or for making nachos. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
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Lime And Dill Chimichurri Shrimp Exps Toham20 91004 B10 29 6b 8

Lime and Dill Chimichurri Shrimp

Chimichurri is a very popular condiment in Argentina and Uruguay and is most often used as a dipping sauce or a marinade for meats. My chimichurri shrimp version incorporates dill and lime, which give it a brighter flavor, making it ideal for spring and summer entertaining. —Bonnie Landy, Castro Valley, California
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Halibut Soft Tacos Exps Ft20 48539 F 0521 1 Home 4

Halibut Soft Tacos

I sometimes serve these halibut tacos wrapped in lettuce instead of tortillas. Either way, the mango salsa tastes amazing with grilled halibut. This warm-weather recipe is quick, colorful and full of nutrients. —Kristin Kossak, Bozeman, Montana
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Honey Balsamic Chicken Exps Ft20 43845 F 0326 1 Home 11

Honey Balsamic Chicken

This balsamic chicken is a recipe I adapted from a cookbook that featured quick and easy recipes. I adjusted the seasonings somewhat and added a bit more honey to better suit my tastes. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
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Easy Chicken Pesto Stuffed Peppers Exps Tohas20 245148 F04 08 2b 5

Easy Chicken Pesto Stuffed Peppers

On busy weeknights, I don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes preparing dinner, nor do I want to wash a towering pile of dishes. This recipe delivers without having to sacrifice flavor! —Olivia Cruz, Greenville, South Carolina
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Green Salad with Shrimp and Wine Vinaigrette

This veggie and seafood salad is light and versatile—you can use whatever vegetables you prefer. —Cecilia Flowers, Nashville, North Carolina
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Tangy Asparagus Soup

A dollop of creme fraiche makes this pretty soup an ideal starter for an elegant spring dinner party. A cheese crisp on the side is the perfect finishing touch. —Jamie Concannon, Plymouth, California
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Grilled Steak Bruschetta Salad for 2

Fire up the grill for this tasty salad. The meat will be done in a snap, leaving you more time to enjoy the summer evening. —Devon Delaney, Princeton, New Jersey
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Grilled Lobster Tails

I had never tried grilling lobster tails at home until I tried this convenient and deliciously different recipe. It turned out amazing, and has left me with little reason to ever order grilled lobster tail at a restaurant again. Here's how to cook lobster tails on the grill. —Katie Rush, Kansas City, Missouri
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Ranch Marinated Chicken Breasts Exps Fttmz19 73990 C03 06 4b Rms 4

Ranch-Marinated Chicken Breasts

The pub favorite pairing of ranch dressing and chicken comes home to your kitchen. With just a little prep time the night before, you can have these savory breasts ready in about half an hour! —Barbee Decker, Whispering Pines, North Carolina
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Vegetarian Pad Thai Exps Hck18 197935 B04 014 4b 7

Vegetarian Pad Thai

This is a simple pad thai loaded with crisp vegetables and zesty flavor. It’s quick, simple, and fresh-tasting. —Colleen Doucette, Truro, Nova Scotia
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Honey Garlic Pork Chops Exps Fttmz19 5035 C03 06 1b Rms

Honey-Garlic Pork Chops

These chops are so simple to prepare yet taste really special. Honey, lemon and garlic form a classic combination that fits perfectly with grilled pork. I like that I can marinate the chops the night before or even in the morning. Then in the evening, just start up the grill and dinner's ready in no time.—Helen Carpenter, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Easy Citrus Seafood Salad Exps Tohjj20 242786 E02 05 1b 6

Easy Seafood Salad

This easy seafood salad was inspired by a dish I had in the Bahamas that featured conch. I substituted crab and shrimp and like it even more! —Cindy Heyd, Edmond, Oklahoma
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Rustic Tomato Pie Exps Ftts20 251740 B02 13 1b 8

Rustic Tomato Pie

Perk up your plate with this humble tomato pie. We like to use fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes and herbs, but store-bought produce will work in a pinch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Exps49396 Mc163887b03 15 5b 5

Golden Summer Peach Gazpacho

Because peaches and tomatoes are in season at the same time, I like to blend them into a cool, delicious soup. Leftovers keep well in the fridge—but they rarely last long enough to get there. —Julie Hession, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Summer Turkey Kabobs Exps Sdas18 175399 C03 30  5b 5

Summer Turkey Kabobs

These kabobs let you enjoy Thanksgiving flavors any time of year! We enjoy grilling them in the summer. —Angela Mathews, Fayetteville, New York
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Chicken Avocado Wraps

I came up with this chicken avocado wrap while trying to figure out what to make for lunch one day. The recipe is now a favorite at my house. —Shiva Houshidari, Plano, Texas
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Caramelized Onion Garlic Pasta Exps Fttmz19 86656 E03 13 2b Rms 3

Caramelized Onion & Garlic Pasta

This full-flavored recipe is the result of my mom's love of pasta and our love of cooking together. With a bit of pepper heat and smoky bacon, the entree is excellent alone or paired with grilled chicken. —Lacy Jo Matheson, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
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California Burger Wraps Exps Sdjj18 162210 D02 08 1b 10

California Burger Wraps

I love the way these fresh flavors blend together. It's a snap to throw this together using leftover burgers for a quick, healthy lunch. The burgers can also be served on buns. —Rachelle McCalla, Batesville, Arkansas
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Mango Salsa Chicken with Veggie Hash

This hash has the fresh flavors of spring. Using precooked grilled chicken strips makes the meal come together quickly. And the veggies make the dish so pretty! —Lori Mclain, Denton, Texas
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Scallops With Snow Peas Exps Sdam18 185185 B12 07 2b 7

Scallops with Snow Peas

The vibrant, crisp pea pods in this dish are a nice contrast with the soft scallops. The dish looks and tastes bright and fresh. —Barb Carlucci, Orange Park, Florida
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Zucchini Crust Pizza Exps Drds18 14179 C11 16 1b 2

Zucchini Crust Pizza

My mother-in-law shared the recipe for this unique pizza with me. It's just right for brunch, lunch or a light supper. Loosen the nutritious zucchini crust from the pan with a metal spatula. —Ruth Denomme, Englehart, Ontario
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Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This is one of my go-to meals when I want a fun dinner. I love the spicy Asian flavors against the cool lettuce and the added crunch of peanuts and water chestnuts. —Brittany Allyn, Nashville, Tennessee
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Summer Bounty Ratatouille Exps Hcka19 67211 C10 13 3b

Summer Bounty Ratatouille

Make use of your garden's surplus with this comforting dish from the Provence region of France. It's a vegetable dish traditionally made with eggplant, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, garlic, bell peppers and various herbs. I highly recommend accompanying it with some freshly baked bread. —Phyllis Jacques, Venice, Florida
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Moroccan Flatbreads Exps Sdjj18 204154 B02 09 2b 3

Moroccan Flatbreads

My family loves these tacos with Middle Eastern seasoning lots of vegetables. Ground turkey or beef may be substituted for the lamb. —Arlene Erlbach, Morton Grove, Illinois
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Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad

This pretty spinach salad, topped with grilled chicken, strawberries and almonds, features a delectably sweet poppy seed dressing. Ready in moments, it’s a refreshing lunch or light supper for two. —Ginger Ellsworth, Caldwell, Idaho
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Golden Beet and Peach Soup with Tarragon

One summer we had a bumper crop of peaches from our two trees, so I had fun experimenting with different recipes. After seeing a beet soup recipe in a cookbook, I changed it a bit to include our homegrown golden beets and sweet peaches. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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Pineapple Grilled Chicken Exps Ft19 45180 F 0613 1 1

Grilled Pineapple Chicken

A trip to Hawaii is easy with this juicy grilled pineapple chicken. Simply give it a quick marinade, fire up the grill and let it sizzle. We love this low-carb recipe! —Charlotte Rogers, Virginia Beach, Virginia
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Pressure-Cooker Steamed Mussels with Peppers

Here's a worthy way to use your one-pot cooker. Serve French bread along with the mussels to soak up the deliciously seasoned broth. If you like your food spicy, add the jalapeno seeds.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Blackened Catfish With Mango Avocado Salsa Exps Cimz17 121843 B07 18 5b 8

Blackened Catfish with Mango Avocado Salsa

A delightful and tasty rub makes this quick recipe fantastic. While the fish is sitting to allow the flavors to blend, you can easily assemble the salsa. My family loves this! —Laura Fisher, Westfield, Massachusetts
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Grilled Chicken and Mango Skewers

The inspiration for this recipe came from the charbroiled chicken skewers I used to enjoy while strolling along Calle Ocho in Miami on Sunday afternoons. Feel free to garnish with sesame seeds or spritz with fresh lime juice. —Wolfgang Hanau, West Palm Beach, Florida
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Air Fryer Keto Meatballs Exps Diyd21 246422 B07 08 1b 1

Air-Fryer Keto Meatballs

I have been following a keto diet for a year and a half and have lost 130 pounds. With this recipe for air-fryer keto meatballs, you won't miss the breadcrumbs at all! I like to eat these saucy meatballs on their own, but they're also great over zucchini noodles. —Holly Balzer-Harz, Malone, New York
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Exps164828 Thcs153652c12 18 6b Basedon 2

Air-Fryer Turkey Club Roulades

Weeknights turn elegant when this air-fryer turkey recipe is on the menu. Not a fan of turkey? Substitute lightly pounded chicken breasts. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Greek Pasta Salad

Chock-full of tomato, red and green pepper and tricolor spirals, this full-flavored Greek pasta salad is as attractive as it is delicious. I add feta cheese and black olives to the medley before coating it with a speedy homemade dressing. —Dawna Waggoner, Minong, Wisconsin
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Cilantro-Lime Chicken

Cilantro-Lime Chicken

As a working mom and home cook, I strive to have fabulous, flavor-packed dinners that make my family smile. Nothing is more awesome than a slow-cooker recipe that makes it seem as though you've been cooking in the kitchen all day! —Mari Smith, Ashburn, Virginia
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Grilled Mahi Mahi

Instead of grilling out the usual hamburgers or chicken breasts, prepare this grilled mahi mahi and reel in raves! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Exps Hhrds18 167918 C03 30  1b 8

Italian Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

I've always had to be creative when getting my family to eat vegetables, so I decided to make stuffed zucchini using the pizza flavors that everyone loves. It worked! We like to include sausage for a main dish but it could be a meatless side dish, too. —Donna Marie Ryan, Topsfield, Massachusetts
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Grilled Chicken Ramen Salad

I love this chicken ramen salad because it's a complete meal in one bowl. Everyone loves when it's on the table—that's a reaction that doesn't happen every night, so I appreciate the kudos when I get them! —Karen Carlson, Alameda, California
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Lemon Shrimp Orzo

What I love about this lemon shrimp orzo is that it's so tasty and it can be eaten hot or cold. It tastes great with chicken, too. —Aleni Salcedo, East Elmhurst, New York
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Cajun Grilled Shrimp Exps Sdas18 119900 C03 28  2b 6

Cajun Grilled Shrimp

The kicked-up marinade on these shrimp makes this a flavor-packed dish. Serve over rice, and make sure to squeeze those charred lemons over top—that makes them taste extra bright and delicious. —Sharon Delaney-Chronis, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Ginger Curry Chicken Tacos Exps Tham19 130713 C11 08 1b

Ginger-Curry Chicken Tacos

I love tacos (who doesn't?), but I wanted to put my own unique twist on them by incorporating some Indian flavors. These ginger-curry versions hit the spot! —Michael Cohen, Los Angeles, California
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Feta Tomato Basil Fish Exps Sdjj19 17556 C02 08 4b 3

Feta Tomato-Basil Fish

I rely on my husband for the main ingredient in this fuss-free dish. He fills our freezer after his summer fishing trip. —Alicia Szeszol, Lindenhurst, Illinois
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Peanut Turkey Satay

I found this recipe years ago and immediately served it for a company dinner. It’s easy and fun and takes only minutes to cook, but it makes a fancy entree for special occasions. The peanut butter and soy sauce lend a nice Asian flavor. —Lisa Mahon Fluegeman, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Chicken Breasts with Melon Relish

This tropical-tasting melon relish is sweet and very flavorful. It tastes so good with the tender chicken breasts and is perfect for summer. —Roxanne Chan, Albany, California
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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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Tomato Walnut Tilapia Exps Ft20 36052 F 0403 1 Home 2

Tomato Walnut Tilapia

Tomato, bread crumbs and crunchy walnuts dress up pan tilapia fillets in this favorite recipe. I serve it with cooked julienne carrots and green beans. —Phyl Broich-Wessling, Garner, Iowa
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Grecian Chicken Exps Thjj17 186712 B02 07 5b

Grecian Chicken

The caper, tomato and olive flavors will whisk you away to the Greek isles. This easy skillet dish is perfect for hectic weeknights. —Jan Marler, Murchison, Texas
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Skillet Plum Chicken Tenders

If you love plums, this recipe is for you! I combine the fruit with chicken tenders for a quick, easy and flavorful meal. Serve with brown rice or orzo pasta. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada
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Sheet Pan Chipotle Lime Shrimp Bake Exps Thfm18 206523 D09 14 13b 7

Sheet-Pan Chipotle-Lime Shrimp Bake

I like to make this seafood dinner for company because it tastes amazing, but takes very little effort to throw together. Use asparagus, Broccolini or a mix of the two. It’s all about what's available for a decent price. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Grilled Halibut With Blueberry Salsa

Grilled Halibut with Blueberry Salsa

Give halibut a new, summery spin. The salsa may seem sophisticated, but it’s really a cinch to prepare. —Donna Goutermont, Juneau, Alaska
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Easy Caribbean Chicken Exps Sdas18 215718 D03 28  4b 4

Easy Caribbean Chicken

This is a very simple recipe that uses easy-to-find ingredients. Serve with some steamed vegetables for a complete meal. Use cubes of pork or even shrimp instead of the chicken. —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas
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Watermelon Gazpacho Exps Sdjj18 44137 D02 08 15 11b 5

Watermelon Gazpacho

This is a delightfully simple, elegant dish. Serve as a side or with pita and hummus for a meal. It’s so refreshing—guests will love it. —Nicole Deelah, Nashville, Tennessee
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Shredded Chicken Tostadas Exps Sdjj19 115271 E02 08 3b 6

Shredded Chicken Tostadas

These flavorful tostadas are super easy and family-friendly. You won't believe how tender and juicy the chicken comes out. Just load the tostadas with your favorite fresh toppings, and you'll have one simple, sensational meal. —Lisa Kenny, Houston, Texas
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Avocado Crab Boats Exps Fttmz18 139621 D11 15 5b 6

Avocado Crab Boats

These boats are wonderful with tortilla chips, beans or rice. You can also cover them, pack them on ice, and take them to a picnic or potluck. Straight from the oven or cold, they're always delicious. —Frances Benthin, Scio, Oregon
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Black Bean Bulgur Salad

The only cooking in this easy bulgur salad is heating the broth and bulgur. You can adapt the recipe to your preference; if you want to add chopped cooked chicken, use chicken broth in place of vegetable broth. —Carole Resnick, Cleveland, Ohio
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Naked Fish Tacos Exps Sdas17 174646 D04 12 3b 2

Naked Fish Tacos

This is one of my husband's all-time favorite meals. I've even converted some friends to fish after eating this. I serve it with fresh melon when it's in season to balance the subtle heat of the cabbage mixture. —Elizabeth Bramkamp, Gig Harbor, Washington
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Shrimp Cobb Salad

This shrimp cobb salad is quite healthy. I often use a grill pan, but you can simply saute, too. Feel free to use any greens you like. — Nicholas Monfre, Hudson, Florida
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Moo Shu Lettuce Cups

I took ordinary ground beef and turned it into a new classic. With sweet and savory flavors, this dish will be a dinnertime favorite. We love this served in flour tortillas, too! —Christine Keating, Norwalk, California
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Spanish Gazpacho Exps Mtbz18 30846 B03 13 6b 7

Spanish Gazpacho

There’s a bounty of vegetables in this tantalizing chilled soup. Its refreshing flavor makes it an ideal addition to summer lunches or light suppers. —Dave Schmitt, Hartland, Wisconsin
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Tuscan Fish Packets Exps Sdas18 185515 D03 30  5b 4

Tuscan Fish Packets

My husband does a lot of fishing, so I'm always looking for different ways to serve his catches. A professional chef was kind enough to share this recipe with me, and I played around with some different veggie combinations until I found the one my family liked best. —Kathy Morrow, Hubbard, Ohio
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Red Pepper Parmesan Tilapia Exps Ft20 40965 F 0116 1 5

Red Pepper & Parmesan Tilapia

My husband and I are always looking for light fish recipes because of their health benefits. This Parmesan tilapia is a hit with him, and we've served it at dinner parties, too. It's a staple! —Michelle Martin, Durham, North Carolina
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Grilled Buttermilk Chicken Exps Bfbz19 193422 B01 16 4b 2

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

I created this recipe years ago after one of our farmers market customers, a chef, shared the idea of marinating chicken in buttermilk. The chicken is easy to prepare and always turns out moist and delicious! I bruise the thyme sprigs by twisting them before adding them to the buttermilk mixture; this tends to release the oils in the leaves and flavor the chicken better. —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
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One-Dish Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

I'm still settling into married life and learning how to balance our busy schedules. This quick one-dish ground turkey sweet potato skillet helps keep us on track throughout the week. —Shannon Barden, Alpharetta, Georgia
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Asian Chicken Rice Bowl Exps Sdas17 201063 D04 11 5b 3

Asian Chicken Rice Bowl

This super flavorful, nutrient-packed dish makes use of supermarket conveniences like coleslaw mix and rotisserie chicken. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled for large families. —Christianna Gozzi, Asteria, New York
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Chicken Cucumber Pitas Exps Sdjj18 73927 C02 08 4b 7

Chicken Cucumber Pitas

I wanted a good recipe for pitas. Seeing the large stack of garden-fresh cucumbers on my counter, I decided to improvise and create my own filling. It was a huge hit. —Sheena Wellard, Nampa, Idaho
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Pressure-Cooker Lemon Chicken with Basil

No matter when I eat it, this tangy chicken dish always reminds me of summer meals with friends and family. The recipe produces a lot of lovely sauce; serve it as is or spoon it over some lightly herbed couscous. —Deborah Posey, Virginia Beach, Virginia
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Chicken Quinoa Bowls with Balsamic Dressing

I love this recipe because its simplicity allows me to spend time with my family while not sacrificing taste or nutrition. Plus the fresh spring flavors really shine through! —Allyson Meyler, Greensboro, North Carolina

Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.
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