Easy Summer Dinners

No Cooking

Summertime is filled with long, hot days, and the last thing any of us want to do at the end of the day is stand in a hot kitchen. I like to meal plan, I like to cook, but not during the summer. It’s like a switch turns off and meal planning and dinner making becomes something I loathe in the summer. Instead, I love a good salad or charcuterie board for dinner.

Take It To The Grill

Thankfully my husband likes to grill, so much of our summer cooking happens there. We grill everything – I love to make kabobs with meat and veggies, grilled pineapple and peaches are amazing. Grilled corn to add into salads. Even pizzas can be made on the grill. We go the easy route and use the Indian Style Flatbread from Trader Joe’s and let everyone pick their own toppings. Then a quick trip to the grill and they’re melty and delicious. Over the years, Pinterest has helped me find a lot of easy summer dinners. I have also found it helpful to grill up some extra chicken to keep in the fridge for salads.

husband in charge of the grill during the summer

Fresh peaches on grill

kabobs on the grill

Okay To Graze

Sometimes at the end of the day in the summer, a large meal is the last thing anyone wants. In that case, it’s okay to graze! Set up a traditional charcuterie board for the grown ups and a kid friendly version for the kids! I picked up a few boards last summer at Target and they have definitely have been worth it. They are easy clean up and really just make something easy feel a little fancier.

Summer Graze Board for Kids Ideas (check out Kelley Nan’s Blog for more ideas):

  • Triangle Finger Sandwiches: PB&J, Turkey and Cream Cheese
  • Mini Bagels with Cream Cheese
  • Crackers and Cheese, Pretzels, Chips and Queso, Poprcorn
  • Fruits and Veggies with Dip
  • Build Your Own: tacos, hot dogs, burgers
  • Breakfast: mini pancakes, waffles, french toast sticks

kid friendly charcuterie board

A Season for Salads

I admit I could probably eat salads everyday. My favorite summer dinners are salads; they are light and refreshing, and most of all, so easy to create. The grilled chicken and grilled corn I mentioned earlier makes them even easier.

BBQ Chicken Salad:

  • Romain or Butter Lettuce
  • Black Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Grilled corn, off the cob
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Grilled Chicken
  • BBQ sauce and ranch mixed for the dressing

BBQ Chicken Salad

Beet Salad (my ultimate favorite salad)

  • Arugula
  • Roasted beets
  • Chevre
  • Drizzle with olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Beet salad

Asparagus and Avocado Salad

  • Blanch asparagus or grill it just until cooked, then chop
  • Avocado, diced
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Grilled corn

Juice a lemon and mix with olive oil, salt, and pepper to make a vinaigrette and gently toss in salad

Happy Summer

Hopefully a few of these ideas will help to ease your summer cooking woes, make it a little easier, and a lot tastier. Bon Appetit and Cheers!

Nikki was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she has lived in Seattle and Portland. After visiting New Orleans, she fell in love with the city, and she and her husband decided to take a chance and move from the PNW to NOLA. Nikki has two kids, Amaya (16) and Tyson (13), she and her husband Dave have been married for 16 years, they live on the Northshore. Nikki works full time as a NICU nurse. Nikki and her family have fully embraced the culture of New Orleans, while they live on the Northshore, they play in New Orleans as often as they can. As a member of New Orleans Mom, she hopes to bring the perspective of the veteran mom and life with big kids and teenagers.


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