Easy summer dinners that are healthy, nutritious and affordable
Summer is almost here! The unofficial start - Memorial Day Weekend - is upon us and we have the promise (maybe it is hope right now?) of warmer weather. I don't know about where you are but in NJ, it has been a long, cool, rainy spring. We are ready for warmer weather! When the warm weather hits, I prefer to cook light dishes.
There is just something about the switch in the weather to make me crave more veggies and lean proteins compared to the winter when I really want hearty dishes. Although, my significant other would tell you we could keep eating winter stews and roasts in the summer since I keep the air-conditioning running! He complains it is like a meat-locker in the house.
But back to cooking! Now that the local farmer's market is open, you never know what you will find there. Our farmers market not only has produce, but there is fresh fish, meats, homemade breads and pastries and spices. It is a great place to stop after yoga class on Saturday.
I like checking out recipes that can easily be modified to specific likes or dislikes. There are specific vegetables that my significant other doesn't care for, such as sweet potatoes or artichokes. I have tried several dishes where I've subbed white potatoes for the sweet potatoes and have had major success. By major success I mean he likes the dish and will eat it.
Staying true to my flextarian lifestyle, I incorporated vegetarian dinners as well. For the regular meat-eating members of your household, adding grilled steak or chicken is a perfect side dish. Or you can use one of those options for a meatless Monday dinner. If you try any of the recipes below, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heatherleehurst and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes!
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Buffalo Chickpea Salad by Naturally Ella. This is a phenomenal idea! All of the flavors of a buffalo salad which we traditionally think uses chicken. This vegetarian style salad will satisfy as a lunch or dinner. Plus, if you need to add chicken or shrimp for a meat-eater, it is easy to do! Just simply saute the chicken or shrimp in olive oil, then toss in the hot sauce of your choice. Click here for the recipe.
Dump and Bake Summer Pasta by The Seasoned Mom. This recipe can easily be made on the weekend and heated up for a fast dinner on crazy weeknights. Chicken is part of the recipe but sometimes I like to substitute turkey tenderloins for the chicken. Sometimes, turkey tenderloins are cheaper at the grocery store than chicken. I also think ground chicken or turkey would also work well in this dish. Click here for the recipe.
Pan Seared Cod by Baker by Nature. Fish always seems to be a nice, light summer dish. We try to eat fish at least once a week. This cod dish takes advantage of cherry tomatoes, which I have growing in my garden! Since they are not ready to be picked, I would substitute grape tomatoes until I can use the cherry tomatoes. This dish is ready in 40 minutes! Click here for the recipe.
Grilled Cuban Flank Steak by Kalyns Kitchen. What would a summer dinner recipe post be without a grilled dish? While we grill all year round (snow and rain doesn't stop us), I know some people wait until the weather is warmer to take advantage of the grill. What I love about this recipe is the marinade has a combination of great flavors that it doesn't even call for salt! Pair this steak with roasted asparagus and a salad for a low-carb yet satisfying meal. Click here for the recipe.
Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes by Skinny Taste. This recipe is really versatile and can use just about any summer vegetables you may have on hand. It calls for zucchini and peppers but I would also use mushrooms and corn. The recipe calls for chicken sausage which is lower in fat and usually inexpensive. Click here for the recipe.
I hope you enjoyed this compilation of fast and easy dinners to be enjoyed in the warm weather. If you try any of the above, let me know what you thought. If you'd like to receive free healthy living tips and recipes, follow my blog on Bloglovin.