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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summertime…and the cookin’ ain’t easy

Summer’s here, bringing with it sunshine, barefeet, lawn furniture, flowers, sundresses, ponytails, strawberries…

…and HEAT, which generally sends my weekly menu plan into a tailspin. When it’s hot, I just can’t stand thinking about cooking over a stove or turning on an oven!

Please share your favorite summertime meals with us! Whether you like them because they’re lighter for eating, don’t require as much time spent slaving in the heat (ovens, stoves, etc), or it’s just something that always reminds you of summer, I want to know about it! And so does everyone else.

Which means summertime has also brought you a bit of homework…get posting! I want to give you all a summertime A+.


  1. 1

    Fire up the GRILL…Summer’s best friend…Chicken, fish, steak, veggies, fruit…endless possibilities for grilling…Without messing up the kitchen.

    Eating outdoors is a major bonus with the kiddos. They can eat on the run and you don’t have to worry about spills and crumbs…Summer it HERE!

  2. 2
    The Bouldins

    This is my current favorite summer lunch dish …

    Couscous Salad

    10 ounces couscous
    6 scallions, trimmed and sliced
    4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
    1 seedless cucumber, sliced into half-moons
    1/2 cup feta, crumbled
    3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
    2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste

    Place the couscous in a large bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over the top. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

    Stir in rest of ingredients.

  3. 3

    I like to do lots of varieties of pitas, wraps and sandwiches. I also inform my husband he is grilling and then I just make some cool sides/salads to go with the meat or fish he grills.

    I sometimes still break out the crock pot in summer. It doesn’t heat up the house like the oven does.

    One of my favorite summer time meals is just lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. I don’t even have to do much to dress them up–a little butter on the corn, cube the watermelon, rinse fresh berries, saute zucchini and yellow squash then top with a little parmesan cheese or butter. Simple and yummy.

  4. 4

    I don’t have a specific summertime meal but I make this Orzo chicken balsamic salad that is just so good!!!

  5. 5

    Click here for my latest favorite that I posted on a food blog I have with some friends. It is an Asian Spinach and Pasta salad and is so yummy!

  6. 6

    One of my favorite summer meals I got from Kristy Taylor. It’s a pasta salad with grapes, cherry tomatoes, mandarin oranges, green onions, slivered almonds, and cubed chicken. I make a vinagrette to go with it, either olive oil, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard (olive oil to vinegar ratio is 2:1), or balsalmic vinegar and olive oil. I also like to make a greek salad, with green leaf lettuce, feta or goat cheese, chicken , tomato, cucumber and orzo pasta. Also served with vinagrette. I’m excited to try the couscous salad!

  7. 7
    Julie B

    Taco Salad

    1 lb. of ground beef, browned (I do it in the morning when it’s not hot.)
    1 head of iceburg lettuce, chopped
    1 can of chickpeas, drained
    1-2 cups of shredded cheese
    2-3 tomatoes, chopped
    2-3 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
    As much red onion as you’d like
    1 bag of taco Dorrito chips
    1 bottle of Spicy Ranch dressing from Hidden Valley

    I mix together everything but the dressing and the chips. (If you don’t eat it all, it won’t get soggy.) When it’s time to eat, everyone puts their own chips and dressing on. My 4 year old thinks that’s great. I can even get her to eat this salad, because it has chips in it! I serve it with Pillsbury crescent rolls sometimes, because that’s what my mom did when we were growing up, but since I am loosing weight by making better lifestyle choices (i.e. I am on a diet.), I usually don’t.

    I have very fond memories of this dish. It was on the weekly menu during the summer when we were growing up.

  8. 8

    We grill a lot. I marinate & my husband grills. It works well. One of our favorites with leftover grilled chicken is a big cobb salad:

    Greens (I like spinach & some kind of lettuce)
    veggies- tomatoes, cucumbers,carrot, red onion, etc.
    blue cheese crumbles (or other cheese)
    bacon crumbles
    sliced leftover grilled chicken
    hard boiled eggs
    dressing of choice

    Everyone can build their own. Sometimes I even make breadsticks to go with (but that heats up the kitchen).

  9. 9

    I just posted a super fast meal that I think I’m gonna rely on a lot- huevos rancheros. Still cooking, but it’s so speedy you can get the heck outta that kitchen fast!

    Other than that I love the sandwiches- caprese, chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, BLT’s. Mediterranean Platter, Bean, Corn and Tortilla Salad. If we didn’t have so much trouble grilling while living in our apartment we would probably do that a whole lot too.

  10. 11

    This is a favorite summer salad recipe for us:


    1 head iceberg lettuce, torn
    6 hard boiled eggs, sliced (we always have hard boiled eggs in the fridge)
    1, 10oz pkg frozen peas, thawed
    1 pound bacon, crisp cooked, drained and crumbled
    2 cups shredded swiss cheese (or whatever cheese your family likes)
    1 cup mayo or salad dressing

    In bottom of large bowl, place 3 cups of the lettuce, sprinkle with a little sugar, salt and pepper. Layer eggs atop lettuce in bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt. Next layer in order, peas, remaining lettuce, bacon, and cheese. Spread mayo over top sealing to edge of bowl. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours or overnight. Garnish with sliced green onions and paprika, if desired. Toss before serving. Makes 12-15 servings.


  11. 12

    My current fave…lasts all week, great for lunches, healthy, throw some chicken and/or some rice into it to turn it into a meal.

    Southwestern Two-Bean Salad

    2 cans (15oz) pinto beans drained & rinsed
    1 can (15oz) black beans drained & rinsed
    1 can (15 oz) corn drained
    1 large red bell pepper chopped
    1/2C. finely chopped red onion
    2 fresh chopped jalapeno peppers
    1/4C. chopped fresh cilantro
    1/2C. white vinegar
    1/4C. vegetable oil
    1Tbs sugar
    2tsp cumin
    1tsp dried oregano
    1/2tsp salt
    1/4tsp black pepper
    splash of lime juice (optional)

    For an extra something special, top with avocado.

  12. 13

    Summertime Pasta Salad

    Tri-colored rotini pasta salad with a bounty of fresh summer vegetables, salami, two different cheeses, and a kicked-up light balsamic vinaigrette.

    Salad Ingredients
    1 16 oz. box tri-colored rotini pasta
    8 oz. light Italian dry salami, diced
    8 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
    1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1 (2.25 oz.) can sliced black olives, drained
    12 oz. whole grape tomatoes
    3 Tbsp. chives, minced
    1 jar (6 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped

    Dressing Ingredients
    8 to12 oz. bottled light balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing (depends on how dressed you like your salad)
    2 Tbps. garlic powder
    1 tsp. white pepper
    1 Tbsp. dried basil
    1 Tbsp. dried oregano

    Topping Ingredients
    ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    1 avocado, diced

    1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse twice in cold water.

    2. While pasta is cooking, whisk together dressing ingredients in separate bowl until well-blended. Set aside.

    3. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, salami, pepper jack cheese, cucumber, red bell pepper, olives, tomatoes, chives, artichoke hearts and dressing. Toss well to evenly distribute the dressing.

    4. Top with diced avocado and parmesan cheese.

    5. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

  13. 14

    We went to the Farmer’s Market and bought every type of fruit we could find. We came home and warmed a jar of raspberry preserves. We had fruit fondue for supper. So yummy with all the fresh fruit. My boys even tried some new fruits. I made some cucumber sandwiches too! It was fun too!

  14. 15
    Jane Maynard

    LOVING these ideas! Thank you! (And definitely keep it coming if you have more!)

  15. 16
    kim & co.

    I do a lot of salads–pasta salads (our favorite is a Tuna Sweet Pea Pasta from Real Simple), salad bar with all the veges and chunks of cheese, lunch meat or leftover chicken, beans, hard boiled eggs, etc. . . (We just put it all on a plate to add seperatly and the kids actually eat a lot of the stuff, just without the greens.)

  16. 17

    We just eat ice cream. All day. Maybe we’ll have some fruits and veggies in there somewhere. Then come fall, we go to the dentist and the gym.

  17. 18

    This is our favorite. My mom is Lynne Snyder and I am Hillary Smith. We live in Provo and Santaquin Utah and Really eat this at least twice a week in the summer. dinner takes as long as it takes to boil a pot of water and noodles. Chopping while the water is doing it’s thing. Add some Sour dough french bread from Costco and you’re good.

    SUMMER PASTA–Lynne Snyder

    The best pasta you will ever eat. I promise.

    4 cups chopped ripe tomatoes (I use Roma tomatoes)
    1 (16 oz.) can black olives, sliced in thirds
    ½ cup chopped fresh basil or 2 Tbs. dried
    2 Tbs. olive oil
    2 Tbs. (or more) balsamic vinegar
    2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
    pepper to taste (use quite a lot of pepper)
    salt (start with ½ tsp. and add if needed)
    Angel hair pasta

    Mix all sauce ingredients together.

    Boil Angel hair pasta 4 to 4½ minutes. Drain pasta, rinse with very hot water and drain again. Serve w/ room temp. sauce.

    This is the very best pasta I have ever tasted.

  18. 19

    i’m fish taco crazy right now. they’re just so light and good in the summer. i pan fry or grill tilapia fillets seasoned with salt and pepper. serve it in a warm corn tortilla with finely shredded cabbage, avocado, and creamy lime cilantro dressing that i make. we love it with corn on the cob.

  19. 20

    A yummy dessert that my mom always made in a flash:
    Strawberry or Raspberry Yogurt pie:
    1 1/4 c. strawberries or raspberries fresh from the farmers market
    3 4oz containers of lite rasp. or strawberry yogurt.
    1 big container cool whip or cool whip lite
    1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust

    Thaw the cool whip then add all ingredients to a bowl and stir it up. Then pour into the pie crust and freeze for about 2-3 hours and serve with more fresh fruit on top and a dollop of whip on top. Yummy. Refreshing and delicious! You can use the filling for popsicles too.

  20. 21

    I love to do grilled corn on the cob in the summertime. I remove most of the husks, leaving only a enough to cover surround the corn in one layer. I peel those back to remove the silks and butter the corn. My favorite thing to do is to add chilli powder, cayanne, salt, and lime juice to the butter. Next I replace the husks and secure with twine, thread, or even floss (whatever you have on hand). You just throw them on the grill with whatever else you’re making and take them off when the husks are mostly black and you have a few char marks on the corn.

    I also love doing shish-kabobs in the summer. This is great for casual entertaining! I just marinate a couple different kinds of meat: beef, chicken, shrimp, whatever. When everyone gets there, I set it out raw, along with all the different fruits and veggies and let people make their own.

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