Summer Dinner Ideas

Hi there! Sorry it’s been a while – we just got back from the beach and adjusting to real life again;) I’ve missed you and this little blog space where we connect. Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know I like to mix things up from time to time. Whether it be a post about family, or faith, or illness, or food or just talking about life…I like sharing all sorts of things with you, not just design. I feel like we’re old friends, and that’s what old friends do, right? Talk about any and everything. And what I really love is when we can help each other out when we talk.

So when I kept hearing from other moms that they were struggling with what to make for dinner in the summer months, I thought it might be a great idea for a blog post. Summer meals should be so easy, because I mean, it’s SUMMER. Isn’t that kinda the whole point?! Summertime…and the livin’s easy, and all that?

But I totally get it. I find my meal planning to be harder this time of year. There are so many meals I only make in the colder months that just won’t fly in July. I mean, who wants to sit at a hot stove forever when you’re just walking in from a day at the pool and serve heavy meatloaf and mashed potatoes, am I right?

Enter some of my favorite go-to, quick, easy, and light Summer dinners…(please excuse the cell phone pics – I had four hungry people waiting on me! 😉

1. Old Bay Salmon with Pasta & Veggies – We have an awesome little butcher shop down the street that I’ll stop by on the way home from the pool and grab some fresh salmon. I pop it in a baking dish, add a tiny bit of olive oil and a good amount of Old Bay to taste (we are Marylanders after all – Old Bay goes on ALL THE THINGS.). Pop in the oven while you make the pasta, but hopefully earlier in the day I will have made this cold pasta and veggie salad for an even easier dinner.  And seriously, you can make this any old way you want. Any pasta shape, any veggie, any cheese, any dressing. I like to call it Kitchen Sink Pasta. I happened to have linguine on hand that day, and red onion and mini peppers for the veggies, and feta for the cheese. But shredded parm is great, feel free to throw in cherry tomatoes, anything. I love to add my favorite Italian dressing to taste, and I’m done. And of course watermelon, because, well, that is a staple literally every single night with our Summer dinners.


2. Grilled Chicken, Tomato Tart, Grilled Asparagus – I love grilling thin chicken breasts so they cook quickly and stay nice and juicy (**Grill extra – you’ll see why in a minute!**). I just throw grilled chicken seasoning on both sides and grill. I have a grill pan for the asparagus so it doesn’t fall in;), and the tomato tart recipe came from a magazine years ago, but I’ve seen LOADS of tomato tart recipes lately. I’m sure they’re all delicious- I mean, puff pastry, tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt and thyme? Sounds like a winning combo to me! (And yes, watermelon)


3. Taco Salad – this one is a fave and so easy. I throw a pound of organic, grass-fed ground beef in a skillet, cook and drain, add a taco mix packet and amount of water it says on there, and instead of making tacos, I put tortilla chips on a plate, add greens, all the typical taco fixins, a little taco sauce, and it’s a fun twist on taco night…and feels a little healthier by upping your veggies!


4. Tuna Orzo Salad – this is a Rachael Ray recipe I discovered years ago and has been a huge family fave – I make it as soon as Spring hits and we’re knee deep in busy extra-curriculars every night and eating at different times. It can be eaten right away, or cold from the fridge. Google it and enjoy with some raw veggies for dinner in a snap!


5. Tortellini and Pesto – forgot a pic, but for a meatless dinner, boil your favorite tortellini, add pesto and drained chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Serve with a caesar salad and yummy bread if you’re carbin’ it up;) Another dinner that can be served warm or cold and on the table in minutes.

6. Chicken Quesadillas – Here’s where you use that leftover grilled chicken! Chop it up, and throw it in quesadillas along with shredded cheese, drained black beans, cilantro, and topped with fresh salsa. I just buy some in the refrigerated section of my local grocery store. I serve it with one of those Summer bagged salads – Sunflower Crunch, Chipotle and Cheddar, etc. My family LOVES those things. And boom. Dinner’s done!


7. Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwiches – Again, I spaced on the photo opp, but a pork tenderloin + bbq sauce in a crockpot = deliciousness. Shred it up after it’s done cooking, put it on yummy rolls, make some sweet potato fries and corn on the cob. (Annnnnd watermelon of course;)

As you can see, the name of the game for Summer meals around here is quick, simple, and easy. That’s how we roll from June-August. Raw veggies straight from a bag in the fridge? Why not? A plate of garden tomatoes sliced on a plate with a little olive oil and salt and pepper as a side? YUP.  Take advantage of the incredible fruits and veggies available this time of year, and save your time consuming, more complex dinners for the winter when you’re stuck inside and not missing out on Summer fun:)

Hope this helps those of you in a rut – and feel free to comment below with YOUR favorite tips and ideas for Summer dinners – let’s keep helping each other out as much as we can!


  1. Thank you Liz!!! I need some different meal plans around here:) I definitely don’t feel like cooking after a day at the pool…..easy meals are needed here!

  2. Kat Christy says:

    These all look SO GOOD!! Unfortunately for me, none of our kids will eat tomato or fish! Ugh, picky eaters. 🙁

    • I have one tomato hater in my bunch;) She picks them out! lol! Hopefully you can use the recipes and just omit! 😉

  3. Anne Lepczyk says:

    Love all the ideas ! Never thought about Old Bay on my salmon…yummy! What kind of Marylander am I ??
    Pork tenderloin and BBQ is delish. Same concept and super easy that I like to do Is the shredded meat from rotisserie chicken and BBQ sauce for sandwiches. No cooking involved!
    Don’t forget the corn on the cob!!
    Love Summer! 😎
    Thanks, Liz

  4. nicolemrisen says:

    Great ideas that I was in desperate need of!

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