As soon as the weather warms up and the days get brighter, we all want to change our eating habits. There’s just something about an increase in heat that makes you want to go for fresher, lighter, and less indulgent food choices. But, at the same time, you still want to be able to enjoy a delicious dinner that’s full of flavor. To find that perfect balance, you’re going to want to get your creative summer cook on.
So where should you start? When you’re busy, you definitely want your summer cooking ideas to be super easy to make. But at the same time, they have to taste good and look like a small slice of summer, too. To give you the ultimate inspiration for your light evening meals and tasty long lunches, here are a few ideas to get your taste buds tingling:
One-Tray Bakes: When you want something super easy, balanced, but incredibly tasty, always turn to a one-tray bake. During the summer months, you want to be outside with your family and not slaving over a hot oven, so the tray bake is perfect for that reason. By throwing all of your ingredients into one tray and baking it all at once, your meal is done. More often than not, you’ll have veggies in the mix, but you can also serve a salad on the side if you’re feeling saucy!
Summer Pasta: For something super filling but also light, you’re going to want to pull together the perfect summer pasta. Pasta is a great ingredient to play around with. Not only can you choose from a range of different styles, but you can mix up your sauces and ingredients to create completely different dishes. For summer, try using fresh shrimp and crunchy veggies to create healthy but delicious meals.
Low Carb Favorites: Sometimes you want a really light meal that is easy to snack on and won’t make you feel bloated in the heat (Which is the literal worst.). Summer is the perfect time to go for low-carb versions of your favorite dishes. Hello, beach body. Craving pizza? Build your ingredients on a tortilla base, instead. If you want fajitas, why not go for lettuce wraps? And if you want tacos (who doesn’t?), fill them with fresh fish and shredded salad for a lighter alternative.
Rainbow Salads: Then, we get to the salads, because a summer menu wouldn’t be complete without a bunch of them! Don’t think about the kind of diet food you’d usually expect, oh no – these salads should be big, bold, bright, and beautiful. Rainbow salads packed with exciting, crunchy, and flavorful veggies are the best. Create your own dressing and serve with a protein source for a colorful and complete meal.
Smoked Meats: When you love meats, you want to make sure that they’re packed full of flavor and are served super succulent in the summer. There’s just something about a lighter version of the tastiest meats that screams summer. And when you want to go tender and melt-in-your-mouth, you smoke. You can read the pros and cons of the Brinkmann electric smoker to see if it’s a cooking method that you can work with. If so, throw in your meats and even a few veggies and prepare for a flavor overload.
Mixed Rice: Rice is a great grain that we don’t give enough credit to. It’s always tasty and it’s a super light carb source, too. As a part of your summer meal frenzy, try making a bunch of rice based meals. Stir in your favorite meats, serve with crunchy veggies, and dress with delicious sauces to create some of the most exciting dishes around.
Ultimate Burgers: Summertime is all about the burgers. When you love a good burger, you’ll take one all year round, but there’s nothing like a hot summer day with a burger in hand to make you feel happy (Any food in my hand makes me feel happy!). But don’t just stick to a standard beef patty – pimp them up! There are so many amazing burger recipes here, just take a look. If the chipotle turkey, chicken Caesar, or even the taco burger doesn’t tempt you, you’re not a true burger fan! And if you’re a vegetarian, like me, the veggie burger is a thing!! 😀
Asian Anything: If there’s one kind of cuisine that works the best with summer meals, it’s got to be Asian. Asian cooking is full of those incredibly fresh favors that just work so well when its warm. Whether you decide to whip up a noodle dish or create a crunchy salad, sticking to Asian ingredients and flavors will always serve you well in the summer months.
Garden parties, picnics, and BBQs are essential summer activities. Create the perfect menu with the above ideas, invite your friends, and have yourself a backyard bash!
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