We are only midway (barely!) into high picnic season. For this round of options, we decided to chill out with a collection of no-sweat recipes. We are staying away from the creamy salads and those with cheese. Not that cheese is ever a bad idea, but our goal was breezy, cool and refreshing. Also, low effort and low cost.

For our grill, we turned to the less expensive whole cuts of meat, the flatiron and flank steaks, which take less time to cook. Tri-tip is another good option — it simply takes longer to cook. All these meat cuts are economical and go a long way. They take to most any kind of marinade and seasoning. And once grilled, you can slice them into thin pieces.

For salads, we relied on the standards of pasta and coleslaw, but with flavorful oil-based dressings. Both of today's salads are a great match for the Chili-Lime Flank Steak.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad has become a popular dessert for summer potlucks. Everyone knows it's not really a salad, but it warrants that name thanks to the strawberry gelatin layer. But instead of the cake pan version, we like the Food Network's terrine version. It features cream cheese and creamy mascarpone and wins in the make-ahead category.

We couldn't leave out a thirst-quencher. Today's recipe for a Watermelon-Cucumber Vodka Cooler, is, well, super-cool. You can make it with or without the vodka. And if you are not a vodka fan, sub in white sparkling wine.