Cool Summer Recipe Ideas

Category Main Dishes
This page contains cool summer recipe ideas. The heat of summer calls for cool summer meals.


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July 4, 2004

What are your favorite summer cooler recipes?

Strawberry Lemonade

Take 1 pint fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 can lemonade concentrate
1 cups water
1 tray ice cubes

Put all of these in the blender
Blend until all ingredients are well blended.

Can be served with a strawberry sliced 1/2 way through and fit to rim of the glass.



(Originally published in 2001)


July 9, 20010 found this helpful

Steep 4 teabags (I use Lipton since you get more from them - if using other brands I would use 6 teabags)

1 (12 oz) can Welch's 'White Grape/Raspberry' frozen juice

After tea bags are steeped - add juice mix and tea together in a 64 oz glass jar or any pitcher container and fill the rest with water. There is enough sugar in the Welch's drink mix that you don't have to add any addt'l sugar. Very tasty and thirst quenching.


Note: Welch's also has a variety of other flavors that you might like to substitute and try. - Linda Martin - Roseville, MI

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July 9, 20010 found this helpful

My mother-in-law makes this and everyone (great-grandpa down to little kids) raves about it.

Mix together any assortment of diced fruit that you like: pineapple, peaches, pears, grapes, apples, peaches, strawberries, etc.

Place 1/2 to 3/4 cup in small freezable bowls with lids. Freeze several hours; serve frozen.

Couldn't be simpler and good for you! - Jennifer Raffety

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July 9, 20010 found this helpful

Mix all ingredients together in a blender:
2 c. watermelon (puree)


3 eggs
4 c. milk
1 c. sugar
Dash of salt
Use ice cream freezer.
Makes 1/2 gal. - Nelrene

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July 11, 20010 found this helpful

Use the juice of 6-8 lemons
About 1/2-1 cup of brown sugar (to your taste)
A liter of sparkling water
A pinch or two of ginger
And a sprig of mint & you have a great summer treat!

- Alekscat the frugal feline in Richmond, VA

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July 12, 20010 found this helpful

I LOVE pasta salad during the hot NY summers!

Here's my simple "recipe" (I never measure anything, just toss it all in):

-any cooked pasta (curly type works best, I would avoid spaghetti/noodle type ones), rinsed in cool water
-cut up pepperoni or ham
-cut up cubes of cheddar cheese or shredded cheese of choice


-brocolli florets or carrot medallions or frozen peas (basically, any veggie of choice)

Throw in a bowl. Pour on some bottled italian dressing (any flavor or fat level or brand) until moistened but not soaked.

Chill in frig briefly. Serve with some hearty bread on the side.

yummy and easy! -Connie

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July 16, 20010 found this helpful

My Mom makes an unbelieveably good dressing out of Miracle whip type salad dressing, vinegar & some spices.

Skip the vinegar add milk & fruit juice to nuts raisins, citrus, pears, & apples for fruit salad.

Leave it in for coleslaw [to die for!] add mustard for potato, pasta or egg salad.

MY favorite pasta salad, pasta is the colored kind & we throw any cold meat in & even chunks of velveeta or any other cheese for a whole meal salad. I told her she should sell it but she won't listen. - Linne Dodds

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July 17, 20010 found this helpful

Cut up some fresh fruit. Add sugar (to your taste) to a carton of plain yogurt.


Mix well. Next add the yogurt to fruit. Great salad! - Elaine

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July 17, 20010 found this helpful

Instead of adding sugar to plain yogurt, I use vanilla yogurt with cut up fresh fruit. Sometimes I put in a flavored yogurt if it will compliment the fruit.
- Margaret

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By Tawnda (Guest Post)
July 6, 20040 found this helpful

Pasta Salad

Corkscrew pasta (cooked and drained)
1 bottle of italian salad dressing (add to your taste and texture)
shredded cheddar cheese (approx. 1 c.)
1 can of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed, do not cook)
1-2 tsp. garlic powder
1-2 tsp. garlic salt
1-2 tsp. granulated onion
diced onion or chopped green onion
sliced black olives (optional)
1 tsp. black pepper
1 rope of kielbasa sausage (uncooked and diced)


1 can of drained corn (or less if you don't want too much)

Quick, easy and perfect for picnics, summer meals, etc.

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By Tawnda (Guest Post)
July 6, 20040 found this helpful

Easy Homemade Salsa

2-28 oz. cans of diced, stewed tomatoes (save juice)
1 can of mushrooms drained and chopped
1 onion diced
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tsp. granulated onion
add cayenne pepper to your taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 bell pepper, diced (optional)
fresh cilantro, chopped (or put into food processor)

Other items I have added for a more chunky salsa:
1 can of drained corn
1 can of red kidney beans

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By Tawnda (Guest Post)
July 6, 20040 found this helpful

Easy Coleslaw

**All measurements may vary depending on size of heads of cabbage and according to your tastes.

Using your food processor, chop up one head of green cabbage and a half or quarter head of purple cabbage (most produce depts. already have them cut and wrapped so that you don't have to buy a whole head, if they don't it doesn't hurt to ask).

Add 1 c. (more or less depending on size of head of cabbage) Best Food's Mayonnaise

1/2 onion diced or chopped in food processor

2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tsp. granulated onion
1 tsp. cayenne powder (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp. vinegar (regular or cider is fine and you can add more or less depending on your tastes. You can also substitute with lemon juice if you just can't handle vinegar, but you don't hardly taste it anyway. But it DOES make a difference in the overall taste)

Add approx. 3-4 Tbsp. sugar or Splenda to sweeten it up.

Combine in one large mixing bowl and let sit in refrigerator at least a half an hour. You can add about 1/4 c. milk if you like it to have more juice.
Add more ingredients if it is too sweet or too sour or too salty. All can be adjusted by adding more of another ingredient.

Even those who hate coleslaw beg for mine! All five of my kids eat it like crazy and will take seconds and thirds as long as there is more there! We never have leftovers!

We have even added those tiny salad shrimp from a can (drained and rinsed well) and it is wonderful!

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Answer this Question...

I'm looking for easy recipes for the summer. I'm wanting cold things, but not salads, as I have tons of those recipes already. Can anybody give me some suggestions?
Oh and they have to be for only one or two people.

By Cricket from Parkton, NC


April 5, 20100 found this helpful

Smoothies are healthy and can be made and kept in the fridge. Take one banana, one cup of milk, or half milk and half water, one teaspoon sugar and one teaspoon lemon juice so that it doesn't change color, and blend well.

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April 5, 20100 found this helpful

You can make ice tea, water melon juice, passion fruit juice, or simple drinks like adding a slice of lemon to a glass of water.

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April 5, 20100 found this helpful

Make simple sandwiches like chicken and mayo. Canned beans, toasted sandwiches, onion and tuna sandwiches, boiled eggs, sliced tomato, cucumber and lettuce. Saute some summer veggies and couscous with some pumpkin seeds and drizzle olive oil.

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April 5, 20100 found this helpful

First, consider gazpacho, shrimp salads - wonderfully cool, tangy, and light yet not too light. Adding avocado to meals really helps cool things down a bit, too.

For summer kitchen heat: Crock pots. That way you can also spend more time doing fun things and less time getting overheated. My kitchen fan doesn't work so I understand not wanting to stand over pots or in front of ovens. (And I live on the Gulf coast in Texas, too!) They're a good way of getting the hot meals without the hot cook.

But true summer survival, for me, depends on cold or cool snacks. I can't live without my frozen fruit in the summer. I freeze washed grapes on the vine - just pluck them off and eat them. They're wonderful. Green and red seem to do best - seedless. Also I buy bags of frozen strawberries, blueberries, etc. I don't usually do smoothies. If I do, I use individual jello tubs instead of a dairy product to make them fluffy but not dairy or heavy. They also add extra tang.

What I DO more often use the fruit for is just eating with some yogurt. It freezes the yogurt making a sort of ice cream-frozen yogurt that cools you from the core out. Put those in your drinks, too. The juices come out more because the structure of the fruit is weakened a bit by freezing - which is perfect. The juice pours into the liquid. My boyfriend makes drinks with orange juice, ginger ale, and fruit juices - just whatever's on sale, and throws a few pieces of frozen fruit in (after mashing slightly) for a treat at the bottom. (Yes, I'm spoiled!)

Hope these ideas help. :)

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April 6, 20101 found this helpful

Not sure how much the two of you eat at a meal. I can only eat one of these at a time but my neighbor friend can eat three or four ;-) Simply reduce the ingredient amounts if need be :-) This recipe makes six wraps :-)

Antipasto Wraps

6 slices deli ham
6 slices deli turkey
6 slices provolone cheese
1 jar (6-1/2 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts (Cara Mia is my favorite), drained and sliced
1/2 cup pitted chopped black olives
1/2 cup pitted chopped green olives
6 roasted sweet red peppers, drained and cut into 1-inch strips
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
6 (8 inch) tomato basil tortillas
3/4 cup red wine vinaigrette (recipe below if you prefer homemade)
6 romaine heart leaves

Layer the first eight ingredients on to each tortilla. Drizzle each with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Top with romaine, roll up and serve.

Makes two cups so there will be enough leftover for salads ;-)

1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1 1/2 cups olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in a cruet or glass jar with a screw-on lid. Tighten lid and shake vigorously before serving.

By Deeli from Richland, WA

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Answer this Question...

June 4, 2013

Summer is a great time to make salads. Not only are there lots of fresh veggies available, but there is the added benefit of not having to heat up the kitchen cooking, if you serve salad as the main course.

Woman Sprinkling Herbs on Her Summer Salad

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

April 2, 2010

Since the heat of summer has set in, I don't like to use my oven as it heats up my whole house. I need some quick and easy (if possible) no bake or stove-top recipes for supper. Thanks so much.

Jeannine from Jackson, MS


Cool Summer Recipes

Slowcooker French Dip Sandwich

Put all in slowcooker. Cook "slow" 8 to 10 hours or "high" 4 to 6 hours.
If gravy is too thin mix cornstarch with some of gravy. Heat until thickened.
Slice thin and serve on French bread or French rolls. (06/15/2007)

By Mythi

Cool Summer Recipes

Apple Chicken Salad Recipe

This simple, but tasty salad combines cooked chicken breast, apples, celery, carrots, and sweet onion with ranch dressing. The apples give a sweet crunch and a perfect offset to the tanginess of the ranch dressing. Use as a topper for lettuce greens or as a sandwich filler. Kids love this salad.

Gently toss chicken breast, apple, celery, sweet onions, carrot, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, salt, and pepper until well-combined. Serve with salad greens and tomatoes or as a filler for sandwiches.
Yield: 4 servings (06/15/2007)

By Mythi

Cool Summer Recipes

Think cold soups and crisp salads of all sorts, for a change. The Imagine boxed veggie soups at Whole Foods Health food store here are just great cold, with croutons or Pepperidge Farms crackers floating on top.

Also, keep plenty of made-ahead finger foods ready to serve in the fridge. You won't regret it. Remember that cool refreshing new mixed flavored drinks are equally exciting, if you have the money, time, and creativity. Just think about what you and your family likes. Try different things like fresh pineapple spears in iced tea glasses, and fruit punches with real frozen fruit added to ice cubes, and lots of things made from cold pasta salad combos, using tuna, salmon, cold canned boned chicken, cold boiled ham, keeping lots of cold boiled eggs and sliced veggies handy to add to each meal on the side.

Nothing says each meal has to be a certain way, remember, so "think outside of the pot, pan, box, package, bottle, and norm" in order to get freely creative. Avocados, melons/fruit of all varieties, cabbages and peppers of all colors will add zing to both flavors and visual appeal to all new recipes for Summer heat. Remember to rely on lots of cold lemonade, orangeade, watermelon, OJ, and watch for good sales on cheap colorful glasses and plastic dishes to brighten up the table. Use every placemat, tablecloth, colorful napkin you own, to inspire you. Don't "match" food to the cloths, but rather contrast them so that there is always a lot of color for offsetting the heat.

Learn to use interesting tree/flowers/pods, grasses, twigs, knick knacks as well. Use kitchen utensils to ball melons, slice/trim/decorate fresh veggies, changing the usual sizes and shapes and taking an extra moment to "place" them on the plates and table. It helps stimulate the palate, I hear.

Plan on spending time under a tree on pillows having a dinner picnic, with Christmas lights strung overhead? Or candles on the table if evening time. Remember the patio stakes that folks often toss curbside? Use a couple of them for a change.

Summer's the time for ices, bought or homemade. Target has a wonderful cheaper SnowCone Shaved ice machine you will love, if you have extra cash. It's worth it. Keep the cups frozen in the freezer
for ready use for visitors, too. Use anything on the ice, or the ice in any drink you serve.

Grill, with lots of K-bobs, steamed veggie chunks/thick slices, fish with garlic/lemon and lime with dill and parsley, and all sorts of cold olives.

Make fruit frosties/whips out of whipped egg whites, powdered sugar, and fresh fruit drinks, along with crushed ice. This serves as dessert as well. Serve ginger snaps, and lemon sand tarts in Summer.

Small amounts of after dinner hot tea/coffees warm up the skin and makes a Summer wind seem cool. This is the principle used by Arabians in the hot desert. Serve with light sponge /angel food cakes of all flavors if dessert is wanted.

Breakfasts of cold healthy cereals and unsweetened vanilla almond milk, sprinkled with lightly with cinnamon is divine, especially if with melons, different variety/shape on the side, each morning.

Brunches/lunches are good with big salads and cold veggie soups, for a change, in cups with bread sticks, variety crackers/chips/ small cold meats or egg sandwiches. Berries go well in individual bowls.

Don't swelter inside, but, keep insect repellent available for everyone and keep fans going outside at all times of the day/night. Set up a service area that's cheery, has closeable salt/pepper,
and room to set pitchers of drinks, desserts on, to save you from going in and out. Place napkins inside
a gallon plastic bag or bug proof container. Buy two of the "picnic food umbrellas" from the dollar stores, and use/keep handy until ready to serve the food and eat. Try to keep a table setup that's clean
and large enough to eat on, if possible, otherwise, keep TV trays handy under cover. Also, keep a jar
of soapy water and a roll of paper towels nearby to clean up any mess or accidents from wind or children.

Keep in mind that it takes a little adjustment to the outdoor living, but with practice, you will enjoy your efforts. Keep trying to improve upon your past efforts and you will finally work the "bugs" and kinks out of any problems that might arise.

Even the poorest of us, and most frugal, can get our thinking caps on and use whatever we have to our best advantage, when we put our minds to it, right?

Good luck, and God bless you.

By Lynda

Cool Summer Recipes

Cook the entree in the back yard in the BBQ or electric skillet. (06/16/2007)

By Holly

Cool Summer Recipes

When it is so very hot, I love to eat salads. One of my favorite is a plate of greens, some tuna fish, out of the can, some salmon, cottage cheese, just a scoop, a hard boiled egg cut up, or two, maybe some cold lunch meat, then eat it with some crackers, etc. Makes a good meal, you could add cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, whatever is cool and will cool you down. It is a good idea. (06/16/2007)

By Jackie

Cool Summer Recipes

In the hot summer months, I keep certain canned goods in the fridge till I get ready to serve them with a meal: pickled beets, baby corn, cranberry sauce, candied yams, any canned fruits, etc. Other dishes that can be made up in advance that keep really well in the fridge are pimento cheese spread (that can be served on various sliced fresh veggies like celery pieces, cucumber slices, or used as a sandwich spread or as a chip dip). Potato salad, ham salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, mixed beans salad, a variety of sliced melons, all can be served at a moment's notice, all are cool and refreshing. (02/15/2008)

By badwater

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