Summer is the time to relax and spend more time outside than in. No one wants to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen, but there are so many fresh ingredients to take advantage of! Here are 5 simple summer suppers that are cost effective, taste great, and won’t have you sweating at the stove!
1. Spaghetti with chicken meatballs and greens
Spaghetti is a staple in most houses because it’s cheap, non-perishable and pretty quick to make. This summer, I have been spicing up this simple meal by adding meat and summer greens. Last week we picked up a pack of al fresco tomato basil chicken meatballs for about $4.99. At 40 calories per meatball and 60% less fat, these pre-cooked meatballs were the perfect addition to our spaghetti dinner.
Also, hidden in the sauce is cooked collard greens, something we got in last week’s farm share. I love hiding green veggies in spaghetti sauce because you can’t taste them but you get all their nutritional importance. I topped off this dish with some fresh basil leaves, also from last week’s farm share to give it a fresh kick. Altogether, this meal took about 20 minutes to throw together (no prep) and cost less than $10 total.
2. Crock Pot Fiesta Chicken
1 jar of salsa + 2 chicken breasts = fiesta chicken. It just doesn’t get easier. Just throw those 2 ingredients into the crock pot along with maybe 1/2 cup of water, and cook it on low for 8 hrs. While you are spending your day at the pool, the chicken will fall apart just like pulled pork after spending the day cooking in it’s own juices. I like to use a chunky medium heat salsa, sometimes one with corn and black beans but you can customize it anyway you want. This costs about $3.50 to make and these is such little effort involved. You can eat it plain, or put it on a salad, a bun, or inside a taco shell! There are so many ways to enjoy this and make it your own.
3. Pork Tenderloin
Buried in the meat section of the supermarket are these great pork tenderloins by Hatfield. They are pre-seasoned and 9 times out of 10, they are buy one get one free which roughly comes out to about $4.50 per loin. There are many different flavors to chose from so there is something for every pork lover.
Again, no prep for this meal, you simply heat the oven to 375 and cook the meat for about 30 minutes or until it’s cooked to your liking. They always come out smelling great and tasting juicy! It’s great on it’s own or sometimes I eat the leftovers in a salad. I like to serve it up with some summer veggies. It’s cheap, easy, are takes VERY little effort. WIN, WIN, WIN.
4. Chicken and veggies
Chicken is a staple in our house. It’s generally the cheapest meat you can buy, and it comes in many forms so we never get bored. Chicken thighs and drumsticks are among the most cost effective, costing anywhere from $0.99-$1.99 a pound depending on the place and sale. Boneless thighs are great in soups and casseroles, and this recipe is super simple. In a casserole dish, put boneless, skinless thighs in the middle and surround them with chopped vegetables. For this batch, I used russet potatoes, carrots, and white onions. Next, cover in desired seasonings which for me is Montreal Chicken, salt, pepper, and parsley. Finally, pour about 1 1/2 cups of water into the dish, making sure there is a good 1/4 inch of water throughout. Just pop it into the oven at 375 and cook for about 30 minutes. Again, this meal has no real prep, and takes less than 45 minutes from start to finish. Plus, if you buy on sale, can cost as little as $5 for the whole dish!
5. Chicken Bruschetta Bake
This has become a favorite in my house and it’s sure to become a favorite of yours too. There are 4 main ingredients, most of which you probably have hidden in your pantry. It’s so simple to make and the flavor combo is unexpectedly amazing.
Simple right? And it comes out soooo good! I know that when you hear stuffing you think Thanksgiving flavors, but the tomato-chicken combo really works! Once again, if you break it all down it probably costs less then $5 to make.
What are some of your favorite summer meals?