5 Great Ways to Prepare for Quick Summer Meals

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Enjoy your summer daze a little more by making meal times quick and easy.

The following content is sponsored by Good Food Made Simple:

5 Great Ways to Prepare Quick, Summer Meals - Enjoy your summer daze a little more by making meal times quick and easy.

I don’t know about you, but my summer days are just packed. If it’s not the summer school I assigned myself my kids or the weekly outings or this whole writing gig thing, it’s the desire to curl up with a good book. I just finished The Monuments Men; it was fabulous, by the way.

And then there’s that whole exercise yoga craze I’ve got myself into.

Needless to say, I’m pressed for time.

On the flip side, I also feel a bit pressed for cash. Our rental property has been bleeding us dry since the last tenant trashed the place and left in December. Six months of repairs later, I am not a happy camper. Time to curb the budget wherever possible.

That means eating at home, eating healthy — remember that whole improve-your-diet-be-healthy thing, and prepping food in a timely manner. No longer do I have hours and hours to while away in the kitchen. We need dinner on the table quickly.

Instead of four-course meals, I’m thinking through ways that I can make dinners delicious as well as easy on our family schedule.

Here are five of my favorites:

5 Great Ways to Prepare Quick, Summer Meals - Enjoy your summer daze a little more by making meal times quick and easy.

1. Do some bulk cooking.

You know me, the freezer cooking lady. I love to spend an hour or two filling the freezer with meals or meal components. In the old days, I’d spend a whole day. But, I just don’t have that flexibility in my schedule. Instead I lean on power-cooking sessions where I might make a bunch of hamburger patties, marinated chicken, or homemade baking mixes.

By making multiple batches to use through the months ahead I save time, money, and a few brain cells. Pulling a pan of enchiladas from the freezer makes dinner come together in a snap!

2. Get your grill on.

Grilling, or cooking out as they say in some parts of the world, is a great way to get supper on the table in a flash. Think about it: few dishes to wash, no hot kitchen to contend with, and grilling meats typically takes little time.

You can grill a pan full of shrimp in minutes, with chicken tenders taking about ten to fifteen. Brush either with olive oil and sprinkle generously with FishMama Spice and you’re ready to go!

5 Great Ways to Prepare Quick, Summer Meals - Enjoy your summer daze a little more by making meal times quick and easy.

3. Create a weekly prep routine.

The weeks when I take time to prep a bunch of vegetables, dips, and sauces in advance are the weeks when dinner seems to magically prepare itself. If you’ve got the lettuce washed and chopped, veggies sliced, and dressings made, it takes only minutes to toss a salad together. Bonus points because homemade is healthier than a bagged mix and a bottled dressing.

Spend a few minutes slicing and shredding cheese, browning meats, mixing dressings, and prepping the veg. Check this Meal Prep Printable for more help in stocking your fridge for a week of successful meals.

4. Plan some no-cook/low-cook meals.

Who wants to cook when there are great books to read, good movies to watch, or a beautiful beach to stroll along?! Dinner, contrary to popular belief, does not always have to be hot! Think of easy meals that you can pull together without lighting a match: salads, sandwiches, wraps, snacky dinners, these all work without much kitchen labor.

5 Great Ways to Prepare Quick, Summer Meals - Enjoy your summer daze a little more by making meal times quick and easy.

5. Choose convenience carefully.

Obviously, the easiest way to eat quickly and easily is to let someone else do the cooking. Fast food and restaurant fare are fun little splurges during the summer months. Just choose wisely. Not all chains use quality ingredients or offer good value.

As you shop the store, consider which convenience items will bring you a big bang for your buck in terms of ingredients as well as flavor. The frozen food aisle is not all mediocre TV dinners and dubious ingredients.

In fact, we recently got the chance to try a variety of breakfast items from Good Food Made Simple. What a pleasant surprise!

Here’s a little bit about the company’s products:

logo_1Good Food Made Simple products are made with all-natural ingredients packed into quick, convenient and delicious meals, ready for your table in minutes.

Over the years, consumers have reached for packaged foods because of convenience – without recognizing the health implications associated with some of the ingredients. Good Food Made Simple offers the same level of convenience without the unhealthy ingredient list.

Good Food Made Simple products include several varieties of frozen oatmeal, egg patties, breakfast burritos, breakfast bowls, mac ‘n cheese and entrée burritos.

Consumers can rely on Good Food Made Simple as the trusted brand for delicious products made with only clean ingredients

For more information, visit Good Food Made Simple on the web, on Facebook and on Twitter.

The kids and I found these entrees to be super tasty and I loved that their ingredients list were pretty clean. While I make so much homemade, I’m happy to take whatever shortcuts I can.

Go for quick prep.

A quick prep meal really isn’t that far out of your reach. Something you cook at home quickly is far better than a drive under the arches. Plus, it will be tastier, and healthier, too.

What’s one of YOUR favorite quick-fix meals?

Disclosure: I’ve been compensated for my time spent writing. All opinions are my own.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Jenni says

    Thank you for making freezer cooking so practical. It was something I had always wanted to do, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I got your freezer cookbook about 6 months ago. My monthly meal plans/shopping list have been more consice. Meal prep has been fun again. I have even got way more creative.

    The last few weeks have been VERY tight on our budget. In a scary way. But I’m so amazed how the LORD provides through work I did a month or two ago. I keep “finding” food I prepared that I forgot about. That or He is doing a bread and fish miracle in my pantry!

    But thank you for your practical inspiration 😉

  2. Ramen noodles tossed with peanut sauce, shredded carrots and chicken, topped with cilantro, green onion and peanuts. Takes just a few minutes if I have leftover chicken.

  3. Every week I grill (or in the winter roast) a whole chicken. After my husband, son and I share one chicken meal, I pick the rest of the meat off, so I can make chicken salad, pad thai, wraps, or whatever super easily. Also, I cook black beans in the crockpot (no overnight soak necessary), so that makes meatless meals a snap to prepare (note black beans last no more than a week in the fridge and can cause quite a stink).

    If I’ve got ingredients pulled together, dinner is a snap, but if the components have to be made individually, we usually end up without any side dishes to round out a meal.

  4. Stephanie M. says

    One quick meal I make is spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and parsley. Cook spaghetti and drain in a colander. In a small saucepan, heat oil, add garlic and sautee for a few minutes and pour over pasta. Toss with parsley. That takes no time at all. Another quick meal is if you have leftover pasta, or even if you don’t, either use the leftover or cook some and let it cool. In a large skillet, fry pasta in butter and add some ham cubes if you have them or I use cut up deli ham. When that’s been cooking for a few minutes, in a bowl, whisk several eggs and pour over pasta and ham and cook till eggs are done. You can do this a couple of ways: cook till eggs are done or cook a little longer till a crust is formed and it’s like a frittata. Serve with a salad and the meal is ready. Another good one is brown some boneless chicken breasts in a little oil; remove and set aside; to the same skillet, add sliced red and green bell peppers, one beef boullion cube, about 2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream mixed with a little water, one small can (8 oz.) tomato sauce, and two tomato sauce cans filled with water. Return chicken to skillet and simmer for about 35 minutes. Serve over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes. I can go on and on. Some of the best meals in the world are ones that are not complicated and are ready quickly.

  5. Stephanie M. says

    OOOPS, I made a mistake. With regard to the above post and the chicken and peppers recipe, I forgot to say that before browning the chicken, coat with egg and breadcrumbs. Then brown and proceed as directed. Sorry for any inconvenience. My husband and I are hosting a garage sale tomorrow. We’ve been up since 5:00 this morning organizing and pricing everything and tomorrow we’ll be up again at 5:00. WE’RE TIRED!!!!

  6. Kris says

    Thanks for sharing about Good Food Made Simple – their products look great! And the meal prep printable could be a lifesaver for planning ahead! 🙂

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