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What do you really need on hand for quick, easy summer dinners? Here’s our go-to list — it’s a combo of veggies that turn into meals in a snap, seasonings that make everything a little more summery, and starches that help round out whatever you’ve got on hand (ideally without heating up the house too much).
Summer squash: It wouldn’t be summer without a ridiculous oversupply of summer squash. Shred it into noodles and add to pasta, grate it into quick breads, slice it thin and serve as a light appetizer with a dressing or on top of a flatbread, or layer in a skillet with thinly sliced potatoes and bake as a gratin.
Chili powder: Pick your favorite chile, or the best blend you can find. Stir it into mayo for a speedy dipping sauce, add it to dry rubs, or dust it over grilled corn — we think it’s summer’s indispensable seasoning.
Pizza dough: Keep pizza dough in your freezer for quick, easy flatbreads, cooked either on the grill or in the oven. Add your favorite sauce-and-cheese combo, or top it off with cooked vegetables.
Check out the full gallery of all-star summer ingredients and our favorite ways to use them.
Rupa Bhattacharya is a Food and Beverage Editor in Food Network Kitchen.