On a hot summer day, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven to prepare a piping hot meal. Unfortunately, your kids’ appetites won’t wait until your body temperature drops 20 degrees. Some quick, easy meal ideas help keep your family satisfied, while allowing you to avoid the oven.
Pasta salads cool you down when served chilled. You can prepare pasta salads quickly, and they can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Pick a pasta, such as bowtie, elbow macaroni, rotini or ziti, and add your kids’ favorite mix-ins. Choose cubes of chicken, ham, shredded cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, olives, celery slices, chopped peppers or spinach. Toss the ingredients with a fat-free ranch or flavorful tomato and bacon dressing. Involve your children in the preparation of your pasta salads. Not only will it make your kids more excited about eating the dish, but it will also reduce the preparation time even more.
Sandwiches are not only quick and easy to prepare, but they are also portable, which makes them ideal for hot days at the beach or by the pool. Because there are so many possibilities when it comes to sandwiches, you can make them regularly without your kids getting bored of lunchtime. Serve classic peanut butter and jelly, or add a twist and serve peanut butter and sliced bananas. If your children prefer meat-based sandwiches, include turkey or ham with a little cheese. Don’t forget some cut-up vegetables or fruit to serve on the side.
Getting your children to eat salad may be somewhat of a challenge, but on a hot day, a Caesar salad might be just what they want. Cut up romaine lettuce and add croutons, flaked Parmesan cheese, black pepper and Caesar dressing. If you happen to have leftover chicken on hand, cut it into cubes and toss that into your salad, or buy a cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and add shredded chicken.
While you may not be inclined to use your oven on a hot day, grills were made for the summertime. Grab some ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken, add some spices and seasoning, and shape some hamburger patties. If you prefer, pick up some premade fresh or frozen hamburger patties to save time. Serve grilled burgers with your kids’ choice of lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise or a flavorful salad dressing. Add a side of grilled corn on the cob or grilled russet potatoes.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images