During the winter, I really enjoy cooking. I’m happy to make soups, and turn on the oven for warm comfort foods.
However, during the summer months, it’s suddenly no longer a good idea to turn on the stove or the oven. It’s too hot. During the summer, I’m all about a small amount of work, and about cooler recipes to avoid getting too hot at home.
If you are looking for some ideas for summer fare, here are a few summer meal ideas for keeping it cool:
Turn on the Grill
It’s true that grilling is a bit warmer. But at least it happens outside. This can be a fun way to make sure that your house stays cool while you make dinner. Just about anything can be grilled, from your entree to your veggies. While it’s not ideal, if you feel you *must* have some sort of meat/chicken/fish entree and you don’t want to eat it raw, take it outside and grill it up.
If you have leftovers, you can cut them up and eat them cold later. I sometimes like to throw leftover grilled chicken on top of a salad, or eat leftover meat in a sandwich the next day.
I’m a big fan of salads. You can even make salads your entree. There are evenings during the summer when we have a green salad, a fruit salad, and maybe a little bread. You don’t need to limit yourself to more “traditional” salads, either.
A fun twist on a green salad is to slice up strawberries and toss them with the lettuce. Add crunchy glazed walnuts and finish off with a sweet poppy-seed dressing, and it’s a cool salad that breaks the mold.
Another of my favorite salads is a simple tomato and cucumber salad. I cut up two tomatoes and one long English cucumber, and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and whatever herbs you want. I like basil, oregano, and thyme.
While there are plenty of fruit salad recipes out there, my favorite thing is to just cut up some of my favorite fruits and stir them together.
Finally, I don’t think you can beat a simple caprese salad. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that are the best.
Graze for Dinner
Sometimes, when we really don’t feel like cooking anything, we just have a dinner where we graze. We cut up some fruit and vegetables and just eat what we want until we’re full. Often, we’ll add a little cheese or some artisan bread from the local bakery. Sometimes, my husband breaks out some salsa (we occasionally have homemade salsa) and we dip our celery and carrot sticks in it. It’s healthier than a cream dip, and it adds a little kick to the meal.
This works especially well when we have produce from our garden. What’s better than picking your dinner and eating it immediately? We have tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. We also have fresh herbs that we can use if we want.
Grazing only requires a small amount of prep time, and you can eat as much as you want (provided it’s healthy) without worrying about calories.
What is your favorite way to eat during the summer?