Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer Express - Fresh and Easy Meal Ideas

We LOVE salads – well I love salads, my husband has grown to appreciate salads, and my kids have never known anything different. Everyone in my family has their favorite and I try and make a variety of different salads all year long, but especially in summer. I love making really big salads that have every type of vegetable imaginable in it – I want to see lots of green, orange, red, purple – you name it! The more colorful it is the better it is going to taste! Although I do not always make my own salad dressing, the freshness of summer seems to call for a fresh, homemade dressing.

Homemade Ranch Dressing or Dip

1 cup sour cream or yogurt (I use yogurt, I make my own, therefore, a more frugal option)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh chives
1 clove garlic, minced (optional, but it adds a definite bite and spice to the dressing)
1 tsp dill
1 tsp parsley
¼ tsp cracked pepper (or to taste)

Combine ingredients into a glass jar and shake it up. If it is a bit thick, just add a bit of milk. Let sit for 20 minutes for the spices to combine. It will last for as long as your yogurt or sour cream would last (check the expiration dates), which is typically a couple of weeks.

I love to have easy dinners, with little preparation and cooking involved, after a long day at the beach or the pool. But after a long day out, we are all hungry and need something to fill us up! I love serving grilled steak in the summer as it takes less than 10 minutes on the grill. I often will serve baked potatoes (to fill hungry teenagers!), but I also like to offer lots of variety in side dishes.

Spinach Dip

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 pkg dried vegetable soup mix
2 – 4 green onions, diced
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed with the extra water squeezed out

I often combine the sour cream, mayonnaise and soup mix the night before I want to serve and take the spinach out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge, and then add the green onions and spinach 30 minutes before I want to serve. Although this is not necessary, you can also just combine all the ingredients at once and let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Keep cold until you are ready to serve and serve with sour dough bread (or crackers) and lots of cut vegetables.

Baked Beans

2 cans brown beans in tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans, drained
½ cup bbq sauce (your favorite)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp either ground mustard or Dijon mustard
Big squirt of hot sauce (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized pot and simmer on low to medium heat until heated through.

All the dumping, mixing and heating takes around 5 minutes! This is a super fast, frugal and high fiber side dish!

All my kids love this side dish – even fussy Tia!

These work for me!!

Related Sites:

Squares for Summer

Bringing Some Life Into Your Pasta Sauce (super quick, super easy!)

Need More Fibre?


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