I spend enough time making meals throughout the year, so the less cooking and food prep I have to do during summer the better. I want to continue to enjoy cooking, which is why I need to take a mental break from all the planning, shopping and associated hoopla that is feeding the family, during the summer months.
Here are some simple lunches I’ve made this past summer which everyone here enjoys:
Couscous Salad with Grilled Chicken
I make this type of salad often. Everyone likes it.
I pour the couscous into a bowl, pour boiling water over it just to cover, a plate on top and I leave it while I chop the veg.
In this salad it was tomatoes, green onions (the white and green part), red onions (for the crunch) and fresh basil from my garden. Sometimes I add cucumbers, or shredded carrots, peppers, whatever is handy.
After I finish chopping the veg I fluff the couscous, and pour olive oil and a bit of lemon juice over it. Mix it up and put it in the fridge to cool down a touch.
While it’s cooling I grill chicken on the bbq. In this recipe I used bbq sauce which I brushed on the grilled chicken.
Mix everything together and serve either as is, or scoop it on top of more fresh greens (like iceberg lettuce for the crunch, or kale for the health kick).
Green Salad with marinated beets, feta and seeds
One kid doesn’t like feta, nor beets, but the rest of us do. I buy the sheep’s milk feta mixed with either goat or cow’s milk. Did you know cow’s milk is really acidic? Sheep’s milk is less so.
For this salad I used greens from the garden, and the beets came from a jar I picked up at a Farmer’s Market. I crumbled the feta on top and sprinkled with good quality olive oil and just a slight drop of balsamic vinegar. The seeds I like using are usually sunflower or pumpkin.
Marinated Eggplant with Feta and Vegetables
It is summer, after all, and the harvest is abundant. I could make this in winter too with the standard veg that are imported or greenhouse grown, but it wouldn’t taste as fresh. This time of year is perfect for these European, Mediterranean influenced quick bites.
The eggplant is marinated in spicy oil (bought at a Farmer’s Market) and it was delish on its own, or with some fresh bread (pita, Syrian flat bread, naan or any whole grain bread or bun. Some northern Europeans like rye bread).
I’ve been focusing on low carb eating, keeping in mind that full-fat items would keep me satiated longer and curb snacking. In this instance, I would have liked to use a piece of fresh bread or bun to sop up the yummy oil, but I didn’t have any like I usually do when the family is around. (They were away camping.)
But it was still delicious. 🙂 I sprinkled oregano on top of the feta cheese, and black pepper.
But the school year is not far off, and I’m keenly aware of how busy September will be once again. I saw several hockey practice emails pop up already, not to mention house league baseball playoffs, and tryouts for next year. On my shopping list are medium sized freezer bags, so I can precook sauces and chili, and freeze for those hectic nights when everyone is rushing off into different directions but still wants to eat. Or should eat a healthy and nutritious dinner at home, rather than some fast food pickup.
Chili in particular is so versatile, I use it for burritos, tacos, nachos (on a Saturday night) or, with a biscuit as a meal in itself. I’ll probably take the crockpot out for that.
But for now, we’re still in the height of summer, and I’m more than happy to harvest a cucumber and some tomatoes for lunch and pair it with some cheese and cold cuts, and a fresh roll.
Cheers, and bon apetit!