THE BLOG
08/16/2014 06:06 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

15 Recipes You Need to Make Before Summer Is Over

1. Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad with Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

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Made with black beans, fresh corn, crisp bell peppers, creamy avocado and a smoky-sweet chipotle vinaigrette, this is the ultimate crowd-pleasing summer salad. It's perfect for a potluck because you can make it ahead of time. GET THE RECIPE

2. Simple Summer Strawberry Cake

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This is, without a doubt, one of the simplest, prettiest, most delicious cakes you'll ever make. You can whip it up and have it in the oven in under 15 minutes, and it keeps well for days. What more could you ask for? GET THE RECIPE

3. Maryland Crab Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce

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Here on the Eastern Shore, eating crabs is a summer pastime: picnic tables covered with brown paper, silver buckets, buttered corn, french fries, cornbread and the unmistakable scent of seafood and Old Bay. You could attempt an all-you-can-eat crab feast at home (live crabs, giant steamers -- yikes!) or just make crab cakes, which are just as delicious and so easy to prepare. GET THE RECIPE

4. Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

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Inspired by the popular Thai Crunch Salad served at California Pizza Kitchen, this salad is made with crisp Napa cabbage, crunchy vegetables and edamame but it's the creamy peanut dressing that makes it so good -- I guarantee you'll want to put it on everything! GET THE RECIPE

5. Grilled Moroccan Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce

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In this easy recipe -- adapted from Curtis Stone's What's For Dinner -- ground beef is laced with warm spices, fresh herbs and garlic, and then grilled in meatball form until smoky and charred. It's delicious served over couscous with a cooling yogurt-cucumber sauce. GET THE RECIPE

6. Best Blueberry Muffins

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Bursting with fresh blueberries with a tender, cakey crumb and sparkling sugar crust, these really are the best blueberry muffins. I've tried fussier recipes that call for mashing some of the blueberries into the batter or even swirling homemade blueberry jam into the mix, but there's no need for all that -- this simple recipe tops them all. GET THE RECIPE

7. Grilled Pesto Shrimp

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There are endless ways to use pesto -- the Italian sauce made from olive oil, basil, garlic, nuts and Parmesan cheese -- but this recipe has to be one of my favorites. Whether you serve the dish for dinner with pasta and a vegetable or as an appetizer all alone, the shrimp will disappear in a flash. Trust me, no matter how much you think you'll need, make extra! GET THE RECIPE

8. Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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This Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread makes the perfect afternoon snack whenever you're in need of a chocolate fix. It has a deep chocolate flavor from unsweetened cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate chips, yet it's not so sweet that it tastes like dessert. It's also loaded with zucchini, so there's some virtue in it. GET THE RECIPE

9. Thai Minced Chicken Lettuce Cups

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Boldly flavored with fresh ginger, lime, chili pepper, fish sauce and brown sugar, these Thai-Style Lettuce Cups are wildly addictive. In fact, whenever I make them for dinner, I have to force myself to put the leftovers in the fridge right away before starting the dishes, otherwise I'll finish them off while no one is watching! GET THE RECIPE

10. Warm Couscous Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette

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I love Moroccan food, especially the blending of savory and sweet, which is the idea behind this delicious salad. Made with couscous, scallions, fresh herbs, crunchy almonds and a tangy-sweet apricot vinaigrette, it's the perfect side dish for summer. By that I mean it's wonderfully light, takes mere minutes to make, travels well to a picnic or BBQ, and can be served warm or room temperature. GET THE RECIPE

11. Grilled Chicken Wings with Seasoned Buffalo Sauce

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Classic Buffalo wings are fried but I love the flavor and ease of cooking them on the grill -- they are truly no fuss, no muss and finger lickin' good! The key is to cook them over a moderate flame so that the fat renders out and the skin gets nice and crispy. They're delicious plain but the seasoned Buffalo sauce takes them over the top; it's made with garlic and spices, which makes it more flavorful than your typical hot sauce. GET THE RECIPE

12. Roasted Tomato Salsa

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Utterly addictive, this bright and spicy salsa combines vine-ripened tomatoes, onions, garlic, Serrano chiles, cilantro and fresh lime. Unlike most salsas, which are raw, the vegetables in this recipe are roasted -- a technique that intensifies the flavor of the tomatoes, mellows the onions and garlic, and adds a light touch of smokiness. It is hands down my favorite salsa recipe and couldn't be easier to make. GET THE RECIPE

13. Zucchini Fritters with Feta & Dill

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The word fritter usually conjures up something heavy and deep-fried, but these zucchini pancakes are as light and delicate as can be. I like them best as a light vegetarian meal or mezze (small plate) with tzatziki and a Greek salad, but they're also delicious as a side to any Mediterranean-style fish, chicken or lamb dish. GET THE RECIPE

14. Banana Pudding Parfaits

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Banana Pudding is an old-fashioned Southern dessert traditionally made with layers of Nilla wafers, vanilla pudding and sliced bananas. It can be topped with baked meringue, sweetened whipped cream or cookies. I've tried every variation and many different recipes, and this version beats them all. It bucks tradition a bit, but still tastes wonderfully nostalgic and delicious. GET THE RECIPE

15. Baja Fish Tacos

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Made with crispy beer-battered cod, crunchy cabbage slaw and a smoky chipotle sauce -- all tucked into warm corn tortillas -- these are the ultimate fish tacos. They're easy enough for a weeknight dinner but also special enough for company. GET THE RECIPE