Like Carrie, I'm huge on meal planning. Every week (preferably on Sunday) I sit down with my little Target notebook and my laptop and fill in a dinner idea for 5-6 days of the upcoming week. I figure that we'll probably eat leftovers/go out to eat/crash my in-laws/have cereal one or two nights a week. (Once I tried to give up the internet but I don't know how to cook dinner with out it! What the heck is a cook book??? Kidding, I have 100,000 of them)
But I wasn't always this way, and sometimes my past serves me well.
Last week I had a babysitter so I could run some errands (can I get an AMEN for the awesomeness of summer break and teenagers home during THE DAY!?!?! It's so great) and after I sent off orders for my etsy shop I still had some free time. But no meal plan! No shopping list! Also, no food in our house, so I would have to wing it. Plus in the summer, who uses recipes anyway? I hardly do. It's like grill chicken, cut up fruit that was on sale, roast some veggies, bake potatoes. Pick three of those four and you've got dinner. Basically, in summer, the less you mess with it the better.
And thus the Summer Pantry was born. If I stick to these basic items, I can whip up something almost every night of the week. What items do you have to have on hand to throw together a summer meal in a pinch?
Sandwiches and pasta salads are such a great summer staple.
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole wheat english muffins (in the freezer because we never get through a bag in time before they go bad)
- 1-2 boxes of pasta (I like angel hair and penne)
- Tortillas (I cannot stomach whole wheat tortillas since my first pregnancy!)
I mostly buy what ever fruit is on sale that week! Throw a few together and you have a fruit salad.
- Lemons + limes
I buy some veggies fresh, but I really love having a selection of frozen veggies in my freezer, especially if I know I would be cooking the fresh anyway. I toss almost any frozen veggie with olive oil, S+P and roast them in the oven at 400* until they're very browned. Perfection.
- Frozen Brussels sprouts
- Frozen corn
- Frozen broccoli
- Frozen cauliflower
- Baby carrots
- Bell peppers
- Sweet potatoes
I don't eat a lot of meat, even less in the summer, so this is what I keep on hand.
- Chicken breasts (I freeze them in baggies individually because we cut it up and share one--my husband, me and my two toddlers)
- Ground turkey
- Frozen salmon or tilapia
- Frozen shrimp
I don't eat a lot of dairy either, but my husband and kids do.
- Milk (Whole milk for the baby, 1% for my husband and daughter and almond milk for me!)
- Cheese (I like to have pizza cheese and a Mexican blend on hand for mini pizzas and quesadillas)
- Tomatoes. Diced, sauce, paste, Rotel, etc.
- Beans. Black, kidney, navy, chickpeas, etc.
Whew! That about wraps it up. Let's list a few dinner ideas using this list:
- Turkey burgers on sandwich bread with fruit and veggies
- Grilled chicken with roasted sweet potaotes
- Fajitas and fruit salad
- Lemon pepper shrimp and roasted broccoli tossed with angel hair
- Pasta salad with bell peppers, corn (just throw it in frozen!) and left over grilled chicken
- Mini pizzas on English muffins with grilled onions and bell peppers (This is the best pizza sauce hands down)
- Soft tacos with black beans on the side
What is your favorite throw together meal in the summer time?
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