Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Keepin your cool in the summer kitchen

Summer is upon us and its getting hot.  This time of year, most of us in the upper hemisphere are thinking of ways to stay cool… everything from going to the beach, creek, lake or pool, to fixing up some cool meals and family treats.  My friend Camille from "Flowers in His Garden" got me inspired by her menu plans and meal ideas last week, and I made up her Idaho Tacos for dinner, which were awesome.  I thought I would pass on the inspiration and write up some summer meal ideas as well.

Keeping cool in the summer can be easier when the oven isn't turned on more than necessary, and the work load of a hearty winter meal is lifted  by quick and easy recipes.  Think of Reducing the use of the oven to once or twice a week, cooking several things at once that can be eaten cold later in the week, such as: Roasting a chicken, a roast beef and a meat loaf or even potatoes in one evening, allowing the left overs for sandwiches or salads through the rest of the week, using the crockpot, stove top and of course, the grill is always a favorite way to take the heat outside.

I liked how Camille made up a meal plan for 3 weeks worth of menu ideas to choose from… rather than a  hard and fast menu for every day.  I work best in that kind of flexibility as well, and decided to just start my list of meal ideas that I can add to as the summer goes on. My Summer cooking focus is usually broken down in these 4 ways:  "quick and easy", "cool and refreshing", "summer abundance" or "outdoor cooking".  So here are some of my meal ideas for the summer. Some of them I make fairly frequently and have posted previously and  some are "Newbies" that I want to try: If I get a chance, I will post a few of the "Newbies" this summer. I would love to hear some of your ideas.  It is always inspiring to hear what other people are making and what they are up to.

Overnight Oats (I am trying this recipe out this week… and look forward to sharing it).
Yogurt with fruit
Veggie Omelette
French Toast with fresh fruit
Creamy Cottage Cheese and Coconut Pancakes with fresh berries.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches/wraps
Cold Vegetable and Hummus Sandwiches/wraps
Vegetable, Fruit, cheese, nut and olive platter
Saddlebag Sandwiches
Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches

On the Grill: Burgers, Steak, Chicken, Fish, and Kebobs
Grilled Pizza (This is delicious, Luke has made it for us on many occasion and mmmm good).
Grilled Steak Salad
Grilled Chicken salad
Asian Salad with Chicken
Fried Rice with Garden Veggies
Barbecue Beef Sandwiches
Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and basil.
Fish Tacos
Bean Tostadas
Mexican Lettuce Wraps

Unbaked beans (Picnic Beans)
Grilled Vegetables
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Layered Fruit and Vegetable Salad
Pasta Salad
3 Bean Salad
Asian Slaw
Vegetable Kebobs

Berry Cream Pie
Ice Box Cakes:Peanut Butter Banana Icebox cake
Almond Joy Chia Pudding
Ice Cream Pies: Key Lime Ice Cream Pie, Chocolate Mocha Ice Cream Pie
Cold Watermelon

Fruit Juice Popsicles
Nuts and dried fruit
Fresh Fruit wedges
fresh cut veggies and dip
Olives and cheese
Hummus with Pita chips
Peaches and Cream fruit roll ups

Something Good to Drink
Watermelon Water
homemade ginger tonic
Iced tea with mint

Be sure to share your summer-time favorites....
We all love reading them.


  1. Okay A well planned next meal option works best for me when someone else does the cooking (smile) I have been using the crockpot for my chicken and I need to get out of my rut of cooking as you stated it is just to hot somedays! All I want is chocolate...
    Oh, and ice cream cones!
    Hugs, Roxt

  2. Thank you for the link my friend....you bless my heart. :) You also make me smile. Perhaps you could share the recipes for your Asian Slaw...your Fish Tacos...and your Fried Rice?? (Just for starters...no pressure! Wink.) Only share when you are able to....and, if it doesn't work out, no worries. Happy Summer to you! Hugs, Camille

  3. Those Vegetable Kabobs look delicious! I was planning on making some for our lunch today. Just might have to try a few more of your recipes. :)

  4. Dear Pam,
    Oh those recipes all sound delish! :) Thanks for your comments. I put up the Loaded Cauliflower Casserole recipe. If you make it I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. :)

  5. Your meals sound very good. I love the idea of listing different meals instead of a set menu. I seem to have a hard time coming up with a daily menu plan, but having just a list of different foods for a couple of weeks to chose from I like. Going to be working on that idea this weekend.

    We do a lot of our cooking on the grill or stove top during the summer and eat a lot of salads from the garden for lunches.

    Will be waiting to see your recipe for the oatmeal.