As the hot, hot, HOT Phoenix summer trudges on, we all can use some inspiration in the kitchen… especially when we’re busy with our wonderful kiddos or we don’t feel like standing over a hot stove. Here are a few new ideas to try- hopefully they can add some more options to your summer menu!
This is one of my favorites to keep in the fridge for an easy snack or lunch. It tastes great cold or room temperature, is healthy, and is so easy to make!
-1 cup orzo pasta
-1 quart fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped or torn
-3 Tbsp each olive oil and red wine vinegar
-1/2 tsp each dried oregano and basil
-1 can black olives (regular or kalamata, depending on preference)
-1 can sun-dried tomatoes in oil (or fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half)
Cook the orzo pasta. Meanwhile, mix oil, vinegar, oregano, basil, and ½ tsp salt together. Drain pasta, rinse till cool, then drain again. In a large bowl, mix spinach, orzo, tomatoes, olives, and dressing. Serve room temperature or chilled.
Ham and Lentil Stew (Slow Cooker)
I know stew isn’t one of the things that first comes to mind for summertime cooking, but this recipe is so good that I use it year-round. It’s healthy, is great for leftovers, and is packed with veggies. In the summer, I serve it warm, not piping hot, along with a chilled fresh fruit salad and some corn on the cob. It’s great to have the slow cooker do all the work!
-3 c. diced ham
-2 c. dried lentils
-2 c. each diced carrots and celery
-1 c. chopped onion
-1 Tbsp. minced garlic
-4 c. water
-1 tsp. dried oregano
-2 cans (10.5 oz each) chicken broth
-1 bag spinach leaves
-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Mix all ingredients except the spinach leaves and lemon juice in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours, or low 7-8 hours, until lentils are tender. Just before serving, stir in spinach leaves and cook 5 more minutes. Stir in lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
I received some fresh mint from our food co-op and didn’t know what to do with it, until I found this recipe online. This is so refreshing and easy to make!
-1 cup mint simple syrup
-1 cup lemon juice (4-5 fresh lemons yields about this much juice)
-3 cups water (or more, depending on how concentrated you like your lemonade)
To make the mint simple syrup:
-Stir together 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup fresh mint leaves
-Bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute
-Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes
-Strain out the mint leaves and refrigerate the syrup until chilled (or make the lemonade and put it in the fridge to chill)
And there you have it! A few new easy summer dishes. Now, what are your go-to easy summer recipes?