In the winter everyone is all about slow-cooking, braising, and things that simmer away for hours with the promise of hearty food at the end. But now we’re heading into the season of “I don’t want to heat up the kitchen with the oven.”

One clever way to approach cooking in the warmer weather is to amass a little arsenal of vinaigrettes, sauces, and dressings. These can do double duty as a marinade, turn a very simply grilled or broiled piece of fish or meat into something fabulous, and just make your life very easy in general. And of course this is salad season, and changing up the dressing makes it a lot more interesting from day to day.

Having said all of that, let us add: five ingredients or less! 15 minutes! We know, it’s awesome! We will say right here, right now, that we didn’t count salt and pepper if that pushed the number of ingredients over the limit. We admit that once or twice we’ve gotten into the express line in the supermarket and feigned surprise that we had 11 items in our carts, but in this case we really made a conscious decision that salt and pepper are like air and water–basic necessities. So toss, drizzle, dollop, nap, ladle and dunk away.

Nut-Free Basil Pesto with Pecorino Romano A simple go-to recipe for pesto means you can add spark to everything from pasta to crostini to eggs to rice to grilled meats so easily.   And nothing smells or tastes more summery than fresh basil!

Sriracha Mayo  This spicy 5-ingredient sauce is amazing on burgers, sandwiches or as a dip for vegetables or cooked shrimp.  It’s also the perfect condiment for fried fish and seafood.  You could stir in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon honey if you want a touch of sweetness.

Basic Vinaigrette Knowing how to make a fast, excellent salad dressing is a serious life skill, and one that will make you a MVG (Most Valuable Guest).

Pizza Sauce Whether you use this sauce with homemade or store-bought pizza dough, or make pita or English Muffin Pizzas, this fresh tasting sauce will bring your pizza to another level.

Creamy Goat Cheese Dressing This is tangier than ranch, with a bit more presence.  It’s great for a salad with robust vegetables and flavorful lettuces.