Note from Lindsay: My heart is full this week as I process all the intense images and knowledge I gained this past week in the Philippines. My body is also taking its precious time to adapt to the time change. Sleep has been avoiding me. I’m just trying to take it easy and pray for the Lord’s grace to just focus on my priorities this week. Going to launch right into our June theme where we will be sharing about cultivating simplicity and intentionality in the kitchen. Join us!
Post by Contributing Writer, Michele
Summer is usually a time of impromptu gatherings with friends, overnight visitors, and busy children’s activities in our family. On those hot summer days, standing in front of the oven is the last place I want to be, but everyone still needs to be fed.
To keep from resorting to ice cream for dinner (most of the time), I love having some frugal, simple-prep meals/ingredients on hand, using a combination of “once-a-month” meal preparations, a slow-cooker, and fresh produce.
Beans & Grains
Cook up a big batch of beans. You can put them in the slow cooker, if you just can’t bear to turn on the stove, and put it in your garage or shady porch to cook during the day.
I usually find black beans or chickpeas/garbanzo beans pretty versatile for summer meals. Store extras in freezer containers or baggies (stack bags flat in the freezer) for future meals. You can do the same with grains, such as millet or brown rice. (Cooked rice is perfect for making a fried rice to go along with a stir-fry!)
Some fun summer bean meals:
- Home Baked Beans (you can use your slow-cooker, too!)- These can be frozen in batches, and thawed to serve with your next barbecue meal.
- Hummus Dip & a Veggie Tray and Tortilla Chips
- Black Bean Wraps
On a hot day, a nutrient-rich smoothie can be a welcome side to a meal. You can make a Green Smoothie or a Fruit Smoothie, adding in plenty of whole milk yogurt or kefir. A chilled, blended soup can be refreshing on a hot evening, such as:
When talking with fellow “real food” blogger friends last fall, most of us mentioned the favorite “busy day meal” trio of Popcorn, Smoothies, and Omelets (toss in some garden veggies!). Stuffed Deviled Eggs, Omelets, or even a “breakfast for dinner” of scrambled eggs & soaked waffles are simple, nourishing meals that won’t heat up the kitchen.
Not just for burgers; use the barbecue grill, and cook up a whole chicken, big batch of meats, or veggies while the coals are still hot! Leftover cold grilled chicken or beef is perfect for summer salads (such as Southwest Chicken Salad) or sandwiches. Grilled veggies or sausages are delicious in an omelet or soups, as well as Grilled Veggie Sandwiches.
You may be gleaning produce items from your garden on an as-needed basis (such as lettuce, tomatoes, or carrots). But if you have a veggie drawer or fruit basket full, prep them into salads or veggie trays for quick snacks or appetizers (perfect for those drop-in guests!).
Use a melon baller to make quick work of a large melon, and toss together a fruit salad. A bowl of a nourishing homemade creamy dip is a great option to have on hand, too, with your veggie trays.
Cold salads can be made into meals, too! Stir in some shrimp or canned salmon, and serve in a wrap or stuffed into a bell pepper for a fun picnic meal.
You don’t have to do all your prep-cooking on one day.
Just make extra when you do cook a meal, and put it in the freezer- alongside the Strawberry Ice Cream! What are your favorite summer meals?