As I sit here typing this, the rain is pouring down, but hopefully we will soon be enjoying more sunny, warm days and nice long evenings.
It’s time to dust the BBQ off, load up with fresh veggies and get cooking. The nice thing about summer eating is that it doesn’t have to involve a lot of preparation or cooking time. Keep it simple, keep it fresh.
I thought this month I’d list some suggestions for easy summer meals. Remember that meal planning really helps make life easier and if you always have a few basics on hand you can throw something together pretty quickly.
Skewers. Choose your protein: chicken, lamb, beef, salmon, haloumi or tofu. Add veggies such as chopped tomato, capsicum, red onion, mushrooms or zucchini.Brush with oil and pop on the grill.You could dust the protein with dried herbs or spices and add finely chopped garlic to the oil. Perhaps make a Tzatziki dip to put on the cooked skewers. You can make the meat go a long way by adding lots of veggies.
Wrap thinly sliced bacon around a few lightly steamed asparagus spears and pop on the grill until the bacon is cooked. If you are in a hurry, make scrambled eggs to go with them and you have a complete meal in 15 minutes.
Make bunless burgers. Iceberg lettuce makes great wraps or cups in place of bread or rolls. They work well too for a salad wrap, just add your protein and veggies and roll up. A bit messy, but filling and crisp.
Experiment with different veggies in your salad. As well as the normal salad veggies, try very lightly steaming small broccoli florets, or asparagus, or other veggies and add those to a salad. Perhaps with a yoghurt type dressing.
Add a few sliced strawberries to your salad for colour and sweetness.
Add a small amount of baby beetroot, either vacuum packed pre-cooked ones or roast your own.
Add nuts or seeds to your salad for a bit of crunch.
Salads shouldn’t be boring, they should be bursting with colour, texture and flavour. Remember, half your meal should come from veggies.
Try a chicken pizza without the base and make extra for lunchtime leftovers.
Make a Frittata using up stray veggies from the fridge
Unsweetened yoghurt mixed with grated cucumber and chopped mint makes a lovely dip or dressing. Season to taste. It is great with lamb.
Strawberries make for a sweet treat to end your meal, either or one two big ones to munch on, or a couple of chopped strawberries with a small amount of unsweetened yoghurt. Enjoy them while they are in season.
For an easy after dinner treat, try this chocolate peanut slice. Remember it is a treat!
One of the big things to beware of over summer are the nibbles and drinks. Long summer days lend themselves to grazing and enjoying a glass or two of something alcoholic. Remember that two glasses of wine and a few nibbles very easily add up to more than your dinner, in some cases two dinners, and then you actually have dinner. Enough said!