Submitted Date 05/22/2019

I hate summer. I hate the heat and the humidity, typical summer food, and all the bugs that go with it. Give me spring and fall any day. It's already 92 here today, and we haven't even cracked the first of June yet. Thank God the pool is opening soon.

I love to cook and bake. I thrive on feeding people; it's one of my favorite things to do. I used to take treats into my former coworkers often. I make treats for the staff at my bank and my vet also. However, when it gets hot in the summer, I don't always feel like cooking or at least doing very little to get a meal on the table. I'm sure you think this way too. Our lives are busy, and we are continually being pulled in every direction. When the temperatures heat up, all most people want to do is chill out in the air conditioning.

This is why I thought I would share a list of my favorite cheap and easy foods. These are my go-to dinners when life is too busy, or I'm just too tired to do much of anything.

1. Tacos-A pound of ground chuck or ground turkey, fresh veggies, either flour tortillas or lettuce leaves as a shell and some sour cream and cheese. All you have to do is cook the meat and chop a few veggies, and you're done.

2. Tuna Salad Sandwiches-Dump, some tuna out of a can or pouch, add some mayo, onion, and celery and put it in a salad or wrap. Pair them with chips or cut vegetables and there you go.

3. Stir Fry-Buy, two bags of stir fry, add some seasonings (don't forget the Sesame Oil) and cook some minute rice.

4. Chef salads-A bag of salad or two, cooked and chopped chicken breast, extra vegetables of your choice, and some fantastic dressing. You can even cook and cut the chicken breast ahead of time or bone a rotisserie chicken from the store.

5. Sloppy joes n fries-A pound of ground beef mixed with sloppy joe sauce to make sandwiches with some baked French fries.

6. Breakfast for dinner-Eggs, hashbrowns, and toast. Add some orange juice and some donuts or cinnamon rolls to top it off.

7. Salsa Chicken-Buy a package of chicken leg quarters and put it in the crockpot with a jar of salsa and a jar of spaghetti sauce and cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with spaghetti.

8. Black Bean, Cheese, and Rice Enchiladas-You can find recipes for these on Pinterest.

9. Penne and Vodka sauce-If you're looking for an easy twist on Italian, you'll love this. Buy a box of penne, rigatoni, or ziti pasta and add some Bertolli vodka sauce. Vodka sauce is kind of like a creamy tomato sauce, and it is so good.

10. Nacho Ravioli- Cook beef ravioli and add a jar of salsa, a can of black olives, and shredded Mexican cheese.

11. B.L.T's-Cooked bacon, juicy tomatoes, and fresh, crisp lettuce on toast with mayo. Yum.

12. Mac and cheese with tuna-Add tuna and peas to either boxed or homemade mac n cheese. I prefer homemade myself. You can find easy mac n cheese recipes on Pinterest if you're interested in making homemade.

13. Waffles-We like to do waffles for dinner sometimes. We use Aunt Jemima Original Pancake/Waffle mix. Sometimes we add toppings like fruit and whipped cream, and other times we eat them with butter and syrup. You can also look for specialty waffle recipes too like chocolate chip. Blueberry, or cinnamon. This makes a super fast and easy meal with only a few dishes to clean.

14. Omelets and toast-If we have a lot of leftover veggies or meat in the fridge, we make omelets and put whatever we have in them. This is an excellent way to use up odds and ends of leftovers.

15. Cheesy Garlic Bread and Salad- We make semi-homemade cheesy garlic bread and eat it with salad.

16. Leftovers-We have a leftover night every week in our house. I hate throwing food away when so many people go hungry. This can be a lifesaver on a scorching summer evening.

17. Homemade Pizza-This is usually a weekend meal for us because the dough takes an hour and a half to make in the bread maker. Add some sauce, toppings, and cheese and throw it in the oven. You can have homemade pizza in 25-30 minutes from the dough being done to baking them off in the oven.

18. Oven Baked Chili Dogs-When I make homemade chili I save some for chili dogs. I slather the hot dog buns with mayonnaise, add the dogs, chili, and cheese and bake covered in the oven for about thirty minutes.

19. Cheese n Salsa Quesadillas-Slather flour tortillas with salsa and cheese and bake them in the oven for fifteen to twenty minutes.

20. Pasta Salad- Cook your pasta and chop any vegetables or meat you need two days ahead of time and throw your salad together the night before you plan on eating it so it will have time to chill overnight and throughout the next day.

Easy Summer Desserts

1. S' mores Bars-All the flavor of a s'more without all the campfire mess. These bars are made with Golden Grahams cereal, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Look online to find the recipe for Golden Grahams bars. Tip: If you need to make several pans for a potluck, I get the big bags of Malt O Meal honey graham cereal which will make two 9x13 pans.

2. Homemade Popsicles- Buy some popsicle molds and find recipes for your favorite kind of Popsicle.

3. "Ice Cream" Sandwiches-Buy chocolate graham crackers and fill them with cool whip and freeze them to make "ice cream" sandwiches. We used to make these for the kids in daycare as a special treat in the summer. They loved them.

I hope these ideas will help make your mealtime easier. Here's to relaxing evenings and good eats.




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