Now that the weather here finally feels like summer, it’s time to bring out some of our family’s favorite summer meals. These meals all fit certain summer criteria: they have to use some produce from the garden, do not rely on heavy oven use, are seemingly “light” (and I don’t mean calories, as attested to by the cream in the first dish…more a sense of lightness to go along with the warmer weather), and don’t take a lot of time.
Because when it decides to warm up, we want to be outside and off doing things and not spending lots of time in the kitchen.
Even if that “doing things” just means reading a book in the shade of a tree with the breezes gently blowing…
One of my favorites that my kids merely put up with, Italian Sausage Pasta Primavera can be adapted to whatever the garden is producing at the moment. And cream and butter? Oh yeah.
I could easily just eat this alone, but usually add a green salad or Tomatoes and Feta to keep the family happy.
Summer Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Green Beans is the summer dish that started me down the path to growing more food instead of flowers. When I grew the tomatoes, onions, beans, and basil for this dish and realized I grew all the produce in it- what a feeling! I was hooked and wanted to see how many other meals I could grow all the produce for.
I usually grill some sausages to go along with this salad. I like turkey Italian sausages that start raw so there is no nitrates used in them (unlike cured meats).
We regularly grill Potato Planks as well as other garden veggies like onions and zucchini to go along with sausages, chicken, or pork.
And I love to serve these meals with a slaw using the cabbage, carrots, and onions from the garden. One of our favorites is Caesar Slaw.
Although it uses the oven just a bit, a frittata is a great way to incorporate garden produce like chard, spinach, kale, onions, and zucchini. This is a Swiss Chard Frittata with sausage and I served it with fresh steamed green beans, garden tomatoes dressed with a bit of balsamic vinegar and easy artisan bread.
Lookin’ at this is killing me, because all my tomatoes are green and my beans are barely flowering. Maybe I’ll just have to serve it with Tuscan White Bean Salad instead. Poor me.
I often just marinate in a blend of soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and honey and then serve some homemade condiments (like Addictive Tomato Chutney) with them as well as rice and a salad.
I make all different kinds of salads in the summer (who doesn’t when it’s hot out?), especially when it’s too hot for traditional lettuce. Then I get creative with what I’ve got growing and use the some of the combinations I mentioned when writing about Simple Summer Salads.
Alas, the cauliflower did not grow for me this year, so I will not get to replicate the interesting yellow and green salad in the picture. But orzo with whatever veggies I can find? Most definitely.
And have you tried grilling your bread? It doesn’t take long (and remember to watch it closely…don’t ask how I know), but it really imparts a great flavor. Especially when dipped in olive oil.
What are some of your favorite summer meals? Share with us in the comments (and leave a link to a post if you have one) or comment on An Oregon Cottage’s Facebook page!