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Easy Summer Dinner Ideas

Figuring out what to make for dinner is annoying. It’s especially annoying when it’s too hot to turn on the oven and the threat of severe thunderstorms rules out grilling.

Here’s a few ideas to try with the family tonight:

As with most of my ‘recipes’ it’s all about using what you like and what you have around. There are no real hard and fast rules when it comes to cooking, at least in my book. Just roll with it.

1. Garbage Dip

garbage dip
Flickr user manda_wong

This one is good because it requires ZERO COOKING.

Drain a can of black beans and white corn into a bowl. Add chopped cucumber, diced red onion, avocado, and diced tomatoes. Depending on what mood you’re in, you can add either Italian Dressing or some salsa with a little fresh cilantro.

Serve it over lettuce as a salad or use it as a dip with pita or tortilla chips.

2. Breakfast for Dinner

dinner omelette
Flickr user Jon Juan

Most kids get a kick out of this idea. (Oh, that Mom, she’s so wacky…)

The easiest for everyone? A giant omelette. (If you want to feel fancy, throw it in the oven and call it a frittata.)

Enough eggs for however many you need to feed, a little milk to make it fluffy, then it’s all you. The possibilities are endless: cheddar, mozzarella, feta, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, peppers, onions…whatever you have, give it a whirl. Use egg whites if your heart desires.

(Just for honesty’s sake, my “omelette skills” are lacking, so these tend to turn out as egg scrambles, whatever, they still taste good, and that’s why I’m employed as a radio DJ, not a short order cook.)

I’d also recommend pancakes (bonus points if you make them in fun shapes/colors) or French toast (dip bread in eggs/milk/cinnamon/vanilla then cook in a pan on low heat).

3. Summer Pizzas

flatbread pizza
Ron Dollette, Flickr

These can be done any number of ways…again depending on the flavors you and your family like.

Start from the bottom up. Sure you can use store-bought pizza shells, but I prefer flatbreads, whole wheat pitas, tortillas, or English Muffins.

Next, you can use any kind of tomato sauce you have. (just use a jar, it’s gonna be okay, I promise) If you hate tomato sauce, don’t use it. Try salsa, barbecue sauce, or do what I do, and don’t use sauce at all. (OH NO SHE DIDN’T!) Oh, yes, I did.

When it comes to toppings? Go nuts. (Literally, if it suits your fancy.) Tomatoes, peppers, onion, prosciutto, arugula, basil, pineapple, pine nuts, olives, mozzarella, feta, colby jack, chicken, bacon, ham, WHATEVER YOU HAVE. The only thing to remember is that if you are going to cook it, leave the leafy stuff off until after it comes off the grill, out of the oven, etc.

You can cook them over foil on the grill, on a cookie sheet in the oven, in a toaster oven, or just lightly warm the pitas/flatbreads over the open flame on the stove.

My favorite: Drizzle a plain flatbread with a little olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and granulated garlic…bake at 350 for about 5 minutes. Take it out, and top with sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, cooked spinach, black olives, parmesan and feta cheese. Back into the oven until everything is warmed up and the cheese is good and melty.

I also like brushing a baked pizza shell with reduced balsamic vinegar, and while it’s still warm, topping it with a mixed green salad tossed with a little salt, pepper, garlic, balsamic and olive oil. Awesome.

The trick is to play around and see what you come up with. Don’t stress, it’s summertime!

What’s for dinner at your house tonight? Tell us below!

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