Imagine this scenario: it's a warm summer night and you want to get dinner on the table so you can a) head back outside; b) relax in the A/C after another brutal day in the heat. Either way, what you don't want to do is spend hours upon hours in the kitchen.
We have the solution: one trip to the kitchen, and two steps to dinner. And that's it. We've hand-picked 10 of our favorite paired-down recipes. And while they may be simple in execution, they're packed with complex flavors.
Stuffed Zucchini with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Have a garden (or vegetable chiller) that's overflowing with ripe zucchini? Here's one way to use it up.
Olive oil, for brushing baking sheet
2 medium zucchini
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded, and diced small
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
5 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into 1-inch pieces
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Halve zucchini lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Place, cut side up, on sheet and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, oregano, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Top zucchini with tomato mixture. Bake until zucchini is tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Heat broiler, with rack in top position. Top zucchini with mozzarella. Broil until cheese is brown and bubbling, 1 to 2 minutes; serve immediately.
Corn Chowder with Zucchini and Orzo
Chowder in just two steps? Now that's a winner. Get ready to take a heaping spoonful of savory flavors.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium zucchini, diced medium
Reserved cooked orzo
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
3 cups corn kernels (from 4 ears), cobs reserved
1. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Add zucchini and saute until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Stir in orzo and heat until warmed through. Transfer to a bowl and toss with scallion greens; season with salt and pepper.
2. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in saucepan over medium-high. Add scallion whites and saute until tender, 3 minutes. Add corn and cook until tender, 3 minutes. Add 3 cups water and corncobs and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until chowder thickens slightly, about 8 minutes. Discard cobs and season with salt and pepper. In batches, fill a blender halfway with chowder and puree (use caution when blending hot liquids). Serve chowder topped with zucchini mixture.
Broiled Fish with Summer Salad
Want a quick and easy meal? Impress your guests with light fish and a fresh summer salad.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 lemon sole or flounder fillets (1 3/4 pounds total)
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
5 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 English cucumber, cut into half-moons
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 2 ears)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Heat broiler. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange sole on sheet, flipping to coat in oil; sprinkle with one-third the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Broil until fish is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, toss together remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining garlic, and tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate half the tomato mixture for Tuesday. Stir cucumber, corn, and lemon juice into remaining tomato mixture. Serve fish with salad.
Grilled Corn with Cilantro and Sesame
Grill and sprinkle. Grill and sprinkle. Say that a few times and before you know it, this snack will be ready to eat.
4 ears corn, husks and silk removed 2 tablespoons sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger 1/2 teaspoon minced seeded jalapeno 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro Coarse salt and ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until kernels are tender and charred in spots, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine sesame oil, ginger, jalapeno, and cilantro; season with salt and pepper.
2. Transfer corn to a platter and spread sesame oil mixture over cobs. Sprinkle each with sesame seeds and serve.
Stir-Fried Turkey in Lettuce Wraps
Adventure travel doesn't need to be an hours-long process. Take a far-off getaway with this quick Asian-inflected recipe.
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons fish sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno or serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey (93 percent lean)
2 large heads Bibb, Boston, or iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Set sauce aside.
2. Heat a large skillet or wok over high until hot. Add oil and swirl to coat skillet. Add shallot, ginger, garlic, and chile and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until almost cooked through, 5 minutes. Add half the sauce to skillet and stir until meat is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Serve in lettuce leaves with remaining sauce.
More from Everyday Food:
Hands Down, The 20 Grilling Recipes You Must Try This Summer
35 Beyond Delicious No-Bake Dessert Recipes
Fast, One-Pot Meal Ideas To Feed the Whole Family
Martha Stewart's All-Time Favorite Dessert Recipes
Here's another unbelievably easy take on a seasonal favorite.