Saturday, May 31, 2014

Summer Dinner Solutions (a Recipe Swap n' Share Link Up)

Summer Dinner Solutions  (a Recipe Swap n' Share Link Up) 
(please participate so my family doesn't go on a hunger strike this summer!)

If there's one thing I can do, it's feed my family over the winter.   You want a hot from the oven - stove top - crock pot meal, I've got you covered.  But much to my chagrin, I admit I can't be good at everything (rats!) and one of the things I'm not so great at is figuring out what to serve my family for dinner over the summer.  And I'm talking about those days where there is no way in heck we're turning on the oven - the days when it's just. too. hot. - the days when you're already sticky and sweaty but then begin to perspire a little extra when the troops start asking what's for dinner and you know in good conscience you can't serve them a casserole or a chili.

So what do I do?  I turn to you!  I'd love for you to join me and dish out your summer dinner ideas.  Have a blog?  Link up!  Don't have a blog?  Let's chat in the comments!  You can include full-out recipes, or just give us some ideas of what your family eats on sticky summer nights.  I'm personally interested in recipes and ideas that are for "everyday" dinners, not so much the intense and involved weekend smoked-salmon-on-the-grill dinners (though I love those too!)  

Without further ado, here are some of the things I actually DO make throughout the summer... over and over and over again, which is why I need this link-up to be a success :)  My family can only take so much of my two or three summer meals and then I know they'll stage a hunger strike.

"Mexican" Bowls

I put "Mexican" in quotation marks because I don't really know if this is the kind of thing they eat in Mexico, but it does have a lot of beans and rice and cilantro in it :)
This idea was given to me by my good friend, Janelle, who, if she kindly introduces herself in the comments, may take credit for this great dinner idea and may add even add ingredient suggestions and modifications! (Gosh, I hope she reads this or I'll feel pretty foolish for assuming her readership :)  )


box Spanish Rice (Rice-a-Roni)
can diced tomatoes
can black beans, drained, rinsed
can red beans, drained, rinsed
chopped greens (I usually use romaine or a spinach/spring mix)
shredded cheese
fixin's - black olives, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, tortilla chips (or Cheddar Sun Chips if you really feel like pleasing the masses at the dinner table)

Cook up the rice according to the package instructions on the stove top.  Add diced tomatoes and beans.  
To serve, spoon rice mixture into bowls, cover with chopped greens and shredded cheese, and let everyone add whatever fixings they want.  I like to add tons of cilantro! 

Chicken Salad with Almonds and Chow Mein Noodles

image from

salad greens and chicken breast (enough to feed your family when a salad is the dinner and not just a side)
1 c. slivered almonds
Chow mein noodles
poppy seeds

dressing: 1 c. oil, 1/2 c, sugar, 1/3 c. vinegar, pepper to taste

Pan fry or grill chicken.  Chop or shred it into the salad greens.  Add almonds, noodles, and poppy seeds.  Dress and serve.  


image from
This salad is so, so wonderful.  (I even wrote about it last summer!)  And it's a fun way to start using your mint from your herb garden!  Check the link above for full recipe and instructions, brought to you courtesy of the best grocery store in the country (and my personal favorite place to shop because of the bakery and cheese shop.  Oh. my. gosh.)

Grilled Mushroom and Corn Salad

Ingredients: 1 red onion, two ears corn, 4 -5 medium-size portabello mushroom crowns, basting oil, bag romaine salad blend, lemon vinaigrette, salt and pepper

Shave the corn off the cob.  Cube the onion and mushroom tops.  
Toss with 2 T of basting oil
Grill (or roast) the mixture until lightly browned
Toss with the salad and approx. 1/2 cup lemon vinaigrette.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

This salad is also from Wegmans. Last Friday, my children and I ate five helpings of it at the veggie tasting station.  We've had it here at home twice since then, it's that good.

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As always, whenever I share recipes, I only share the ones that are husband and children-approved.  I can't guarantee your loved ones will like them, but the odds are in your favor if it's passed the test at my place:)

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Ok!  Now link up or comment and help diversify my summer dinner offerings!  Thanks!


  1. These look great! It is SUCH a problem trying to figure out what to cook when it's hot. Our air conditioner is no match for the oven AND the outside. So we mostly grill out all summer.

  2. I have this same exact issue. I'm going to think on if I have anything worthwhile to share because I'm not sure if I even have one recipe that others would be excited about!

  3. Oooo! I kinda feel like I'm famous now - I am THE afore mentioned Janelle- Mexican bowl lady! ;) Unfortunately, I don't have more to add - Theresa's Mexican bowls look much fancier than ours. I think I'll be adding fresh cilantro after seeing your post ;)

    We do lots of salads also- pretty simple, just switch up the toppings and sides. I came up with a couple other go-to, no-cook dinners that I do (why does dinner always feel like I am recreating the wheel?). Here they are: Greek wraps - just tortillas, hummus, lots of shredded veges, tomatoes, feta and dressing. I suppose you could throw in chicken too. Taco dip dinner: just a huge platter of layered taco dip (refried beans, sour cream, cheese etc.) with chips and veges for dipping.

    I definitely going to be trying your salad recipes, Theresa!

  4. We call those Taco Salads, and we love them! Your ideas are fantastic too, thanks for some more salad inspiration!

  5. This is a great idea. I am excited to see the other dinners!

  6. Great idea- I need summer ideas too! I am lacking in this department- we do different kinds of salads- cobb, taco, greek- and wraps of different kinds- turkey, veggie. We grill a lot too. But that's all I can think of that doesn't involve turning on the oven!


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