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Meal Planning is a great way to save time, money and the headache of trying to figure out what to make for dinner every night. Meal planning in the summer can get a little tricky though. Its super hot and most nights my family doesn’t want a huge hot meal. If we aren’t grilling out we really don’t even eat that much meat in the summer. It just makes us feel even hotter. Tell me we aren’t the only family who does this in the summer?
Another thing about making meals in the summer is that heating up the kitchen is just not something that is very appealing. I mean when its 95 degrees outside who wants to stand over a hot stove or make the air conditioner work any harder then it has to?
We have several quick, easy and meat-free go to dinners that we tend to make a lot of in the summer. Hopefully, this list will inspire you to
think outside the box and make the best of trying to feed your family in the heat this summer.
Baked Potatoes and Salad
This is seriously our go-to meal. We can all make our potato how we want it and with the abundance of fresh produce in the summer a salad is a no-brainer.
For baked potatoes, I don’t even put them in the over anymore. All I do is wrap two inside a hand towel and put them in the microwave for about 8 min. More or less time depending on the size of your potatoes.
You can also use one of these cool potato pouches but honestly, it’s not necessary.
As for salad dressings in the summer anything light is a great idea. We tend to go with an oil, vinegar, and various spices. We love Natures Seasoning or Mojavi Garlic.
Roasted Veggie Medley
Again super easy. Just go with whatever seasonal veggies sound good to you. I usually do either onion, celery, carrots and potatoes OR Squash, Zucchini, Onion, and tomato. Just slice all your veggies, place them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and spices and bake until done!
This one does require you to turn on the oven but since its a stir fry it takes like 5 min. We just use bell peppers and onions. Add in taco seasoning. Done. Serve with tortillas, sour cream, and cheese.
Okay so this might just be a southern thing but my family could LIVE off of tomato sandwiches! Also since I am southern I must specify my mayo of choice is Dukes! I also really really love potato bread because it is nice and soft and perfect for a good tomato sandwich. Make sure you are using a GOOD tomato! No beefsteak! A tomato from a farmers market, grown in your yard or an off the vine type at the grocery store are the best.
Greens and Cornbread
Again, southern. Yes, I make my greens without any meat! My grandmother would not approve but instead of any meat grease, I use a teaspoon of this stuff called Better Than Bullion. I use the vegetable base and honestly its a fantastic base for the greens.
We love all quiche. I also keep these in my freezer so I always make at least two when I prepare these. A perfect meal to use up some seasonal produce!
My family loves spaghetti but it just seems like it is too heavy of a meal in the summer. So we sub the regular noodles for zucchini or butternut squash noodles. The noodles take like 10 min to bake and I always have homemade spaghetti sauce in the freezer so it ends up being such a quick and healthy meal.
Another super quick stir-fry. Just zucchini, onions (carrots, broccoli, mushrooms if you want) a little garlic and soy sauce. Serve with rice. You can get real fancy and stir-fry the rice too. Just throw in a scrambled egg and a bit of butter and soy sauce.
Spinach Dip Bread Bowl and Fruit Salad
This is a meal we might do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon so we can nibble on it all day. I use the Knorrs Vegetable Soup dip to make my cold spinach dip. Its a favorite, the directions are on the package. I grab a big loaf of whatever bread looks good in the bakery that day. If I have any veggies I will put those out to dip in too.
For the Fruit Salad we usually just do strawberry, watermelon, and cantaloupe. You can, of course, add whatever you prefer and even do a fruit dip if you are feeling ambitious!
So hopefully this list has inspired you summer meal planning. I’ve learned that you don’t have to serve a meat, starch and two vegetables for dinner every night. In the summer the simplest meals are the best because it gives me more time to hang with my girls AND it helps avoid that after dinner bloat!
Would love to hear any other simple summer staples you guys use!
Want even more meal planning goodness? Check out The Dinner Daily! It’s one of my go-to meal planning tools that pretty much does ALL the planning, deal hunting and couponing for me!