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Sizzlin’ Summer Cooking Tips

a plate of food with broccoli

Bring on the sunshine, pool parties, and backyard get-togethers because summer is here! Beat the heat this summer with these summer cooking tips and a refreshing salad recipe.

Summer is full of on-the-go activities, family & friend gatherings, longer days to enjoy the sun, and weeklong vacations. But don’t let the fun outdoors make cooking a challenge! With a few adjustments to your normal kitchen routine, you can continue to entertain guests, feed the family, and provide light, nutritious meals.

a group of people sitting at a table with a birthday cake

Keep it cool with no-cook recipes. Choose recipes that use minimal to no cooking that would add additional heat. No-cook recipes like abundant green salads, seasonal fruit salad, flavored water or seltzer, smoothies, freshly squeezed juice, and ready-to-eat wraps or sandwiches are great for keeping a cool palate. (Keep reading for a delicious seasonal salad recipe!)

a bottle of water on a tableChoose fruits & veggies that are in season. This tip goes for all seasons! Seasonal produce is at its freshest and most flavorful state compared to its out-of-season counterparts. Stick to a variety of colors to please a crowd of guests like strawberries, watermelon, mangoes, asparagus, beets, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, cherries, and arugula. Add tropical fruits to your smoothie or snack on raw veggies with our favorite Guacamole Dip. Kids love to mix and mash this guac into its summer-classic side dish.

a person holding a bowl of foodKeep it simple. Summertime is for pool parties, neighborhood BBQs, baseball games, picnics, and outdoor adventures! Keep your meals simple so you have more time to spend with your family and friends enjoying your favorite summer activities. Simply sliced fruit with a yogurt dip makes for a great pool-side snack. Now is the time to stock up on convenience items like pre-chopped veggies and pre-cooked chicken breasts to keep the cooking process simple.

a tray of food on a tableKeep it to one… One piece of equipment. If you’re into the extra heat, limit the amount of equipment necessary to make a meal and just choose one! Fire up the grill, crank the oven, or try a one-pot stove recipe. Prep everything from burger patties or chicken breasts to sliced veggies. Choose from the grill or the oven and arrange your protein – burgers, fish, chicken – on the bottom rack while placing veggies on the top rack. You can even place your burger buns on the top rack for a quick toast. Try our newest Sliders & Shakes workshop to learn how to make your own Brioche Buns, cheesy Sliders, and cooling Extreme Milkshakes at home! 

Lighten up. While winter has us hunkered down with mounds of our favorite comfort foods, summer turns us toward lighter meals to keep us from that dreaded food coma. Prep lighter versions of your favorite dishes whether that be with smaller portions or with lighter ingredients like a vinaigrette dressing over a creamy one or extra veggies instead of extra noodles. Try your favorite recipes bite-sized, great for days when you’re on the go, go, go!

a pan filled with foodDouble up on recipes. Save time cooking throughout the week by doubling the original recipe to yield leftovers. Whether you’re feeding a family of four or just you and your significant, cooking enough for leftovers will help you stay nourished and energized during these busy summer days. Befriend your freezer if leftovers last more than 3-5 days.

Gather the troops! What makes cooking the most fun? Cooking with family & friends! Delegate tasks such as shopping, slicing and dicing, and setting the table. Assign age-appropriate tasks to your budding chefs. We encourage our youngest budding chefs to work on motor skills like stirring, whisking, and pouring while our older chefs can practice their math skills by measuring ingredients. Invite your neighbors to help as part of the BBQ as you hand them a cold beer or glass of wine while they cook – a friendly bribe never hurt anyone ;). Not only will this teamwork save time but it will strengthen the bond between you and your Kitchen helpers.

a group of people looking at a birthday partySo who’s ready for their first summer party? Or maybe you’re planning a Father’s Day gathering with out-of-town family? This Arugula Salad with IPA Vinaigrette has a “hoppy” twist that uses cooling ingredients and your favorite summer beer to keep the sun shining on your meal. Featured in our Cooking with Beer Adult BYOB Workshop, the salad is zested with citrus as you learn how to supreme (or segment) an orange for a finishing touch. It’s simple, seasonal, and requires no heat, so get this summer salad shakin’ with your favorite IPA and impress your guests with flavor and fun!

a plate of food with broccoli

Are you looking for a last minute Father’s Day gift? The best gift of all is spending quality time together! Avoid the prep work and mess at home and let us do the planning and clean up. Our Kitchens are gearing up for some special Father’s Day events with menus like our Father’s Day Pizza Party, Brunch, Steakhouse and Cooking with Beer. Choose a menu that makes dad smile at a Taste Buds Kitchen near you.

Hugs to all our dads and happy summer cooking!

a person sitting at a table

Arugula Salad & IPA Vinaigrette Recipe


  • 1/4 C IPA beer
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 T minced shallot
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T whole grain dijon mustard
  • 2 t orange zest
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 orange, cut into sliced segments
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 oz cucumber, sliced
  • 1 scallion (green part only), thinly sliced
  • 3 C arugula


  • In a jar (with a tight fitting lid) combine IPA beer, olive oil, shallot, honey, mustard, orange zest, salt and pepper. Place the lid on tightly and shake until dressing is fully combined. Let sit at least 5 minutes so flavors can marinate.
  • Prep all salad ingredients: segment orange, cut cherry tomatoes, slice cucumber and scallions. Place arugula and prepped salad ingredients in a bowl and toss lightly with IPA dressing. Enjoy!
  • TBK TIP: Salad is best served in one large bowl.