With summer holidays in full swing and more relaxed schedules already being enjoyed, I have to admit that a little (actually a lot;) of laziness has set in on my part, when it comes to planning meals. With a more laid back schedule, comes a more relaxed attitude and all that hustle and bustle that happens throughout the school year starts to slow.
This is a good thing, it’s one of the things I love about summer, but the reality is we still need to eat, so here are a few things that keep me from getting “stuck” during the summer months (the bonus is they work all year round too!)
Purple Smoothie Bowls with Greek Yogurt & Cinnamon Croutons // Frozen fruit comes to the rescue as a quick snack, a frozen treat or a healthy desert.
Summer is a great opportunity to freeze fresh seasonal fruit to have all year round. And with all that fresh fruit available, you might not be thinking about actually using frozen fruit, but on a hot summers day or evening, having frozen fruit in the freezer (whether you freeze it yourself or buy it frozen), to quickly turn into frosty treats is especially satisfying.
These smoothie bowls were made using our favorite Purple Smoothie recipe, but I made them extra thick by starting with only 3/4 of the juice and adding only enough to be able to blend. Then I topped them with a spoonful of greek yogurt and a few cinnamon croutons. Making them extra thick turns them into a delicious frozen summer treat that can be enjoyed as a breakfast, snack or dessert. Put the straw aside though, because these smoothie bowls will require a spoon.
To freeze the fruit, simply prepare the fruit as you would eat it – peel, slice, pit, chop or for small berries leave them whole, spread them out on a baking sheet and pop them in the freezer until frozen. Once frozen, transfer them to freezer bags until needed.
Fish Sliders with Yogurt Tartar Sauce // Super easy, slightly spicy fish sliders made in minutes, using leftovers from dinner.
I always, always, make extra meat at dinner. Always! It’s one of my best tips and is my personal favorite time saver in the kitchen. It works especially well during the lazy days of summer, when it’s getting close to dinner and all of a sudden you think, what are we going having for dinner?
These fish sliders were made using leftovers from the Fish Tacos we had for dinner the night before. Which means they were super quick and easy, because all of the cooking has already been done. I topped each mini pita (those things are soooo handy for appetizers, lunches, snacks…I highly recommend keeping some in your freezer) with a few spinach leaves, half a fish fillet, a slice of tomato and some homemade yogurt tartar sauce. You could also use the lime yogurt from the fish tacos, if you have any leftover:)
To make the yogurt tartar sauce: mix together 1 cup greek yogurt, 3 tablespoons chopped gherkins, 1 tablespoon chopped capers (optional), zest of 1/2 lemon, 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Black Bean Nachos with 5 Minute Salsa & Cheater Guacamole // With a few staples from the fridge, pantry and freezer and one or two items added to your grocery list, these nachos can come in handy, “just in case”.
Whenever I go grocery shopping in the summer, I like to add a few things to my list that I can have on hand “just in case”. Just in case we have guests drop by, just in case we have to feed a group of kids, just in case we don’t feel like making dinner…you know?
With a few pantry and fridge staples and maybe a few extras, I can whip something up last minute. These black bean nachos are perfect for that. For the nachos – whole wheat pitas (I can keep on hand in the freezer), a can of black beans (I can keep on hand in the pantry), cheese (always in the fridge). For the salsa & guacamole – most of the items are in our pantry, fridge or on our grocery list each week anyway, and a few (like the jalapeno) I add “just in case”.
To make the nachos, I brushed one side of each of the pitas with olive oil and sprinkled on some salt. Then I stacked the pitas and cut them into 12 wedges each, spread them out on a baking sheet or two and baked them in a 375°F oven for 10 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden and crispy. Then I topped the chips with shredded cheese (I like cheddar or Monterrey jack), sprinkled on some canned black beans (drained and rinsed) and pop the baking sheet under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is just melted. I served them with 5 Minute Salsa & Cheater Guacamole.