Forget boring ketchup and mustard. Slather burgers with a spicy mustard-mayo spread by Bobby Flay, chef, restaurateur, media personality, and author of Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes.
Trade store-bought potato chips for a crunchy herbed chip from Dan Smith, chef/owner of Hearty restaurant and Hearty Boys Caterers, Chicago.
Don't stress about the sides -- create a simple grilled potato toss from Scott Peacock, our contributing American Classics chef.
Make time to chill with chocolate-covered ice cream pops by Gale Gand, executive pastry chef, Tru restaurant, Chicago. They whip up fast -- and put a sweet spin on any get together.
For another sweet treat, try Gand's Easy Bananas Foster, which you can whip up in your Slow Cooker in minutes. Or toss chunks of strawberries with a little brown sugar. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes for a luscious strawberry sauce for ice cream or pound cake.
Grill pizza for brunch. Ina Pinkney, chef/owner of Ina's restaurant in Chicago, has a simple recipe that takes just minutes to put together.
Take gin and tonic to the next level with a crisp Cucumber Tonic from Chad Ellegood, wine director of Tru restaurant in Chicago.
Put a little sizzle in your ceviche with this fun idea from
Banish boring chicken, pork chops, and ribs with a saltysweet sauce. This easy idea from Stephanie Izard, Top Chef season 4 winner and executive chef/partner of Chicago's Girl & the Goat, whips up from four ingredients.
Another way to cool off? Sip an Indian-inspired mango drink called Lassi Come Home from Isabella Gerasole, teen cook and co-author of The Spatulatta Cookbook, spatulattacom
Instead of going the traditional route, try a kicked-up version of pigs-in-a-blanket by Doug Sohn, chef/owner, Hot Doug's of the Sausage Superstore, Chicago.
Spice up traditional S'Mores by replacing the bar chocolate with a spicy chocolate sauce suggests Dan Smith, co-author with Steve McDonagh of Talk with Your Mouth Full, and chef/owner of Hearty restaurant and Hearty Boys Caterers in Chicago.