Summer is one of the most flavorful seasons of the year, boasting succulent fruits, refreshing beverages, grill-friendly entrees and interesting takes on old-fashioned favorites. It is a time of levity and lightness, of relaxation and rejuvenation, and it could not be more ruined by the daunting task of cooking summer favorites in an under-ventilated Isla Vista kitchen from dusk ’til dawn. In order to ease the pain, On the Menu took it upon itself to try some of the season’s best and easiest recipes. Looking for quickness of preparation, quality of taste and the perfect combination of in-season items, On the Menu sifted through a plethora of recipes to bring you the finest. Below are those that made our cut.

For Starters: Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas
Time: 30 minutes – Serves: 4

1 cup chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast
2 tablespoons hot sauce
4 (8-inch) tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

Toss hot pepper with shredded chicken. Layer chicken mixture and cheese on four tortillas, dividing evenly.

Cover each with a top tortilla. In a grill pan or non-stick skillet, cook each one for three to five minutes or until toasted and the cheese melts. Cut into quarters to serve.

Serve with blue cheese dressing, salsa or guacamole if desired.

For Dessert: Sauteed Peaches Paired With Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Time: 15 minutes – Serves: 4

2 medium ripe peaches
1 tablespoon butter
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup vanilla ice cream

Halve peaches and remove pit.

Place butter on a medium skillet over medium heat and melt. Immediately add sugar and stir just three times to combine. Add halved peaches and toss or stir occasionally, until heated through, about three minutes. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Continue to cook sauce until carmelized, about three minutes. Remove from heat.

Carefully drizzle peaches with caramelized sauce. Top with vanilla ice cream and serve immediately.

Fruit Salad with Honey, Mint and Lime Dressing
Time: 10 minutes – Serves: 4

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 3 pound cantaloupe, halved and seeded
1 12-ounce basket strawberries, hulled and halved
4 kiwis, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups seedless grapes

Combine lime juice, honey and mint in large bowl.

Using a melon baller, scoop out cantaloupe. Add all fruit to syrup in bowl; toss to combine.

Let stand 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Spoon fruit into glasses.

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And for the pièce de résistance: French Bread Cheeseburger Served With Corn on the Cob and Sweet Potato Fries
Time: 1 hour – Serves: 4


1 egg
Pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste
1 pound ground beef
3 tablespoons of fine dry breadcrumbs
4 slices of deli sliced cheddar cheese
4 burger buns
Preferred condiments and toppings

Whisk together the egg, salt and black pepper in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl mix the breadcrumbs into the beef using a fork or your hands. Then combine the egg and breadcrumb mixtures together and shape into four burger patties using your hands.

You can either grill or shallow fry your burgers. The cooking time depends on the thickness but for an average size burger it should take six to eight minutes on each side.

Add one cheese slice as soon as you take the burgers off the heat to allow each slice to melt. Serve with your own choice of toppings.

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Corn on the Cob With Chipotle Butter
Serves: 8

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons minced, seeded and canned chipotle chilies
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 large ears of corn, husked

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add minced chipotles, fresh lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low and cook chipotle butter one minute to blend flavors.

Place ears of corn on baking sheet. Brush corn all over with chipotle butter. (Can be prepared four hours in advance. Cover corn and refrigerate.)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill corn until cooked through and blackened in spots, turning frequently, about six minutes. Serve corn with lime wedges.

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Oven Baked Sweet Potatoes
Serves: 4 to 6

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (preferably the easy release kind).

Peel the sweet potatoes. Cut into strips that are about 1/2 inch wide on each side.

Place the sweet potatoes into a sealable plastic bag. Add oil, salt, paprika and cinnamon. Seal the bag and shake well to thoroughly coat the fries. Spread the potatoes out onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

Cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Transfer immediately to a paper towel lined plate and serve warm.

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