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American Flag Crepe Cake

Sure, we love the classic Fourth of July sheet cake decorated with fresh fruit. But this year, we’ve upped the ante, creating a delicious, towering crepe cake that will wow everyone at the party. Though it appears to consist of blue crepes stacked on top of red, as soon as you slice into it you’ll reveal the fun surprise. By creating a blue ring around red batter on the top half of the crepes, every slice resembles an American flag. The big reveal is bound to go down as the best party trick ever. And if you’ve never made a crepe cake, it’s easier than it sounds, because it truly doesn’t matter if your crepes are misshapen (any imperfections are hidden under swirls of cream cheese frosting). To speed up the process, get two crepe pans going at once.

Veggie Burgers

A great veggie burger is rare. No, not medium-rare: it shouldn’t try to mimic a real beef burger. It’s just hard to find juicy, flavorful veggies burgers—in the wild or while you’re perusing the Internet for recipes. That’s why you need to make these veggie burgers ASAP. They’re super flavorful thanks to ingredients that pack in the umami, like shiitake mushrooms and cheddar cheese. They stick together so you can really press them into the pan to get a hard sear that makes for delicious crust. They incorporate ground up tortilla chips for added texture, flavor, and bind. And if that’s not enough to convince you? The recipe makes 15 burgers that freeze beautifully, so you can make a big batch and enjoy for months.

Coconut Rice Pudding

This one-pot dessert has a short ingredient list, takes just 35 minutes to make, and delivers unique not-too-sweet flavor. A combination of whole milk and coconut milk (an entire can, so you’re not left with pesky dregs) makes for a creamy and rich pudding. The rice is tender but not mushy, and coconut is present but not overwhelming. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several days, perfect for enjoying hot or cold. Top with chopped mango per the recipe, or branch out and try toasted coconut, your favorite toasted nut, or even granola (breakfast, anyone?).

Grilled Skirt Steak With Squash Ratatouille

Few meals are better than fresh grilled vegetables and nice salt and pepper grilled steak. Bright summer vegetable flavor takes on deep charred richness that complements the tender juicy meat. If you can’t find skirt steak, it’s okay to use sirloin, hanger, or strip steaks. We recommend using a large grill pan that covers 2 burners; if you have a smaller one, slice the steak in half so it cooks in the same amount of time. We think a side of buttery herbed rice or classic mashed potatoes would be the perfect finishing touch—as would a glass of slightly chilled red wine.

Grilled California Fish Tacos

These are perhaps the perfect summer taco. Grilled white fish gets rubbed with a spicy paprika mixture and grilled until just cooked through. We grilled some scallions alongside for extra flavor, then topped it off with creamy avocado and zesty pico de gallo. Swordfish is a good choice for grilling because it holds its shape, but you can use any firm white fish that looks fresh. Be sure to get your grill or grill pan really hot before you start grilling. Give it a cleaning with a stiff brush to take off any bits from its last rodeo (but some bunched up foil makes a nice abrasive tool too).

Pan-Seared Chicken Cutlets With Summer Corn Succotash

What the title doesn’t mention: this perfect-pan seared chicken dinner plus succotash is a one-pan meal. What it also doesn’t mention: the chicken is so darn perfect because it’s seared in bacon grease. That’s right, the bacon that goes into the corn succotash is brilliantly cooked in the skillet first until it’s crisp, and then reserved. But you don’t wipe the pan clean. Instead, you add the chicken and cook it until it’s golden brown and crispy. Then you finish off the succotash in just a few minutes, adding fresh corn kernels, frozen lima beans, chick stock, and scallions. Winner winner.

Sunset Daiquiris

Good news: you don’t need to travel to a tropical island to sip on a frozen layered daiquiri this summer. By creating one base recipe and simply swapping in different fruits, we figured out the formula to the ultimate summer drink. Blending the lightest layer (pineapple) first means you don’t even have to clean out the blender between flavors. Feel free to swap in your favorite liquor for the rum, such as brandy or tequila. Alternatively, omit the rum for a fun booze-free treat. No matter how you enjoy it, we guarantee it will be just the refreshment you need.

Chickpea, Roasted Pepper, and Radicchio Salad

At the peak of summer it’s tempting and okay to chop up a bunch of super fresh ingredients and serve them with a drizzle of olive oil, some flaky salt, and cracked pepper. This salad was created in the spirit of letting fresh ingredients shine, but adds a few extra super quick layers of flavor. Namely, thinly sliced Vidalia onion is briefly marinated in red wine vinegar to take off its edge before the rest of the salad is tossed in. Canned chickpeas bulk up the dish into dinner and torn fresh mozzarella cheese adds the perfect dash of creamy richness.

3 Surprising Ways to Use Artichoke Hearts

They may not look like much, but they can completely transform a dish.