Summer is finally here!
Despite a very rainy spring, the sun is finally starting to shine brighter and my annual carb coma from the winter months is starting to wear off. This means that it’s time to eat some delicious summer meals!
I love cooking and eating in the summer. It’s a great time to eat garden-fresh produce… not from my garden of course because 1) I live in an apartment building and 2) My thumb is not even the slightest bit green, although I am hoping my mom and I can tackle an herb garden this year. It’s also a great time of year to experiment. There are so many types of meals you can eat in the summer and mix up the ingredients daily to get a slightly different taste. There are countless variations on salads, sandwiches (pitas, wraps, etc.), burgers, and much more.
I thought it would be fun to share five of my favourite summer meals:
1. Burgers (with a side of salad, of course!)
Who doesn’t love barbequed food? Certainly, no friend of mine and certainly not me! One of the biggest obstacles when moving from our old apartment (which was in a house) to our current apartment building, was that we couldn’t keep our barbeque. I requested (included pouting) that my mom help fill our barbeque void when we come to visit her in the summer months.
Of course, barbequing doesn’t always mean burgers as I’m also a huge fan of fish and vegetables being done on the barbeque. Burgers; however, are a simple meal and there are so many ways you can mix it up (even without a barbeque). We love to get fresh ground beef and make homemade burgers with onions, jalapenos, etc. to add some extra flavor. There’s also chicken burgers and fish burgers. Or, if you’re a vegetarian option or enjoy something a little different you could also try a black bean burger, lentil burger, or one of my personal favourites, Portobello mushroom burgers.
And even better?! Once you’ve settled on one of the many options for what type of burger you’d like, you can then experiment with countless topping combinations.
Check out this recipe for Portobello mushroom burgers.
I love simple foods and if I can eat it with my fingers, it’s even better! For us, tacos are a year-round food and something we enjoy making when we have guests over. I think we’ve made tacos for dinner about 95% of the times my brother has visited (he is a picky eater) and there are rarely leftovers! When it’s just us and there are a few leftovers, the toppings are great to reuse on top of nachos for the next day or for a snack.
Our tacos are pretty simple – ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese (lots of cheese!), jalapenos, black olives, green onions, refried beans, sour cream and taco sauce. When we decide to mix up, one of our favourite things to do is swap the ground beef with shrimp! We love shrimp tacos and shrimp nachos!
Check out this recipe for shrimp tacos.
3. Pita Pizzas
Perhaps I watched a little too much Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles over the years, although my tastes aren’t near as adventures as the toppings the Ninja Turtles would request, but pizza is and will likely always be my all-time-favourite food. In the summer months when I’m more conscious of healthy eating, I try to switch up my pizza eating to a fresher alternative on pitas!
While I’m still convinced that pizza is healthy because it has a perfect combination of most food groups, the pita pizza alternative is still likely a bit healthier. Similar to the other things I’ve mentioned so far, there are so many ways to experiment with different toppings (even different cheeses, yum!) and this meal is super quick to prepare.
Check out this recipe for a simple pita pizza.
4. Pulled Pork Sandwiches (with coleslaw)
One of my favourite things to make in my slow cooker is Pulled Pork Sandwiches. In the summer months, it’s nice to have something so delicious without having to turn on the oven or fire up the barbeque. To me, Pulled Pork Sandwiches are truly a comfort food. If I’m having a rough week, it’s a quick meal I can throw in the slow cooker before work or before heading out walking or biking for the day, and when I get home, it’s there, wafting its mouth-watering aroma the second I walk in the door. And the perfect side? In the winter months, I’ll often make some mac n’ cheese to add onto the side but in the summer, coleslaw is the only option (in my opinion). Not a huge fan of pork? Why not try a pulled chicken sandwich?! Also super delicious and comforting!
5. Fish and Chips… on the days I feel brave enough to turn the oven on
Last but certainly not least, I love to eat fish in the summer! Just like pulled pork sandwiches (or really, any of the things I’ve mentioned so far) fish and chips is very comforting meal. While I enjoy the classic fish and chips, I also like to mix it up. We love (love, love, love) salmon! There are so many quick and easy ways to prepare a delicious salmon. And on the side? Fries! But not just any fries! Sweet potato fries are my favourite and they’re a great side for salmon. Both are certainly worth the effort of turning on the oven on those hot summer days.
Check out Rachael Ray’s (whom I love!!!) delicious and simple sweet potato fries.
And that’s my favourite summer eats! What are yours?
Check back later this week as my mom shares some of her favourite summer meals also.