I am looking for some quick and easy, low cost, light summer meals. My husband works nights and needs something easy to eat. I hate cooking and since I am home in the summers, it falls to me to put dinners together. Fall and winter dinners are easy, it's the summer ones that are hard. Last might we had Taco Bell. Any ideas besides tacos?! Thanks a bunch!
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A family favorite for us is tuna-macaroni salad. Mix drained (canned) tuna and cooked and drained macaroni. Moisten with mayonnaise. We like to add chopped or grated carrot, chopped onion, sliced olives, fresh sweet pepper, etc.
You could vary this with other meats, and other dressings.
My husband loves a tomato stuffed with tuna salad.
I LOVE gazpacho--a cold soup with V-8 for the base (I prefer the spicy stuff), with chopped veggies added. I like cucumber, onion, corn, peppers, carrot, etc. (Most folks like tomato added; oddly, I do not...!) Serve with some hearty bread with cheese melted on top.
I like the boneless, skinless chicken breasts done on the grill; with grilled vegetables on the side (no heat in the kitchen). I just put sliced veggies in a recycled aluminum foil pan with a bit of butter/margarine/or oil and seasonings to taste; cover it with foil, and grill it about 15 minutes before putting the chicken on--then finish them together.
Even in the summer; the crock pot is a friend. (If you are worried it might warm your kitchen, put it in a room where you can keep a window open, such as a screened porch.)
I always cook twice the meat if I am heating the grill. Leftovers make good "wraps" or salads the next day.
Truly, the crockpot is the best summer helper ! Take advantage of summer sales on lean cuts of meat (assorted pork chop family packs, London broils, roasts) remove the fat caps or trimmings, and place generous amount of meat in crockpot along w/ quartered onion slices and favorite barbeque sauce. cook all day. Pull meat apart w/ 2 forks. Excellent in tortillas w/ shredded lettuce, a sprinke of chese and sour cream if you like. Freezer bag remainder in portions of the size serving your family. Served w/ fresh corn on the cob, a plate of sliced chilled melon or fruit or green salad, it's a winner that costs little and is easy to do. The next time you serve it, vary the meal by reheating it and serving it on buns, along with a fruit smoothie, perhaps, and crunchy blanched snowpeas. For special meals, buy a whole beef tenderlon on sale (usually about 5.99-6.99 lb) which sounds expensive) it will yield well over a dozen substantial portions at a cost of about 35.00 total. There is little waste, once cut. Some small pieces will be left over, which you can use in a freezer bag to save for fall soups or stews. When have you ever seen filet mignon on a menu for 3.00? Great for brunch or dinner, cooks quickly, tastes like heaven, On the other end of the scale, canned salmon, a great buy for under 2.00, will even out your budget. remove the bones and skin (easy to do; they are together) and mix with a bit of mayo, ranch dressing and plain yogurt. Add frozen peas, a bit of finely diced onion, a squirt of lemon juice (or sprinke with lemon pepper) and serve cold atop mesclun salad mix...or, cover with potato flakes and fry. Again, serve w/ cold side dishes, then; perhaps a cucumber-onion salad and sliced fresh tomatoes. Pasta salads are always a good offering, and as easy as your imagination: combine whatever meat you have with whatever pasta you like, with whatever vegetables are available and fresh and not too labor-intensive, and add your favorite dressing! Chilled fruit soups are easy to make in a blender (see any number of recipes in a search) and then served with cubed cheese and crusty rolls, make a satisfying meal. Summer is hot. Life is short. Dinner should be easy, fun, inexpensive, and good.
salads with meat like taco salad, grilled chicken salad, chef salad. you can get a baked chicken from the deli and make chicken sandwiches one day and a salad with chicken the next.
some people like cold soups (i'm not on of them) and jello salads with chopped veggies are good. you can get already shredded cabbage. not as good as fresh but works in a pinch. take lemon jello and shredded cabbage and a dollop of miracle whip and make a molded salad. of course carrot/sunshine salad is a given!
don't forget you can add fresh fruits, berries and nuts to salads for a huge variety of flavors and nutrients. boiled eggs are nutritious and left overs make deviled eggs.
eggs, beans and cheese make good protein sources in hot weather. they aren't as hard on the digestion in hot weather as heavy meats.
homemade salad dressing with healthy fats makes calorie density for the salads. good luck
Use a grill...a lot! We put pizza on it even. Coals around the outside so it's not over direct heat. Heat until cheese is melted. I use the pita bread for the crust, or you could do a frozen pizza. I also fix extra chicken on the grill and use in a lettuce salad for a light meal. Taco salads are also very good. You do need to fix the meat, but that doesn't take long to throw together. And the salad is so good served with tortilla chips. How about BLT's?
We love salad in the summer, and it can be super-easy to fix and totally filling too!!
Our favorite is Boston lettuce, and I use cherry tomatoes cut in half. I also used boiled eggs, shredded carrots, and shredded cheese. And the BEST add-on is fried chicken diced up, skin/crust and all. GREAT way to use leftovers and I toss with a sweet/sour dressing like Catalina and even my kids eat this up till there's nothing left.
Hey, Jilson! How about sharing your gazpacho recipe?
We like cool meals, and you can only eat so many salads. Tonight we're having a banana and yogurt smoothie and a sandwich. Five minutes in a kitchen and no extra heat!
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper blend
1 8 ounce package pasteurized process cheese spread, diced
2 tablespoons milk
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 sandwich buns
In a large skillet, brown ground beef and garlic pepper blend until
thoroughly cooked. Drain.
In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart crockpot, combine cooked ground beef and all
remaining ingredients except buns; mix well. Cover; cook on low setting
for 6 to 7 hours.
To serve: spoon mixture onto sandwich buns.
Creamy Italian Chicken Crockpot
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter, melted
8 oz. container cream cheese and chives, softened
1-10 oz. can condensed golden cream of mushroom soup
1-0.7 oz. pkg. Italian dressing mix (or homemade Italian salad
dressing mix plus 1/2 cup water)
Cut chicken breasts into strips and place into a 3-4 quart crockpot.
In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, softened cream cheese,
soup, Italian dressing mix and water and stir until blended. Pour
over chicken in crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir
well, then serve over hot cooked pasta or rice. Serves 4-6
Crockpot Lemon Chicken
Lemon and chicken are wonderful partners. Try this excellent crockpot recipe and serve it over hot rice or noodles to soak up all the sauce.
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. catsup
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
Mix flour with salt and pepper in shallow dish. Coat chicken pieces in this mixture. Shake off excess and brown in olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Remove chicken and place in a 3-4 quart crockpot.
Mix the vinegar, catsup, brown sugar and lemonade concentrate in small bowl and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours. When ready to serve, remove the chicken to a warm platter and cover. Combine cornstarch and water in small bowl, mix well and stir into the sauce. Cook on HIGH for 20-30 minutes until thickened. Serve with chicken and hot rice. 4 servings
My family likes Chicken Quesadillas. There is a very quick, easy recipe on the back of Campbell's Pepperjack soup. We don't use the oven, just put them in a frying pan to brown the tortilla bread.
I cook on the bbq grill, the electric frying pan and the electric stockpot in the back yard. Keeps the kitchen from heating up.
All the recipes are great, and what we have done was cook dinner early in the day (kitchen faces west) or cook late at night for the following day in big batches. My MIL came to visit right when the big heat wave came (in Oregon) and we do not have AC, just a swamp cooler. We do a lot of Basque/Cuban cooking, so it simmers and cooks itself. My little ones had chicken strips also, which we heated in the toaster oven, or sandwiches and fruit. Eat more raw fruits and veggies with your meals, as that adds water to hydrate and bananas add potasium which your body loses during heavy work.
PS: Taco Bell uses Grade D meat....I would stick to Pizza if all else fails!
Sorry, almost forgot. Stock up on deli cooked chicken/meats (you can freeze some) and use those for quick meals. Rotisserie chicken is great for quick salad, fajitas, on pizza or as is. Tyson makes a sealed precooked one that is easy to throw in the freezer. And I think Winco makes the best BBQ one, and they all cost the same as buying the whole chicken yourself (actually cheaper if you count seasoning, time and cleaning!) We also stock up on their deli-style pizzas for $3 each. If you have a Figaro's Pizza (we have one in McMinnville) they have Lasagna take-n-bake 2 for $10 on Wednesdays, which are big enough for at least 2-3 people. THey last for a week in the fridge or can go in the freezer. DELICIOUS!
I like to grill up some chicken breasts, my kids then make chicken sandwiches. I also make extra that way they have leftovers for lunch the next day while I'm at work.
However, I prefer wraps. Cut up your chicken, add cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and ranch dressing. Wrap up (I use burritto shells) and enjoy. I could eat these every night!!!
Some of my favorite summer meals are salad variations. I eat them so often it is best to make a large, covered bowl of greens, onions, carrots and such, and keep it in the fridge. When I want a salad I just dig out a platter full and add tomatoes, peppers, cheese, olives, meat, and dressing, and dinner is served! I usually use bleu cheese dressing but some things work better with other dressings. One of these is a salad topped with flaked red sockeye salmon; I love them with Catalina dressing.
A great, easy bread to go with salads is Parmesan cheese / garlic toast. Just put some crushed garlic in olive oil and heat until it starts to brown, then brush the oil (garlic and all) on the cut side of split French bread. Sprinkle liberally with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and broil until beginning to brown.
Sandwiches are handy and some of them are great during the summer months. Grilled cheddar and tomato on sourdough bread is nice, and cream cheese & olive on pita or sourdough works well. For the latter I mix cream cheese, mayo, and chopped green olives into a thick spread. These are good with nothing else, or with sliced fresh garden tomatoes and sliced Vidalia onion slices.
1 piece of foil Fish any type fresh or frozen,layer over a bed of greens (spinach or mustard or swiss chard,etc ) season as you like and pour 1/2 stick melted butter over fish,close tightly bake for 20 -25 mins, serve with any side baked potato, rice , green salad, rolls
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