5 Easy Tips for Summer Meal Planning
Summer meal planning doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It can be creative and fun.
Too hot to cook? Running out of ideas for things to eat that don’t involve trips to the drive thru? Check these out:
1. Visit the Deli
Pretty much every grocery store has some sort of deli counter. If you haven’t checked it out, make some time in your next visit. Why? Better quality cheeses and lunch meats than you will find in the general grocery area – and a few you won’t find there at all. The prices may seem a bit steep, but when you consider cost per ounce along with quality you’ll come out ahead.
Look for: Fresh salads; potato and pasta, not to mention broccoli and fruit. Check out the lunch meats and cheeses. These make great sandwiches. Did you consider getting some prosciutto to pair with fresh cantaloupe? Yum! Same prosciutto can be used with eggs for a quick breakfast. It cooks faster than regular bacon, too.
Check the deli for fried chicken and other comfort foods. Mine makes The Best fried chicken (even better than KFC!) at a competitive price. You can buy a family sized meal, too.
2. Don’t Forget Produce
I don’t frequent the produce section for regular veggies, but I do go for salad items, potatoes and fruits. Pre washed items might be an idea, but if you get whole items and prep them yourself you will save a lot of $$. Great way to work on knife skills, too. 🙂
Hit the local Farmer’s Markets for the freshest local fruits and vegetables. You’ll get ready to eat (aka: Ripe) in season foods at good prices.
Think fruits and berries prepped and in a bowl in the fridge. Great to snack on or add to salads, top ice cream or breakfast cereal.
3. Cook Ahead
I know, hot. But consider this, if you buy a large batch of chicken to go on the grill, you can have enough for several meals. Most chicken is good cold, or you can chop it up and put together a quick and tasty chicken salad that can be eaten on its own or chicken can be added to a bowl of greens.
Cook extra burgers, sausages or pork ribs and have them throughout the week. You can chop up the pork to make pulled pork sandwiches. Burgers can be broken up and added to the fixings for taco salads.
Not into grilling? Pull out the crock pot and set it to cook overnight. I like to buy a flat of chicken, add it to the pot and let it go for 6 – 8 hours. Don’t add anything – no water, no seasoning. It will cook to perfect doneness, be juicy and flavorful and you have a batch of chicken you can add to other dishes.
Do the same with pot roast or a turkey breast and you will have the makings for several meals.
NOTE: Seasoning can be added, but is not necessary. If you are considering using the meats for several dishes you might want to season when you prep the meals.
4. Hit the Bakery
Think sandwich buns. Fresh artisan breads and rolls. They will have better flavor than the standard bakery aisle fare which will make your sandwiches taste even better.
Think about that fruit you picked up. Why not get a pound cake or angel food cake to serve with the fruit? Don’t forget the whipping cream… 🙂
Bagels and English muffins are great for quick cheese sandwiches, too.
5. Experiment A Bit
Summer heat is not the best time for large meals. Not everyone will be interested in a huge offering. Why not get some yogurt and make some toast? Nosh on cherry tomatoes or any other vegetable you like. And if you aren’t sure, why not try a few? Raw cauliflower or turnip taste different than cooked – some of us prefer the raw to the cooked.
Don’t forget to make a batch of iced tea. The Domestic Geek has some seriously easy and tasty ice cream recipes on her YouTube channel. No need for a fancy ice cream machine, either.