Whether you are moving this summer and looking for quick preparation meals that aren’t from a box, or just want a break from the cooking of the last year – here are 5 quick and easy meals for the summer that require a small amount of effort and are light, refreshing and on the healthy side.
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon: This sweet-and-salty treat is perfect finger food for eating outside on the patio, on the couch, or on a moving box table if you are PCSing this season. It requires no cooking which is perfect for those hot, humid climates or where gas/electricity is pricey during the evening hours. You can mix it up and do ham or spiced turkey instead of prosciutto.
- Yogurt Parfaits: Make it breakfast for dinner! Line the yogurt of your choice, berries of your choosing, and granola of your choosing up in a line on the counter and let everyone go to town in building and making their own parfait. You can use whatever fruit you have on hand and is local to you, so no special grocery trips just for this! Favorites of banana, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry are traditional choices, but mix it up with kiwi or dragon fruit if you have them! Add local honey to the lineup to assist with combating local allergens and add a little sweetness to dinner (remember: raw honey is not recommended for children under the age of one year old.)
- Salads galore: An easy, no-cook, and healthy option for summer is a salad. This doesn’t have to be the same salad every week. The beauty of salads is you can really use whatever you wish – any leftovers or local produce can add flavor to your salad while staying within budget and offering a healthier option. Consider using quinoa, kale, spinach, or couscous as a base for the salad instead of romaine lettuce. Chop up or shred whatever meat you have on hand- chicken, steak, fish to the salad. On shopping day, consider picking up a rotisserie chicken and shredding that for the salad – bonus that you don’t have to cook the chicken and you have the beginnings of a beautiful salad. Want to keep it all veggies – add marinated zucchini, squash, or cucumber for additional flavor and zest without having to cook anything! Don’t forget about adding fruit to salads – mandarin oranges, nectarines, apples, and kiwi add zest, are delicious and just might be a new favorite! Make it a Greek salad by adding in feta with tomatoes, onions, and olives. Make it California-style with avocado and salmon with a base of couscous. Noodle salads are a great way to use noodles as the base to get kids interested in eating salads. Vietnamese noodles don’t require much besides pouring boiling water over them and letting them sit in the water for about 3 minutes. Add lime juice, bean sprouts, shredded veg, and green onions for a quick salad. If your kids are picky eaters and you don’t want to prepare two meals – try adding in things they will eat to the salad to pique their interest – croutons are always a win.
- Thai Peanut Wrap: Mix shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, shelled edamame, chopped scallions, cilantro, and peanuts together and top with rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, minced garlic, melted peanut butter, salt, and honey. Mix together and place in a wrap of your choosing – maybe even a lettuce leaf for a lettuce wrap. For those with peanut allergies, you can change up the stuffing to broccoli slaw with chicken and whatever dressing you like. Or maybe layer shrimp with spinach and feta and tomato. The wrap is delicious finger food and can be made easily together as long as you have the ingredients. One of our favorite wraps is “leftover wraps” where anything is added to the wrap – we have done couscous with curry in a wrap and rotisserie chicken with leftover veggies for lunch and dinner. Always a win because leftovers are eaten and enjoyed.
- Veggie Noodle pasta: The ultimate no-cook dinner is using premade zucchini or squash noodles for the base of pasta. You can rinse them with saltwater, or sprinkle with salt for 8-10 minutes and then rinse with water to soften them. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and parmesan for a simple but delicious pasta.
When it is hot and humid outside, the last thing we want is to heat the house while cooking. While grilling may be the ultimate summer cooking method, there are no-cook delicious meals for the making, and many are dairy-free! Happy eating!
Do you have any favorite no-cook meals that you prepare for the summer?