15 Must-Try Recipes for Your Summer Vacation - Skillful Cook
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15 Must-Try Recipes for Your Summer Vacation

15 Must-Try Recipes for Your Summer Vacation.

How and what?! It's AUGUST!

Just be honest with me here - do you love it or do you love it?

I knowwwww right? I love it, too.

It's the sun, it's tank tops and sandals, it's green grass and glittery blue lakes (I live in the land of 10k yo). It's star-gazing and boat rides and tan lines, and even the occasional earthy smell of steady rain which I am currently enjoying from my perch on the wicker chair in the screened-in porch. This is my zone. Summer is my time. I was custom-made to fit into a happy summer life.

Hand holding a mug on a lake.

Maybe more than anything else, I so super love the August Slow Down. “Heading out early” from the office becomes the norm and the internet (at least for us bloggers) becomes somewhat of a ghost town. It's like life is saying: re-laahhhhx, girlfriend. Chill out. Go off the grid. Eat above and beyond what would be considered a normal amount of hot dogs and chips, I dare you.

Here's the thing: mostly, I don't cook in August. Or, like, ALL SUMMER LONG. We eat out, we grill out, we put magic green sauce on everything and call it a meal.

So if I'm going to make a recipe in the summer, especially while on summer vacation, it has to fit my four essential pillars of summer recipes.

  • ONE: Has to be 99% easy. Real food if possible, but very, very easy.
  • TWO: Has to be filling. We've been swimming all day and WE NEEDS TO EAT.
  • THREE: Has to be refreshing and light-ish. bc we needs to eat, but we also needs to wear swimsuits again tomorrow.
  • FOUR: Has to have ingredients that can all be located at small-town grocery stores or - dare I even say it - deserted gas stations (!!) in the middle of tiny towns in Wisconsin.

I'm so excited about this list because these are literally the things we've been making all week at the cabin and they all fit my four pillars of summer recipes.

Three cheers for The August Slow Down and must-try recipes for summer vacation!


Chocolate granola on a pan.

Love it. It has now tied my love for our traditional cabin granola with its salty chocolate chunks and crunchy pieces of toasted coconut.


Linguine in a bowl with a fork.

A perfect quick dinner after a day on the lake. Probably requires a tiny bit of a hunt for good shrimp, but #worthit.


Magic green sauce in a bowl with a spoon.

Just... there is nothing to say about this other than MAKE IT. Hands down my go-to sauce for literally everything.


Bbq bangkok burrito in tin foil.

Make ahead! Prep these the day before you leave, wrap them up, and freeze so you can treat yourself to happy lunches all throughout vacation.


Sweet corn zucchini pie with parchment paper.

My mom made this again last night to go with our pork chops. My version doesn't have a crust, but hers uses crescent rolls as the crust and it is delicious down-home goodness.


Hands holding lemon olive oil cake.

THIS CAKE. It's so moist and yummy and it addresses the end-of-summer zucchini situation with ease. Breakfast? Dessert? Snacking 24/7? You decide, friends.


Iced matcha green tea latte pouring into a jar.

Three ingredients - matcha powder (order on Amazon and bring with you), almond milk or regular milk, and sweetener like honey or agave. It's creamy and cold and delicious, and bonus: matcha is a health powerhouse.


Masala sauce on meatballs in a skillet.

Make the paste the day before you leave, and then bring it along with a can of tomato puree and a can or coconut milk and you have a made-from-scratch meal that goes with any protein you could want. This week we made it with shrimp -> winning.


Blueberry orange brunch cake on a cake stand with syrup drizzle.

Because when else besides lazy summer vacation will you make a brunch cake, for crying out loud? This is the time for such a simple, berry-loaded masterpiece.


Sweet potato noodle salad in a bowl with two spoons.

This would require you to pack your spiralizer, which I am not above doing. It's every punchy flavor of summer packed into one big ol' bowl.


Chia overnight oats in a glass with a spoon.

Cold and creamy and nutritious mornings. Also beautiful enough to Instagram. This is key.


Migas in a bowl with a fork.

All you need: eggs, tortillas, butter/oil, cheese, and some jalapeños and/or cilantro. Also black beans and avocado, if you like that sort of thing (I DEFINITELY DO). Right now this might be the best savory breakfast in my life.


Watermelon smoothies with a straw.

Blend frozen watermelon until it becomes magical. Can you do this? YOU CAN DO THIS!


Broccoli salad in a bowl with a hand holding a fork.

It's super delicious AND it's clean. Also, what is summer without broccoli salad? Please do not skip the golden raisins.


Energy bites with coconut and chocolate.

We just keep a stash of these in the fridge at all times. They store and travel so easily, like the perfect little food bites that they are. Top with diva sprinkles and chocolate or keep things low maintenance - either way is acceptable, but these are a must-have for summer vacay.

And that's my list!

Friends, if you make any of these on your summer vacation, I am crossing my fingers that you will tag me on Instagram or send me a snap. It makes my whole day when I see POY recipes in your real actual lives. ♡

ALSO I know I'm not the only one with a strong summer recipe repertoire - and I am fully expecting you to drop me some ideas and links in the comments like good food lovers do. Puhleease? XO

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your post said “recipes”, so I clicked on the pics and the titles, but no recipes appeared. How do we access the recipes for these yummies? (In the spirit of quick summer stuff, I was hoping not to have to search thru your archive title by title).

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks so much! I love summer food inspiration 🙂
    This is literally I think the only thing I have been making lately that isn’t one of yours, though it kind of seems like it could be 😛

    Black Bean and Avocado Salad
    – 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    – 1/4 cup olive oil
    – 3 clove garlic, minced
    – 1 teaspoon salt
    – squirt sriracha sauce (or cayenne powder)
    – 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    – 2 cups frozen corn
    – 2 avocados, diced
    – 1 each red orange and yellow bell peppers, chopped
    – 2 tomatoes, chopped
    – 6 green onions, thinly sliced
    – 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Do you ever look back at these recap posts, or just all your posts in general and think to yourself “Wow. I did all this. I made all this amazing food.”? Because you should. Your website is fantastic, and if I were you, I would be so proud of the super fancy stuff that I made, and the not so super fancy stuff that I made. You rock.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Great list! I love your blog and have spent a ton of time looking around, and there are still recipes on this list I haven’t checked out yet. Thanks!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Nice roundup:) POY is my go-to spot for when I need a healthy jumpstart or if I have Vegetarian friends visiting. Love your pics too!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just have to take a minute to thank you for your blog. Without it, my family would not be fed…..literally!!! I typically use your recipes 5 nights week! Thank you for the wonderful recipes and the user friendly way that everything is displayed. I cannot tell you how many recipes blogs I end up leaving before ever actually getting a recipe because of ALL the annoying pop up ads!
    P S…..my Mom and Larry are cousins so tell him HI from Sara and Judy!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love your blog! I love your “jump to recipe” button (because sometimes when you are actually making the recipe later that is a helpful button! ). I love your blog in general… but the design of your blog is better than a lot of the blogs I follow (and I follow a lot). I just thought you would want to know. Your recipes are wonderful and your commentary cracks me up. Well done my Minnesota friend!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thanks so much for gathering all these amazing recipes in one place. I was looking for some inspiration and came across your blog. These recipes seem wonderfully light and perfect for summer.