Summer Inspired Dinner Recipes

Although the Midwest is slow to realize, warmer weather is right around the corner and what better way to get in the summer spirit than to craft a few summer-inspired meals.

Try out these 4 healthy, easy-to-make meals and let us know how they taste!

Grilled Shrimp With Walnut Pesto

Total time: 25 minutes

Nutrition per serving

Calories 339

Total Fat 3 grams

Saturated Fat 3 grams

Cholesterol 243 milligrams

Sodium 423 milligrams

Carbohydrates 3 grams

Dietary Fiber 1 grams

Protein 32 grams

Sugar 1 grams


For the pesto:

1/2 cup walnut halves

Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

5 scallions, thinly sliced

1 cup packed fresh basil

1/2 cup packed fresh parsley

For the shrimp:

2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Kosher salt

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Mixed greens, for serving

Directions (6 servings)

1. Preheat grill to high. Soak 6 10-inch wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

2. While soaking, make pesto. Pulse walnuts, lemon zest and juice, olive oil and pinch of salt in a food processor until walnut are in small pieces. Pulse in scallions, basil and parsley until fairly smooth. With the machine on, drizzle in 2 to 4 tablespoons cold water to loosen. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt.

3.Thread shrimp through the tail and top end onto the prepared skewers so they lie flat. Brush with vegetable oil and season on both sides with salt and red pepper flakes. Grill shrimp on the hottest part of the grill until marked (about 3-4 minutes); flip and grill until cooked through (another 2-3 minutes). Remove from grill and drizzle with red wine vinegar. Remove shrimp from skewers, if desired, and serve over mixed greens. Drizzle some of the pesto while serving the rest on the side.

Grilled Veggies With Couscous and Yogurt Sauce

Prep:15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

Nutrition per serving

Calories 473

Total Fat 16 grams

Saturated Fat 2 grams

Cholesterol 2 milligrams

Sodium 616 milligrams

Carbohydrates 72 grams

Dietary Fiber 12 grams

Protein 17 grams


2 bell peppers (any color), stemmed, seeded and quartered

1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed

2 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 to 3 sprigs thyme, rosemary or oregano

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

1 10-ounce package couscous

1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions (4 servings)

1. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Toss the bell peppers, squash, mushrooms, garlic, herbs, olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper in a large bowl. Brush the onion rounds with olive oil and season with salt. Brush the grill pan with olive oil, then add the bell pepper mixture and onion rounds (in batches if needed), turning, until tender and marked (about 10 minutes). Peel the garlic.

2. Meanwhile, cook the couscous as the label directs.

3. Pulse the garlic, 2 pieces of grilled bell pepper and yogurt in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add ¼ tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Cut the grilled bell peppers into chunks and toss with the squash, mushrooms, herbs and onion in a large bowl; season with salt.

4. Fluff the couscous with a fork and divide among the bowls. Top with the veggies and almonds and serve with the yogurt sauce.

Coffee-Rubbed Steak with Peppers and Onions

Prep:30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

Nutrition per serving

Calories 337

Total Fat 16.5 grams

Saturated Fat 6 grams

Cholesterol 111 milligrams

Sodium 360 milligrams

Carbohydrates 9 grams

Dietary Fiber 1 grams

Protein 37 grams

Sugar 5 grams


2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light or dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Kosher salt

1 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-pound skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, cut into wedges

Freshly ground pepper

1 green bell pepper, cut into strips

Juice of 1/2 lime, plus lime wedges for serving

Cornbread, for serving (optional)

Directions (6 servings)

1. Combine 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, instant coffee, cocoa powder, mustard powder, chile powder, cinnamon, and 1 tsp. salt in a bowl; rub the mixture with your fingers until fine. Season the steak with salt, then generously rub with coffee mixture.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Sear the steak (3 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare), in batches if needed. Transfer to cutting board and let rest. Save the juices in the skillet.

3.Add remaining 1 tsp. Brown sugar and onion to the skillet. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden (about five minutes). Stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

4.Slice the steak against the grain. Divide among plates. Serve with lime wedges and cornbread.

Chicken-Watermelon Tacos

Prep:10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

Nutrition per serving

Calories 530

Total Fat 24 grams

Saturated Fat 7 grams

Cholesterol 95 milligrams

Sodium 880 milligrams

Carbohydrates 47 grams

Dietary Fiber 7 grams

Protein 37 grams


4 tomatillos, husked and rinsed

1 large jalapeno pepper

1 small red onion (1/2 cut into large chunks, 1/2 thinly sliced)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed)

Juice of 2 limes, plus wedges for serving

Kosher salt

2 cups chopped watermelon

1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro

3/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (about 3 ounces)

Freshly ground pepper

12 corn tortillas

1 avocado, chopped

Directions (4 servings)

1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add tomatillos, jalapeno and red onion chunks. Cook, turning, until blistered (5-6 min for the onion and 7-8 min for tomatillos and jalapeno). Transfer to cutting board; cool slightly. Chop tomatillos and onion. Seed and chop jalapeno.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in medium skillet over high heat. Add tomatillos, chopped onions and half of the jalapeno. Cook until the vegetables release their juices, then add chicken, juice of 1 lime and ½ tsp. salt. Simmer until warmed through (about 2 minutes). Keep warm over low heat.

3. Toss watermelon, ½ cup cilantro, sliced red onion, remaining jalapeno, juice of 1 lime, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and half of the cheese in a bowl. Season with ¼ tsp. salt. and a few grinds of pepper. Warm tortillas in a dry skillet.

4. Add remaining 1 cup cilantro to chicken mixture. Divide among tortillas and top with watermelon salad, remaining cheese and avocado. Serve with lime wedges.