Welcome I don’t know if it’s the laid back summer attitude and schedule or the oppressive heat and humidity, or maybe both, but I love to keep my summer suppers simple. I’m sharing a few of my favorite simple supper tricks for summer, along with a great Greek Tuna, Couscous, and Veggie Salad and a No-Bake Blueberry Angel Dessert. Please note: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission when you click on one of my Amazon product links and make a qualifying purchase. There is no additional cost to you and helps keep this site free for your use and free from pop-ups. Thank you.
Food For Thought Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks to keep it simple this summer.
1 Think fresh-from-the-garden. So many fruits, vegetables, and herbs are in season and readily available in the summer. Find what looks good at your local market or stand and build a meal around those finds. Today’s recipe features home-grown cucumbers, green onions, and cilantro. We’re rounding out most all of our meals this week with local watermelon as a side dish, too.
2 Think meal salads. Whether it’s my Classic Chicken Salad recipe or today’s Greek Tuna, Couscous, and Veggie Salad, these chilled dishes can be made ahead of time and require little to no heat-up in the kitchen. My layered or tossed salads include a balance of vegetables, proteins, grains, and fats.
3 Want dessert, but too hot to bake? No-bake desserts are cool, creamy, and just the right amount of sweet at the end of a meal. My Better-For-You Mountain High Chocolate Pie or today’s No-Bake Blueberry Angel Dessert meet the criteria, for sure! And don’t forget, seasonal fresh fruit makes a perfect sweet dessert, too.
4 Open, drain, and chop. Too hot, tired, or busy to cook? You can still fix a homemade meal for your family with the convenience of the canned grocery aisle. Today’s salad recipe only requires my ability to chop some fresh produce and open and drain cans or jars of olives, beans, roasted peppers, and tuna. This concept works equally well for a Tex-Mex Inspired Chicken Salad or Wrap.
5 Meal Prep, my friends. In the morning hours or on the weekend, do a bulk of your cooking prep-work. This may include boiling whole chickens or eggs or dicing and chopping celery, onions, or carrots. You can boil large quantities of pasta, rice, or other grains just as easily as small quantities. Then you can portion out desired amounts in lidded containers to have on hand for fast and cool evening meals or packable lunches.
These products from Amazon make cooking and storing your meal-prep items convenient for fast meals all week long.
I have this Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids Food Storage System, 42-piece set, which makes it easy to find the perfect size container. They are also easy to store in the cabinet when not in use and they’re stackable in the fridge, freezer, or pantry.
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6 Use the same basic meal model and swap out ingredients. My husband and I can enjoy salads every single day of the week. It’s a fast and easy meal, but we don’t get bored because we swap out some of the ingredients for each day’s salad. Tex-Mex salad may include shredded chicken, corn, black beans, and shredded pepper jack cheese. Greek-inspired salads may include canned tuna, chickpeas, black olives, and feta. An Italian pasta salad becomes a meal with pepperoni slices, mozzarella cubes, and Giardiniera. A base of baby spinach or chopped romaine, diced peppers, onions, and cucumber add fiber and nutrition no matter which flavor profile you opt for. This meal template concept works equally well with wraps.
7 No-Guilt convenience sides. There is no shame in accompanying your meal with some bagged baby carrots or fresh apple slices. I also don’t consider it a crime to pick up the occasional tub of deli potato salad for that simple summer supper. Pita chips and hummus are another one of our favorite low-fuss summer sides. I just try really hard to always include at least one variety of vegetable or fruit with our simple suppers. We even had frozen pizza the other night (!), but it was joined by a nice, big green tossed salad.
8 Grilling convenience, occasionally. We are charcoal grillers at this house, but that’s not always a cool or simple option! When we do fire up the grill, we try to make the most of all that heat by grilling a few meals’ worth of meats and vegetables. When the local supermarket has grilling meats on special, I pick up several options. We may grill pork steaks for the evening meal, but also grill chicken breasts and sausages for meals later in the week. If all goes well, we can get almost an entire week’s worth of meals grilled in one Sunday afternoon. This tip works well for vegetables, such as potatoes, squash, peppers, and onions.
9 No-fuss clean-up. The less cooking you do on your stove or oven, the less pots and pans you will have to clean up. My daughter loves when I say, “It’s a dishwasher night,” because she knows that means I didn’t use enough dishes to make it worth running a sink full of dish water, thus getting her out of one of her required chores! We also have some plastic picnic plates and cutlery that we pull out in the summer. They’re washable and reusable, so no unnecessary waste, but less work than handwashing our regular dinner plates. They are perfect for dinners out on the deck or picnics in the park.
10 Don’t save the slow cooker. We typically think of pulling out the slow-cooker in fall and winter for hearty soups, stews, and casseroles. It’s a great tool for summer, too! It doesn’t heat up the kitchen like an oven, but still offers the hands-off convenience we love. A couple of my favorite summer slow-cooker recipes are Pulled Pork for Sandwiches and Cheesy Bacon Ranch Pulled Chicken for Sandwiches.
11 Finger foods and appetizers. Make a spread of tortilla chips and my Classic Seven Layer Dip along with crudité, dips, and fresh fruit skewers. Kids love this, they think it’s party food!
12 Make an entire meal of veggie sides. Steam some fresh green beans from the garden. Slice up some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Grill some corn, peppers, and onions. Open up a can of baked beans or three-bean salad. This is perfect when everyone is in the mood for a light supper.
Today’s Recipes A simple meal salad and a no-bake dessert round out today’s simple summer supper tips.
Greek Tuna, Couscous, and Veggie Salad on Baby Spinach
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 cup sliced green onion
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 1 cup garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
- 1 cup sliced ripe olives, drained
- 1 cup prepared couscous
- 1 cup canned tuna, drained (about 2 cans)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup light Greek dressing
- 6 oz baby spinach leaves
Layer all ingredients, except dressing and spinach leaves, in large bowl and chill. When ready to serve, add dressing and toss. Serve over baby spinach leaves.
No-Bake Blueberry Angel Dessert
- 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 8-oz carton frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
- 1 prepared angel food cake (large, about 18 ounces)
- 1 21-oz can blueberry pie filling (I like the premium blueberry variety for this dessert)
Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together in large bowl. Fold in whipped topping. Cut or tear cake into bite size pieces and fold into cream cheese mixture. Spread in the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 baking dish. Top with blueberry pie filling, cover, and chill.