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Celebrate Summer With These Recipes!

Summer cooking.
Had me a blast.
Summer cooking.
Spring just couldn’t last.

Summer’s a comin’!  Got your pool body ready?  Got your kids’ activities planned out?  Nailed down any summer vacation plans?

For me:

  • My pool body looks a lot like my snow shoveling body.
  • My kids’ activities looks a lot like bike riding and drawing with sidewalk chalk.
  • Our summer vacation plans will be many trips to the Omaha zoo.

These are all things that don’t need a whole lot of planning. But the one area that I will take some time to think about: my menu for the summer!  Many of the meals that I make in the Fall, Winter, and Spring, I also make in Summer.  But I also try to be intentional about doing things a little bit different.

I try to add in more slow cooker meals, meals that are portable, quick and not very heavy.  Why heat the kitchen up when you don’t have to?  Why not eat lunch or dinner in the park as a picnic?  Why not make sure that dinner is quick to leave time for Little League games, pool days and soccer practice?  Why not make sure meals and snacks are lighter to keep that pool-ready body?  Or, at least, to make sure you don’t get sick when you’re swimming at the pool!

All that said, here are some summer-friendly meal ideas!

summer-recipes

 

Slow Cooker
Slow Cookers are awesome!  I know many people have jumped onto the InstaPot wagon, but I haven’t done so yet.  Probably someday, just not yet.  But me and the slow cooker?  We’re friends!  Summer is a great time to whip yours out.  They don’t heat up your kitchen as much.  People may have more flexible schedules (or nannies or older kids at home), allowing them to start up the slow cooker at the right time.

Summer just begs for slow cookers!

  • Sloppy Joes – My kids love these!  I’ll make 2-3 batches at a time, freezing a bunch for future meals.  You can eat sloppy joes on hamburger buns, hotdog buns or even bread.  Personally, I like scooping a big spoonful on top of biscuits!  Light and flaky combined with the sass of sloppy joes!  Give it a try!
  • Pulled Pork –  This recipe is the very definition of simplicity while still being great.  This is another recipe that you make a double batch of and freeze for later as it re-heats really well, saving you lots of time.
  • Chicken Tacos – Mexican Monday at your house?  Fiesta Friday?  Add this to your menu.  It’s just a few ingredients dumped into the slow cooker that makes dinner come together really quickly!
  • Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches – Are you a spicy family?  We’re not, but maybe you are.  Our boys just don’t enjoy buffalo sauce yet.  Someday, they will (if they’re like their parents).  But if your family trends to the spicy side of life, this could be for you.
  • Barbeque (or Buffalo) Chicken Legs – Some like it hot.  Some don’t.  But all like chicken legs!  (Well, most like chicken legs).

Portable
Got a picnic in your future?  Maybe a potluck at school or church or the office?  These recipes are easy to make, but also easy to transport and serve.

  • Easy Potato Salad – This is my favorite potato salad.  I can’t even buy a potato salad that I like half as well!  One of the main reasons that I make something homemade instead of buying it is that you can control the taste.  This one is perfect as written (in my opinion), but if you like mustard, add a little more.  Or more pickles.  Or more mayo.  Or less of any of those.  I’ll make enough for 2-3 meals and get a big return on my time!
  • Watergate Salad – Speaking of a family favorite, this is another one!  It isn’t all that healthy – I mean, hello, whipped topping is the #1 ingredient!  But you do add in some fruit, so that’s gotta count for something, right?  Right.
  • Simple Pasta Salad – This is another one of those “make a bunch and eat on it for a few days” dishes.  Pick your favorite noodle.  Pick your favorite vegetables.  Pick your favorite dressing.  DONE!  Simple as that.
  • Bow Tie Pasta Salad – At first glance, this seems like just another run-of-the-mill pasta salad, but it isn’t.  The dressing makes this divine!  It’s best made the night before, which takes any pressure of the day of the party preparations.  It’s a family favorite!

Quick
Sometimes summer schedules are even more hectic and packed than when school is in session. Soccer practice.  Baseball practice.  Summer camps.  Day trips.  Whatever it is that has your family on the move, maybe one of these dishes will help you pull dinner together quickly?

  • Taco Salad – This is incredibly quick to put together.  Especially if you have ground beef in the freezer and can simple pull out a pound and re-heat it.  Dinner can be on the table in 5 minutes if that’s the case.  We love it!
  • Walking Tacos – In the same vein of taco salad, this is just as quick BUT also really portable.  For those times when you need to/want to/should eat in the car on the way to some other activity.  Kids love it because it’s just fun!
  • French Toast – While we love these French Toast sticks for breakfast, full French Toast slices are great too and a little more grown up.  This is as simple as cracking some eggs, adding milk & spices and dipping the bread.  Cooks up quick!
  • Eggs.  The ultimate in easy dinners.  Try them scrambled.  Or fried.  I usually have hard boiled eggs in the fridge for afternoon snacks.  Fried is my favorite when the egg yolk is just a little bit runny and then served with toast.  Fried egg sandwiches!
  • Sandwiches.  There’s a reason that they’re so popular.  They can be as quick as spreading Peanut Butter & Jelly on 2 slices or, for a few more minutes, you can have a panini, baked grilled cheese, tuna melt or an Italian Baked Hoagie.
  • Ham & Cheese Bake – You don’t have to use ham, you could also use turkey or roast beef.  But with only 3 ingredients, none of which need additional baking time to be ready, this dinner can be hot and on the table in 25 minutes!

Light
Maybe you don’t want a very heavy meal.  Maybe you’ve been outside all day long and are hungry, but you just know that a big meal isn’t going to sit well.  Maybe you’re getting ready to go swimming and don’t want something weighing you down.  A light meal is what’s called for here!

  • Salads!  There are all kinds of salads such as Greek Chopped, Cobb, Pasta Salad, or Caesar Salad.  Take your pick or make your own.
  • Grilled Chicken Wrap – A tortilla, chicken, lettuce, cheese and a dressing of your choice.  Caesar dressing is common, but if that isn’t your style, try buffalo or barbeque sauce.
  • Quiche – Take some eggs, add milk and throw in whatever meats or veggies you have on hand.  Packed with protein while being light and airy!

Jayme is a wife to 1 and a mother to four little boys. She coupons, price matches and meal plans. While she likes to cook, she’s in the stage of life where simple is usually better – she never knows how many hands she’ll have free at dinner time! You can find her at No Regrets Living.

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