Ugh, it’s hot and it’s humid here – and that means I need some inspiration to prepare lighter meals that are cool, refreshing and delicious.
Salads are great hot weather options. I change them up by varying the ingredients. Favorite proteins are grilled chicken and hardboiled eggs. Sometimes I’ll use spring mix greens; other times our salad base is a bed of crisp romaine. A wealth of additional ingredients – green onions, halved grape tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, diced apples, mandarin orange sections, halved seedless grapes, dried cranberries, finely shredded cheddar cheese, feta cheese crumbles, bacon bits, sliced avocado, black olives, croutons, and tortilla strips, – give us plenty of satisfying variety and limitless options.
Cousin Carol’s Caprese Salads (see my previous blog) make for artistic and refreshingly light meals.
Sandwiches make great summer meal choices. We make ours with crisp romaine lettuce on multigrain wraps or Cheesecake Factory brown bread, with diced chicken salad (including sliced seedless grapes, diced celery, and olive oil mayo) or diced egg salad (finely shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, crushed tortilla strips, and olive oil mayo). Change things up by including dried cranberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or raisins in your chicken salad. The addition of coleslaw, potato salad, or pasta salad as a side rounds out these cool meals.
Speaking of summer staple side dishes, coleslaw, potato salad, and pasta salad also pair well with lean ground beef or lean ground turkey burgers.
Burritos and burrito bowls are also big hits with us. Yes, I have to cook the lean ground beef or lean ground turkey and reduced-sodium taco seasoning on the stove, but generating a little heat is well worth it. The refried beans are warmed in the microwave. Layers of beef or turkey and refried beans are topped with shredded lettuce, sliced black olives, well chilled sour cream, finely shredded cheddar cheese, diced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and tri-colored tortilla strips. Whether you opt for a bowl, a wrap, a hard taco, a soft taco, or a taco bowl, this is one cool meal loaded with taste, color, and texture sure to delight your senses.
What are your go-to summer meals?
Drop me a line and share your recipe! I’d love to hear from you.