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Summer Soiree: 5 Booze-Free Picnic Sips

Summer is a good time to be thirsty. There are chilled glasses of iced tea and lemonade to be had — often flavored with in-season fruit — not to mention slushies, milkshakes and smoothies. Grab a pitcher and some ice (plus our recipes below) for these good-for-all-ages refreshers.

1. Muddled Lemonberryade (pictured above)
Borrow a trick from professional bartenders and muddle an array of berries and mint to get the most summer flavor in this bright, colorful sparkling lemonade. Once you’ve mastered the technique, try swapping in different berries and herbs like basil or lavender.

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Meatless Monday: Panzanella

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Feeling the meat sweats after a weekend of Father’s Day grilling? Lay off the burgers, dogs and chops in favor of this light panzanella. The Tuscan bread salad is ideal for summer, relying on simple and fresh ingredients like tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions (or anything that’s in season at your local market). Revive day-old loaves in some water, then toss the crumbs with vegetables, sprigs of fresh basil and red wine vinaigrette. Dive in quickly — it won’t take long for them to soak up all the punchy flavors and juices.

Panzanella

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5 Sweet Treats for National Strawberry Shortcake Day

On June 14th, raise a pint — of strawberries, that is — to National Strawberry Shortcake Day. The classic combination of biscuits, strawberries and cream never fails to please a crowd, but we’re fêting the all-American dessert with five delightful recipes that call for a twist.

Don’t have time to bake biscuits from scratch? Kelsey’s Grilled Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon Cream (pictured above) swaps in thick-cut, store-bought pound cake. Give the slices a quick char on the grill and load them up with glazed strawberries and tart pastry cream to form one mouthwatering dessert sandwich.

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Summer Soiree: 5 Sizzling Burgers

Backyard barbecues conjure plenty of cravings: lemonade, hot dogs, pasta salad, cold beer. But all are mere supporting cast members for the summer star, the burger. At the heart of nearly every barbecue is a grill full of sizzling patties. The all-American classic is a blank canvas for relishes, vegetables and other condiments. Once you’ve mastered Cooking Channel’s 6 tenets of burger deliciousness, try these new-style masterpieces.

1. The B-and-B “Bash Burger” (pictured above)
Take a page from three-time Burger Bash victor Josh Capon’s grilling playbook and spruce up your patties with onion-studded bacon jam and Sriracha-laced special sauce for a winner at your next summer party.

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Sifted: Orange Creamsicle Donuts, Sweet Potato Sticky Buns + More

5 Hot Links We’re Loving:

1. The Gunny Sack re-imagines an ice cream truck classic as bite-sized doughnuts topped with a scoop of fluffy orange buttercream.

2. Breakfast just got a whole lot sweeter, thanks to these cardamom-infused sweet potato sticky buns from the Sugar Hit.

3. Still planning the perfect Father’s Day menu? We bet Dad will ask for seconds of the Endless Meal‘s crisp-skinned pork belly with chipotle aioli.

4. A piping bag and colorful sprinkles are Oh Joy‘s tools for turning classic chocolate cupcakes into favorite summer fruits.

5. Load flaky biscuits with pepper-flecked berries and whipped goat cheese to make these fancy strawberry shortcakes by 10th Kitchen.

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Meatless Monday: Zucchini Chili

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

The dog days of summer will inevitably call for cooling salads and chilled soups. But before those evenings of endless humidity hit, consider a make-ahead meal that merges the best of two seasons. Rachael’s zucchini chili revamps the quintessential winter dish to use summer’s best (and most abundant) bounty. Chopped zucchini gets a spicy kick from cumin, coriander and poblano peppers. Deglaze the pan with beer, then serve the light vegetarian stew over spinach-cilantro rice or as a standalone bowl topped with crushed tortillas.

Zucchini Chili

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Summer Fest: The 5 Best Picnic Sweets

You’ve lunched on sandwiches, nibbled on potato salad and slaws, then washed it all down with a refreshing iced tea. What’s next? Dessert, of course. But with the summer sun pounding up above, it’s best to avoid delicate layered cakes or quick-to-melt ice cream. Before you head out, fill up your baskets with these champion travelers and we guarantee dessert will be a grand finale.

1. S’mores Bars (pictured above)
Kelsey layers chocolate chips and marshmallow fluff between graham-flavored blondies to make bars that possess all the campfire flavor of s’mores, minus the gooey mess.

2. Apple and Blueberry Hand Pies
No need to fumble for forks and plates. These flaky, grab-and-go pies — stuffed with cinnamon-dusted apples and blueberries — are as easy to devour as they are to transport.

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Sifted: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Sandwiches, Shrimp Rolls + More

5 Hot Links We’re Loving:

1. This isn’t your childhood ice cream sandwich. Half Baked Harvest‘s grown-up take packs a scoop of peanut butter cup ice cream into hot-from-the-oven pretzel buns.

2. The size of little cream puffs, Cooking for Keeps’ mini dill-flecked shrimp rolls are the perfect summer substitute for tea sandwiches.

3. To make this beautiful (and gluten-free) summer tart, Bakerita arranges slices of ripe mango in concentric petal-like circles.

4. Up your brunch game with the Kitchen Magpie’s crowd-pleasing French toast rolls, filled with Nutella and fresh strawberries.

5. Looking to serve wild salmon on a budget? 1-2 Simple Cooking turns one serving of salmon into two servings with these teriyaki salmon kebabs.

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Meatless Monday: Monster Mushroom Burger

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

There are so many ways to make vegetables a part of our summer meals: as refreshing side salads, satisfying mains or the stars of our backyard cookout, like this stellar Monster Mushroom Burger from Bobby Deen. The earthy portobello “patty” is far tastier than any frozen faux-meat alternative, and takes just as little time to prepare. Brush the caps with balsamic vinegar, toss them on the grill and in a few short minutes, the flame-kissed fungi will absorb the wonderful smoky aroma of the grill. Combined with baby arugula, onions, tomatoes and red peppers — plus creamy rosemary-lime mayo — the umami-filled sandwich may just become your go-to burger this season.

Monster Mushroom Burger

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Summer Fest: 5 Picnic Potluck Ideas

By the time summer rolls around, we’re usually ready to push our casserole pans and dutch ovens into the dusty back corners of our kitchen cabinets. Not so fast — by using fresh summer vegetables, seafood and even berries, you can make lighter one-dish wonders that will feed a crowd without sending them into a full-blown food coma.

1. Tomato Vegetable Casserole (pictured above)
Giada combines ripe tomatoes, zucchini and bell peppers with potatoes and yams to form a Parmesan-crusted casserole that boasts enough heft as a vegetarian main, but is still light enough for warm summer nights.

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