Simple Summer Dinner Ideas

Do you love summertime as much as I do?  There’s something about the warmer weather and no school schedule that makes me one happy camper!  As much as we love summer, it’s also a busy time for me as a mama.  See, my husband’s busy season at work is between those lovely months of May – October.  Which means the kids and I are often on our own during the week for mealtime.  Not to mention that we live in the desert, so dinnertime is at the hottest time of day – no one wants to turn the oven on when it’s 110 outside.  We crave simple, quick, sometimes cool/chilled recipes for dinner in those hot summer months.  I particularly don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes in the kitchen while making dinner in the summer.  I also want us to feel free to stay out playing, swimming, exploring for as long as we desire without relying on fast food or other dine out options all the time.

So, what do we do for dinner?  Well, sometimes we wing it because that’s what summer’s all about.  Letting go, enjoyment, and freedom to just be without a scheduled dinner.  Although, like I always say, the better planned and prepared we are, the more likely we are to succeed.  That’s why I wanted to share these ideas with you because sometimes I do have a plan for summer dinners, and these are in it.     I would love it if you shared your ideas too in the comment section.  I’m sure there are things I haven’t thought of on this list. 

Without further a-do:

Grocery Store Rotisserie Chicken:  This is one of my top recommendations for clients and mamas on the go.  The store rotisserie chicken is an excellent dinner option without any guilt that you didn’t lift a finger.  Plus, most stores usually have a few different flavor options as well as an organic choice or non-organic choice.  Either way, you are doing yourself a favor by stopping at the grocery store rather than the drive thru!  When we make this rotisserie for dinner we either pair it with some sort of potato that I make/have already prepped at home in the air fryer, instant pot, or toaster oven; rice and steamed veggies that cook quickly on their own or that I have already made in the fridge; OR some cool crisp veggies made into a salad.  Leftovers make a great chicken salad for sandwiches the next day.  Which brings me to the next option….

Build – Your – Own – Sandwich:  I’ve used this on many occasions, and I will never deny it! First, kids love to play with food, and this is kind of like doing that for them.  Two, everyone can have exactly what they want how they want it without fuss and moms everywhere can celebrate that.  Three, it’s easy, simple, little clean up, and  completely satisfying.  Going low carb?  That’s fine, make your sandwich a wrap or turn it into a salad.  For this option just get all your sandwich ingredients on to the table, have everyone sit down and start building!  I’ll often have cold chicken, turkey, tuna, or bacon (whatever’s on hand) plus cheese and vegetables (tomato, lettuce, etc.), maybe some avocado, and we always have a few different types of bread in this house.  I’ll serve with carrots/celery or some fresh fruit on the side.

Build – Your – Own – Salad/Tacos:  If you see a theme brewing, you’d be right.  That’s why I’m lumping these two together.  What I like about these options is that all it really takes is me chopping up some ingredients, maybe grilling/sautéing some sort of animal protein if desired, and then just letting everyone assemble their own.  There isn’t a lot of heat produced in the kitchen while making this dinner and leftovers (because they are separated) can always be used for something else the next day.  Plus, you can easily prep ingredients like this in the morning, or in advance so it’s ready for you when you get home from the swimming pool.

Turkey Burger Sliders: You’re probably thinking this sounds like a lot of work, but not really.  In fact, sometimes, I’ll have the grocer form my turkey burger sliders for me so all it really takes is me grilling them.  I find this is a kid favorite.  Plus, I like to season my burgers with a few little extras giving them an extra healthy kick.  You can serve them with a side salad, fruit, homemade potatoes, or a homemade guacamole that goes great on top of burgers!  Turkey burger sliders cook with in 10-12 minutes (5-6 minutes a side) which means dinner is done in 15 minutes if you’ve already pre-sliced your toppings.  Going low carb?  Just skip the bun, or, a personal favorite, – go open face and eat it with a knife and fork.

Sushi Wraps at Home:  This one is fun!  And again, everyone gets what the want.  Plus, if desired, it’s a NO COOK meal.  I use leftover rice (which we always have on hand in this house), slice some veggies like bell peppers and greens, turn other veggies like carrots and cucumber into ribbons, slice tofu, use cooked frozen shrimp that’s simply been de-thawed, and seaweed sheets.  But really, the ingredients in this one are up to you.  It can be anything!  Plus, it’s a cool meal, the kids have a blast with it!  And once again, everyone can make it to their taste.

These are just a few options you can take.  But this pretty much covers a full work-week! Plus, many of these dinners use the same ingredients which means you can save money at the grocery store without the worry of waste.  Remember, there’s no need to spend hours in the kitchen to get a healthy meal.  What you like while eating out can often be made at home too!  If your overwhelmed with summertime activities, it’s okay to make it easy on yourself!  I know I plan to!

Don’t forget to drop me a comment on your favorite summer dinner idea!