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Summer Dinners in a Snap!

If only we could linger in the kitchen with a glass of wine (or two) and finally tackle those earmarked recipes with the long ingredient lists and even longer lists of instructions that appear to be worth all the effort. Realistically though, between carting kids around town and long days at work, many of us need to be very efficient with our time in the kitchen. If I’m singing your song, here are a few simple summer meal solutions that rock.

Dinner In 30

When the clock is ticking and stomachs are grumbling, you do not – I repeat – do not have to call for delivery to get good food in a hurry. In fact, it’s often less expensive and faster to cook at home. Here are three quick-prep dinners that get you to the table lickety split!

  • Eggs for dinner. Make a summer vegetable frittata with onions, peppers, tomatoes and zucchini. Stir in crumbled goat cheese and fresh chopped basil or dill for even more flavor.
  • Taco time! Grill or bake chicken breasts or fillets of responsibly farmed fish like tilapia, and serve slices in warmed corn tortillas with fresh tomato salsa, guacamole and crunchy red cabbage slaw.
  • Go fish. Treat the family to baked homemade
fish sticks made with cod or salmon from fisheries certified sustainable by Marine Stewardship Council. Bread with herbed panko and bake, and serve with steamed veggies and tartar sauce.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

Remember, it pays to plan ahead. Make prep time twice as nice by making a double batch of these summer suppers and use for leftovers within one to two nights:

  • Green enchiladas. Roll tortillas with chicken and salsa verde-sour cream sauce topped with shredded Monterey Jack cheese (use shredded rotisserie chicken and shredded 365 Everyday Value® cheese for shortcuts!)
  • Eggplant parmesan casserole. Layer grilled eggplant, herbed ricotta cheese, marinara and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for an applause-worthy meal
  • Chicken chili. It may be short on ingredients – diced chicken with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, summer squash, and chili powder – but it’s full of taste.
  • Roasted pork. Marinate and roast pork loin and serve with cherry salsa and a salad of beets and fennel.

Winner, Winner, Chicken (Salad) Dinner

Just because you’re short on time doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. For example, go wild with chicken salad and use one of these combinations with grilled, baked or poached chicken breasts cut into bite-sized cubes. The recipe is simple: fruit and veggies + dressing + seasoning + crunch.

Super Sonoma. Mix halved grapes + light mayo with Dijon mustard + celery seeds and ground black pepper + sliced celery and chopped pecans.

Curry in a hurry. Add some pizzazz to your lunch or supper with shredded carrots and raisins + light mayo with mango chutney + curry powder and ground cumin + toasted sliced almonds.

Go Greek. Combine halved grape tomatoes and Kalamata olives + low-fat plain yogurt with tahini + oregano + diced cucumbers.

Harvest happiness. Green apples + low-fat plain yogurt with apple cider vinegar + ground black pepper + crumbled cooked bacon = crunchy creamy yumminess.

See? Simple! Here are a few more satisfyingly simple summer dinner solutions.


What are your recommendations for summer dinners that are big on taste but don’t eat up your schedule?

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Karen Howard says …

I'm not a big fan of goat cheese-but I'd definetly do the Steak Salad w/ Greens & Feta Cheese.The Beef Couccous Lettuce Wraps & Sesame -Peanut Noodles look Delicious too.

Allison More says …

A quick summer favorite is chicken pesto pasta. Cook chicken breasts in lemon and olive oil and cut into bite size pieces (this can be done the night before and left in the fridge overnight for additional flavor) cook pasta of choice and mix chicken, fresh pesto (or caned organic pesto) and roasted or raw pine nuts. Wonderful light dinner in less than 30 (15 if chicken is cooked the night before!).

Alan Amerian says …

I'm trying to buy another 5 oz container of the "365, Mediterranean Rotisserie Seasoning" . The last time I was in our local Whole Foods, they said they didn't carry it anymore. Can I buy this through you on line? Thanks Alan Amerian

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ALAN - This hasn't been discontinued but if your local store does not have it on their shelves, check with the meat department, they should be able to special order it for you!