5 Favorite Early Summer Meals


Though we’ve had a slow start to summer here in the Northwest, I know the rest of the country is sweltering and thinking about staying cool – not about cooking. So while we may not need these yet, you all do, and I sure hope we’ll be in that grillin’-and-salad mood soon, too.

Here are five of our favorite quick, easy, and seasonal meals that all take minimal cooking and preparation:

1. Pasta Primavera with Sausage. A one-dish meal that is so versatile we actually make this all summer long, changing the vegetables according to what’s in season. Right now it’s broccoli, onions, and carrots – later in the summer it will be green beans, peppers, and onions.

2. Grilled sausage, chicken, or beef served with Grilled Potato Planks and Caesar Slaw or a Simple Summer Salad. This is repeated over and over through the season using different meats and salads.

3. Greek Style Shrimp Orzo and Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad. The orzo is equally good hot or cold, so it can be made in the morning when it’s cooler, as can the beets.

For the next two meals, cook a Spiced Whole Chicken in the slow cooker one morning and remove the chicken from the bones, storing in the fridge until needed (remember to save the bones and juice to make broth- or make it right in the slow-cooker if it’s not too hot and freeze for later):

4. Asian Lettuce Wraps: shredded chicken from part of a Slow-Cooker Whole Spiced Chicken, shredded carrots and diced onions topped with sweet chili sauce and chopped peanuts and wrapped in lettuce leaves. Serve the fixings for everyone to make their own along with Spicy Asian Slaw.

5. Chef’s Salads served with grilled Easy Sourdough Artisan Bread toasts and White Bean-Dried Tomato Dip as a spread. We probably eat chef’s salads once a week in the summer when the lettuce is abundant. I top it with the chicken from the slow-cooker, hard boiled eggs, and any vegetables and cheeses we have in the refrigerator. For dressings, try any of these homemade favorites: Honey Mustard, Ranch, or a simple Vinaigrette.

What are your favorite early summer meals?



  1. says

    When I was growing up, Chef’s Salad was something my mom served a lot in the summer. I had forgotten about it! I think my mom used ham a lot.

    Believe it or not, despite 20 years of marriage, I don’t have any summer meals. I’d love to come up with some which is part of the reason why I have the kids cooking with me this summer.

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