Summer-fy Your Favorite Comfort Foods

Do you miss heaping bowls of chili and melty, cheesy casseroles when summer's lighter meals take center stage? We extracted the flavors from the top 10 wintry comfort foods and turned the dishes into picnic-ready, barbecue-perfect fare. So you can have your comfort, and sunshine, too.

Loaded Baked-Potato Salad

Loaded taters are the sort of greasy, finger-licking food you might hunker down and devour in a dimly lit bar on the coldest of days. But baked potatoes show their sunnier side when tossed with crispy bacon and cubes of sharp cheddar in a tangy sour-cream dressing. We assure you this addictive salad will become the greatest (endlessly replayed) hit of your summer barbecues.

Get the Recipe: Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Pecan Pie Parfait

As the weather warms, dense, nutty desserts make way for jewel-toned, fruity favorites like crumbles and summer pies. But we think you should buck tradition and embrace the dark side of summer sweets: Bake pie crust into sugary shards, simmer pecans into a thick, buttery sauce and whip bourbon into a frothy peak for an ice cream sundae that tastes like Thanksgiving in July.

Get the Recipe: Pecan Pie Parfait

Spicy 3-Bean Chili Salad

There's something about the way a big bowl of chili warms you with its saturated flavors that personifies wintertime. Give a trio of chilled beans and crisp veggies similar depth with this recipe's magical tomato paste- and spice-infused oil. Finish with a dollop of sour cream to cut some of the heat and to turn this cookout salad into a deconstructed version of the Dutch-oven classic.

Get the Recipe: Spicy 3-Bean Chili Salad

Chicken Pot Pie Salad Sandwiches

What makes this more than an ordinary chicken salad sandwich? Its carrots and meat are first cooked in a buttery herb-and-wine sauce before being mixed with traditional mayo. This step gives the ingredients the tender texture and creamy flavor you might find inside a pot pie, and the biscuit sandwich halves epitomize that salty, flaky crust. Crunchy snap peas and celery keep the sandwich feeling fresh and summery.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie Salad Sandwiches

Green-Apple Pie Ice Cream Sandwich

Elevate a classic warm-weather treat –– and borrow fall's favorite flavors –– by adding cinnamon-kissed, sauteed apples to store-bought vanilla ice cream. Sandwich the mixture between two lightly sweet cookies for an inverted take on apple pie a la mode (because, really, is there any other way to serve the all-American pie?). 

Get the Recipe: Green-Apple Pie Ice Cream Sandwich

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Stacks of garlic-oil-coated eggplant and tomato are grilled and topped with Parmesan, basil and mozzarella for a summery take on the Italian casserole. Serve with grilled hunks of bread to more closely mimic the flavor of the fried original, and so you have a vessel for scooping up the truly fork-tender veggies –– you may not need a knife.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Meatloaf Kebabs with Grilled Potato Salad

Tenderer than hamburger meat, yet durable against the grates of the grill, these sausage-shaped loaves taste exactly like the comforting wintry dish, thanks to Italian breadcrumbs, onions, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Serve the kebabs with potatoes, as you might in the wintertime, but give the spuds a summery spin by lightly dressing and then grilling them.

Get the Recipe: Meatloaf Kebabs with Grilled Potato Salad

Frozen Hot-Chocolate Slush

We've transformed the classic winter warm-up beverage into your new favorite cool-down treat. This slush is intensely chocolate-flavored and quite creamy, yet light on the tongue. A spoonful of whipped cream and mini marshmallows make it truly evocative of the fireside mug. You can make it ahead of time and then freeze and store the chocolate cubes for up to 2 weeks.

Get the Recipe: Frozen Hot Chocolate Slush

Meatball and Fusilli Pasta Salad

All the ingredients of that red sauce-soaked seductress, spaghetti and meatballs, are popular (and fresh!) in the summertime: noodles, tomatoes, fresh herbs, meat. So we grilled skewers of Pecorino-and-pork meatballs, tossed them with twisty fusilli, mozzarella and basil, and lightly dressed the pasta salad with a garlicky "sauce" of red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Same great flavors, made backyard-ready.

Get the Recipe: Meatball and Fusilli Pasta Salad

Beef Stroganoff Sandwich

Serve Worcestershire-marinated skirt steak atop grilled bread slices with mushrooms, onions and a mustard-sour cream sauce for an open-faced sandwich that's reminiscent of the creamy meat-and-pasta classic.

Get the Recipe: Beef Stroganoff Sandwich