As the summer rolls in, it’s the perfect time to shake things up in the kitchen with some fresh and exciting dishes. This list is not just about good food—it’s about dishes that surprise you with ingredients you might not expect. These recipes focus on giving a twist to what you might consider typical summer fare, upgrading your dining experience while keeping things light and health-focused.

Copycat Maggiano Sausage & Peppers on a white plate.
Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken in a bowl with a bowl of rice in the background.
Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Think about digging into a dish that brings a touch of Panda Express home with its bold flavors and spicy kick. Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken is perfect for those who love a mix of savory chicken and that heat. It makes any summer meal more exciting.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

Diner Style Salisbury Steak

A plate of Salisbury steak with gravy on mashed potatoes, and a side of peas on a white square dish.
Diner Style Salisbury Steak. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Drawing inspiration from a classic diner favorite, this Diner Style Salisbury Steak brings juicy, savory goodness to your plate. It pairs wonderfully with summer sides like mashed potatoes or garden veggies. It turns an ordinary dinner into a comfort food feast that’s both nostalgic and deeply satisfying.
Get the Recipe: Diner Style Salisbury Steak

Copycat HelloFresh Crispy Shallot Pork Croquettes

Copycat HelloFresh Crispy Shallot Croquettes on a white plate with tomatoes and broccoli.
Copycat HelloFresh Crispy Shallot Pork Croquettes. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Bite into the crispy exterior of these Copycat HelloFresh Crispy Shallot Pork Croquettes. These will give you a flavor-packed experience that replicates HelloFresh’s popular recipe. They’re ideal for a summer get-together where easy-to-eat, delicious snacks are appreciated.
Get the Recipe: Copycat HelloFresh Crispy Shallot Pork Croquettes

Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo

A bowl of olive garden creamy shrimp alfredo pasta served in a black bowl with a spoon.
Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Treat yourself to the rich, creamy embrace of Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo. It is a mouthwatering pasta dish that combines tender shrimp with a luxurious sauce. It’s a summer dinner that feels like a decadent outing while being relaxed enough to enjoy at home on any weeknight.
Get the Recipe: Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo

Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins

Two bowls of Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins.
Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

The homestyle comfort of Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins brings back memories of family gatherings. It has soft dumplings and tender chicken swimming in a hearty broth. It is a perfect dish to soothe the soul during a laid-back summer evening.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplins

Firehouse NY Steamer Sandwich

An open-face NY Steamer sub copycat on a plate with Italian dressing.
Firehouse NY Steamer Sandwich. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Packed with flavorful meats topped with delicious deli dressing, Firehouse NY Steamer Sandwich from Firehouse subs offers a quick, satisfying meal. It hits all the right notes on a busy summer day, capturing the essence of New York deli right in your kitchen.
Get the Recipe: Firehouse NY Steamer Sandwich

Copycat Il Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka

A hand holding a fork over a bowl of Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka on a wooden table.
Copycat Il Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Bring a bit of Italian flair to your dining table with this Copycat Il Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka. It has pasta in a rich and creamy vodka sauce that is surprisingly simple to whip up. It is amazing for those balmy evenings when you crave something a little fancier but still comforting.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Il Fornaio Rigatoni Alla Vodka

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Pasta e Fagioli Soup in 2 bowls with spoons.
Pasta e Fagioli Soup. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

This irresistible soup combines veggies and mix-ins in a savory broth. Pasta e Fagioli Soup offers a taste of rustic Italian cuisine that’s both nourishing and filling. It is perfect for cooler summer nights or rainy days when you want something warm but not too heavy.
Get the Recipe: Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Copycat Cracker Barrel Baby Carrots

A bowl of Copycat Cracker Barrel Baby Carrots in a bowl.
Copycat Cracker Barrel Baby Carrots. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Serve the sweet, buttery flavor of Copycat Cracker Barrel Baby Carrots on your summer table. It is a simple side dish that complements just about any main. It shows that sometimes, the simplest dishes are the most beloved, especially when they add a splash of color to your meal.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Cracker Barrel Baby Carrots

Zuppa Toscana Soup

Low Carb Zuppa Toscana Soup in a white round bowl with small handles.
Zuppa Toscana Soup. Photo credit: Keto Cooking Wins.

Experience the rich flavors of Tuscany with this creamy soup. Zuppa Toscana Soup is filled with amazing ingredients in a savory broth. It is a great starter to any meal or as a light supper on its own, especially when paired with a crisp side salad during the summer months.
Get the Recipe: Zuppa Toscana Soup

Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp

A plate of Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp served on a white rectangular dish.
Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Set your palate on fire with the sweet and creamy taste of Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp. It is a popular Panda Express dish that combines crispy shrimp with a honey sauce and candied walnuts. It has a pleasurable contrast of textures and flavors, ideal for a summer gathering.
Get the Recipe: Copycat Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp

Panera Bread Mexican Street Corn Soup

Mexican Street Corn Salad in a bowl.
Panera Bread Mexican Street Corn Soup. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Enjoy the vibrant flavors of Panera Bread Mexican Street Corn Soup. It blends sweet corn with a hint of spice and rich creaminess. It is perfect for a refreshing lunch or dinner that’s both light and satisfying during the hot summer months. It will impress even the pickiest eaters.
Get the Recipe: Panera Bread Mexican Street Corn Soup

Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers

A plate of Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers sprinkled with chopped herbs.
Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers. Photo credit: Dinner By Heather.

Have the special blend of Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers right at home with this recipe. It is a replica of a well-known dish that’s amazing for the summer season. It will bring a different yet comforting taste to your backyard barbecues and family dinners. What’s not to love?
Get the Recipe: Copycat Maggiano’s Little Italy Sausage & Peppers

Texas Roadhouse Chili Copycat Recipe

A bowl of Texas roadhouse chili with jalapenos and beans.
Texas Roadhouse Chili Copycat Recipe. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Recreate the deep, bold flavor of this Texas Roadhouse Chili Copycat Recipe. It has a hearty mix of meats and spices, a staple that’s best for summer cookouts or as a filling dish on its own. It shows that chili isn’t just a winter comfort food but a year-round favorite.
Get the Recipe: Texas Roadhouse Chili Copycat Recipe

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Two Chicken Gnocchi Soup copycat soup recipes on a table.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup. Photo credit: Cook What You Love.

Dip your spoon into the creamy, comforting bowl of Chicken Gnocchi Soup. It puts together pillowy gnocchi, tender chicken, and rich broth, making it a filling meal. It is ideal for those cooler summer evenings when you want something a bit heartier but still gentle on the palate.
Get the Recipe: Chicken Gnocchi Soup

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