Ah, summer! It’s my favorite. It is the time to play and adventure- outdoors and carefree! I also love summer foods- fresh berries, grilled meats and veggies, refreshing ice-cold beverages and desserts. But one thing that can trip me up with each season change is: what do I now feed my family? Especially in a season when I want to be playing in the sunshine with my family instead of indoors working over a stove top. So a few years back, I came up with an easy summer dinner meal plan that works all summer long.
The key to this meal plan is to work with categories instead of specific meals. Here’s what I mean: one day I serve some sort of burger, another day it is some sort of taco (or meal made with taco ingredients), another day dinner is a wrap or sandwich, the forth day is some kind of salad, and the fifth day is something easy in the crock-pot with a side like rice or potato salad. I don’t always have a day that corresponds with each category, but I will base our week’s meals off this plan, depending on what groceries I have and what I may pick up from the farm stand or get out of our garden.
In the summer, you just can’t go wrong with a burger! Form some ground meat (or seasoned beans) into patties, cook it on a grill, and put it on a bun. It’s that simple! You can add variety by putting ingredients into the meat, such as a dry ranch mix or blue cheese. Or add flavorful toppings such as pesto, caramelized onions, pepperjack cheese, etc. If you realize too late that it’s burger night, but you don’t have buns, making your own is easier and faster than you think.
Wrap/ Sandwich Day
What isn’t good between two slices of sourdough bread or wrapped up in a homemade flour tortilla? You can put any meat or veggies in a sandwich or tortilla, add some sort of sauce, and bam! Dinner is served. Here are a few ideas:
- shredded chicken, bacon, veggies (such as spinach, romaine, and bell peppers), with ranch rolled in a tortilla
- turkey, veggies, olives, feta, oregano, and hummus in a pita
- BLT on sourdough
- Egg salad (with chopped up pickles!) on sourdough
- barbecue pulled pork with slaw on a bun
Serve with fruit, veggies and dip, or crackers.
Salad night can make the family groan when they get to the dinner table, but there are plenty of delicious options that will make them cheer! Here are some ideas:
- Asian chicken cabbage slaw
- grilled chicken and veggie salad (always better with croutons made out of a leftover loaf of sourdough)
- steak and mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette
- spinach salad with hard boiled egg and crispy bacon bits
Hard shell, soft shell, corn tortilla, flour tortilla, rice bowl, fish tacos, beef tacos, chicken tostadas, steak fajita tacos- there are so many ways to taco! Top with mango, avocado, slaw, cilantro, and sour cream… yum!
I love the days we go adventuring with no worries of dinner because I have thrown something in the crock-pot that morning. Any game meat is great for roasting low and slow. You can also roast a whole chicken in the crock-pot (then use the bones to make broth to cook your beans and rice). Serve the meat with potato salad, some easy biscuits, sourdough bread, or just a fresh, green salad. Or throw some pinto beans in your crock-pot and serve with cornbread.
Print out the sheet below and tape it inside a kitchen cabinet door to give you ideas when you menu plan:
- black bean burger
- venison burger
- ranch burger
- rice and bean bowls
- pulled pork tacos
- ground beef tacos
- fajita burritos
- chicken quesadillas
Wrap/ Sandwich Day
- BBQ pulled pork with slaw
- egg salad
- Mediterranean wrap
- chicken, bacon, veggie, ranch wrap
- Asian chicken cabbage salad
- steak salad
- hard boiled egg and bacon spinach salad
- grilled chicken and veggie salad
- taco salad
- slow roast game meat
- whole chicken
- black or pinto beans
- curry chicken
- beef carnitas
Serve wraps, sandwiches, and burgers with raw veggies, fruit, green salad, or fries. Serve crock-pot meals with mashed potatoes, green salad, cornbread (check out my recipe!), rice, etc