A beautiful summer evening, with the night sky awash with a billion stars, is meant to be enjoyed. The sounds of crickets and night birds and the soft light and beauty of fireflies surround us… What a wonderful time to enjoy the freedom and glory of the great outdoors. Summer is not the time to be slaving over that proverbial hot stove.
We are often concerned that easy to prepare meals are not nutritious, and that by opting for quick and easy recipes we deprive our bodies of needed nutrients. However, with proper consideration and planning, it can be simple to maintain a healthy diet in the summer and still have time for fun.
Plan Ahead, Cook Ahead
Summer salads and other light dishes can be prepared in advance and either kept refrigerated or frozen until needed. Precooked chicken, salmon, ham, and beef are all wonderful ingredients to be added into vegetable and pasta dishes. Also, canned vegetables are a good and nutritious alternative to fresh varieties, and precooked portions of pasta are easily refrigerated. Your favorite fruits are now available in abundance and ready for use in your summer recipes. So prep these meals early for easier evenings:
Cold Pasta and Vegetable Salad
For this recipe, combine cold cooked chicken, salmon, ham, or beef with cooked penne pasta. Then add your favorite vegetables: diced tomato, onion, celery, snow peas, red and green peppers. You can use kidney beans or chickpeas for added protein, as well as feta cheese and avocado for decadence. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic, and toss lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate and enjoy when needed.
All-Time Favorite Apple Salad
Wash, peel, and core your favorite variety of apple. Cut them into chunks and combine them with crushed walnuts or pecans, raisins, sliced white grapes, and red cherries. Then lightly toss with mayonnaise or yogurt. Serve this dish ice cold.
Long, Tall, and Cool Summer Drinks
There’s nothing as refreshing as a fruity drink after a hot day. Squeeze the juice from fresh lemons or limes and stir in sweetened concentrate made by boiling water and sugar. Add your favorite summer berries, either whole or crushed, and serve from an iced pitcher.
Take time to relax this summer and enjoy the beauty around you. Cooking light is a healthy step in the right direction, and it can be simple with these summer recipes.