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Mango Smoothie

Sweet ripe mangos need little help in the smoothie department. We blended ours with a little lowfat milk and yogurt for tang, sort of like a mango lassi. It’s a welcome pick-me-up in the morning, but also refreshing to sip alongside spicy foods or as an after-dinner dessert alternative. You’re likely to find one of 6 types of mango throughout the year but no matter what variety is available you want to be sure to use a ripe mango for blending. It should give slightly, like a ripe peach or avocado. Cut the sides away from the pit and shave off any additional flesh at an angle. Then gnaw on the pit for a real treat.

Chicken and Quinoa Burritos

Our quick and easy burritos only take 25 minutes to prepare, but you can also trim that time down considerably by cooking the quinoa the day before you plan to serve them. Store cooked, cooled quinoa in a covered container in the refrigerator, then reheat it in the microwave before loading up each burrito to your liking. We like the burritos with plenty of fresh cilantro, but you could also use shredded romaine lettuce, or even mixed greens. If you haven’t yet experimented with Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream, trust us—you won’t taste the difference.

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.

Fried Chicken Biscuits With Red Pepper Jelly

They might sound like a labor of love, but here’s the thing: all of the components can be made ahead of time, even the fried chicken. That’s right, you can fry it the day before your party and serve it cold or reheat it in the oven (the skin crisps right back up). The homemade biscuits can be rolled out, cut, and frozen for up to 3 weeks so all you have to do is pop them in the oven and bake the day of. They’re adorably bite-sized and super light and fluffy, a nice contrast to the fried filling.

Lemon-Hibiscus Italian Ice

All you need is a freezer and a food processor to make these 3-ingredient frozen treats. You start by making a lemony simple syrup. Freeze half in glass baking dish to create the lemon Italian ice, and infuse the other half with hibiscus tea bags. It’s fun to watch the tea turn the simple syrup a gorgeous saturated fuchsia color. Once the mixtures freeze, all it takes is a few pulses in the food processor to turn them into nostalgic carnival-worthy desserts. Scoop them into Dixie cups and stash them in the freezer until you’re ready to delight your guests.

Tomato and Olive Panzanella

Look no further for a great summer salad. In fact, this might be one of the greatest that exists. Salads can be annoying and awkward to serve at parties. What do you do with the dressing? Serve it on the side and let people halfheartedly try to dress their own plates? Mix it in and watch the whole thing wilt? This recipe is great because there’s no lettuce at all, just chopped tomatoes, olives, fresh herbs, and torn bread. Yup, you heart that right: bread. Think of it like a salad that finally has enough croutons that everyone wants to eat—because it’s filling.

Ginger Lime Soda (or Margaritas)

A beverage that doubles as a healthy soda for the kids and a cocktail for the adults is plain brilliant in our books. Make a double batch and label one pitcher as boozy and one as virgin. Either way, the drink has just five ingredients and each one packs (excuse the pun) a big punch. Ginger and granulated sugar get whirled up in the food processor and made into fresh-tasting simple syrup. A ton of fresh lime juice makes up the body of the drink, and, here’s the kicker, freshly squeezed orange juice stands in for sickly sweet orange-flavored liqueur.

Make It Yourself: Go-To Vinaigrette

Making your own salad dressing is the key to becoming a stronger cook: Master it and you’ll have the confidence to improvise other dishes. Store-bought dressings, even simple vinaigrettes, are often slicked with freaky stabilizers and excess sweeteners, which can overpower your greens. Once you graduate to the homemade stuff, you’ll never go back. This recipe is a combination of ingredients you almost always have on hand, and you can modify each batch to suit your mood. Try agave or maple syrup in place of the honey or add some freshly grated lemon zest for extra floral tang. Now go forth and emulsify.

Cinnamon-Sugar Tortilla Strips

It’s not an exaggeration to claim that we think these tortilla chips might be magical. How could cinnamon-sugar coated baked tortillas slide out of the oven tasting quite a bit like churros pulled out of the deep fryer? We’re not totally sure, but we also don’t really care to think too hard about how that delicious science is happening, we’d rather just eat up. Here are a couple tips so you achieve those ridiculously crusty results. Even if you have some leftover cinnamon sugar mixture, use all of it. And make sure you do cool the strips completely before packing them up into a storage container.

Sundried Tomato-Tahini Dip

Take a look at a handful of dip recipes. You might notice that most of them have one thing in common: they’re beige-ish. Hummus is darn delicious and we wouldn’t want to ever exclude it from the party. But sometimes a brighter, more colorful dip is needed. Enter this vibrant red offering. Made with sundried tomatoes, hearts of palm, lemon juice, and, surprise—tahini, the recipe takes five minutes max because you just blend everything up in the food processor. No chopping, no fussing, just open up a few cans and dump, dump, blend.