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7 Summer Staples We Swear By

Created January 10, 2017
From impromptu picnics to last-minute parties, this is what we keep on hand all summer so we’re ready with the perfect dish at a moment’s notice.
7 summer staples we swear by

Suddenly Salad: If there’s one side every picnic, potluck and outdoor barbecue needs, it’s a pasta salad! We’re suckers for Suddenly Salad because it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and a breeze to customize. Here are three reasons to keep a box (or four) on hand all summer long.

1. Best way to use up veggies hiding in the fridge: Garden Ranch Pasta Salad
2. Smartest way to turn a box into a complete meal: Chicken Parmesan Pasta Salad
3. Easiest way to show off your mad cooking skills: Layered Mexican Party Salad

Graham Cracker Crust: It’s summertime and the living is easy, which means all shortcuts are welcome—especially when it comes to baking. Enter pre-made crusts, the ultimate time savers and party starters. Case in point, these three ideas.

1. Dessert that looks like it takes forever to make but doesn’t: Chocolate Cream Pie
2. Best non-pie way to use a pie crust: Key Lime Pie Cupcakes
3. The fastest pie you’ll ever make: No-Bake Creamy Strawberry Pie

Tortilla Chips: These are a no-brainer. From dips to nachos, there’s always a need for chips. The ones we reach for? Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips. We like them because they’re gluten free, have zero grams trans-fat and are certified Kosher. Also, because they’re killer with these dips.

1. Dip mashup you wish you had thought of yourself: Pesto Hummus
2. Best-looking appetizer with the least amount of effort: Layered California BLT Dip
3. The recipe everyone will demand you share: Easy Cheesy Bean Dip

Brownie Mix: Open, pour, stir and voilà: homemade brownies. It’s hard to argue with the convenience and deliciousness of Betty Crocker Brownie Mix. Especially when you consider all of these amazing things you can use it to make. Brownie pizza, anyone?

1. Unofficially the official brownie of summer: S'mores Brownies
2. Best use of brownie mix outside of brownies: Banana Split Brownie Pizza
3. The “sorry, not sorry I ate them all myself” brownies: Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies 

Panko Crumbs: We love fried food as much as the next person, but we’re not crazy about standing over a fryer in height of summer. Enter Progresso Panko Bread Crumbs, the next best thing for creating that irresistible crunch. Sink your teeth into these ideas.

1. The meal your kids will ask for again and again (and again): Cheddar Bacon Chicken Tenders
2. Crunchiest way to jazz up your farmers’ market haul: Green Bean Bundles
3. Best way to wow a table of hungry people: Ultimate Mac and Cheese

Frozen Fruit: From smoothies to desserts and everything in between, it’s hard to find a reason NOT to keep your freezer stocked with frozen fruit. Our favorite kind to buy? Cascadian Farm frozen fruit, of course! They’ve got everything from peaches and strawberries to blackberries and blueberries. Plus, they are oh-so versatile. 

1. Best reason to get out of bed in the morning: Creamy Peach Smoothies
2. Most clever twist on cheesecake ever: Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
3. Dessert so full of berries it’s practically healthy: Triple-Berry Granola Crisp