25 Summer Dump Dinners That Basically Cook Themselves
In the dog days of summer, we’d rather be anywhere than a hot kitchen (though our first choice is probably on a float in an infinity pool with a cold glass of wine in hand). So, to minimize the whole standing-over-a-hot-stove thing, we like to rely on “dump” dinners: easy set-it-and-forget-it meals that are seasonal, fresh and delicious without too much effort (like sheet-pan gnocchi and Instant-Pot coconut salmon). Intrigued? Here are more of our favorite recipes.
1. Instant Pot Coconut Salmon with Fresh Herbs and Lime
Instant Pot salmon? Yes, it’s a thing, and it’s both delicious and impossible to mess up. Since the fish is steam-poached in the spiced coconut milk, it comes out moist and flavorful every time.
2. One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
This recipe requires just five minutes of prep and 15 minutes of cooking. If you use homegrown cherry tomatoes and basil, even better.
3. Sheet Pan Tomato Basil Gnocchi
Cooking gnocchi (store-bought, of course) in the oven makes it crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, without any of that boiling water business.
5. Instant Pot Spaghetti with Goat Cheese, Mint and Peas
The key to achieving perfectly al dente pasta in a pressure cooker is to drop the dry noodles in with the aromatics so they absorb as much flavor as possible, then quick-release the pressure once they’re cooked, so they don’t go mushy on you.
6. Easy One-Pan Ratatouille
Traditional ratatouille requires many pots and pans and a lot of time, but we’ve managed to streamline the recipe in a major way. Spend that extra free time stocking up on veggies at the farmers market.
8. Cheater’s Skillet Lasagna with Corn and Cherry Tomatoes
Proof that you can skip all the fussy layers and still make a cheesy, crave-worthy dinner.
9. 15-Minute Skillet Pepper Steak
We know you’d rather be soaking up the sun than thinking about dinner, but you don’t have to resort to takeout. Just make this.
10. One-Pan Roasted Salmon with Potatoes and Romaine
The entrée and sides all cook at the same time! (Swap the romaine hearts for kale or even broccoli if that’s your jam.)
11. One-Pot, 15-Minute Pasta Limone
We love how fresh and summery this tastes. Plus, you probably have all of the ingredients on hand already.
15. Skillet Steak with Asparagus and Potatoes
Everything cooks together in one sizzling hot pan, which means great flavor and no pile of dirty dishes after dinner. We call that a weeknight win.
17. Sheet-Pan Garlic Butter Shrimp
Summer is all about entertaining, and this simple sheet pan supper is the perfect way to feed a crowd. We’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like shrimp with a lemony garlic butter sauce.
21. Sheet-Pan Lemon Butter Veggies and Sausage
It doesn’t get any easier than this one-pan wonder. Plus, it’s a great way to use up all the vegetables you have left in the fridge before you leave for vacation.
23. Instant Pot Summer Soup
Whether you stopped at too many farm stands on the way back from the beach, or you’re just celebrating that there’s actually good produce at the market, we’re betting you have plenty of veggies to put in this super-simple (and extremely healthy) soup. It’s a good dose of virtue in between all the hot dogs and peach cobbler.
24. Old Bay Shrimp and Sausage Sheet-Pan Dinner
Old Bay always makes us think of eating seafood on the beach. And whether you’re actually by a body of water or just dreaming about it, this is the easiest way to get into that vibe.
25. Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
The secret ingredient to this pork? A can of cola. We were skeptical too, but it’s hard to argue with a smoky-sweet, fork-tender pulled pork sandwich in the summer.