How to Turn a Few Store Bought Items into an Easy Summer Dinner


Have you opened your fridge, and thought “I have nothing for dinner”?

When it’s 100 degrees out and we are busy trying to juggle work, summer camp and fun activities, it is hard for us to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking. I truly love to cook, but I find myself with limited time during the summer when the day revolves around taking kids back and forth to their summer activities, swimming lessons and so on. Getting home and being asked what we are having for dinner is probably the phrase I dread the most during the summer. Besides this delicious roasted chicken recipe, I like to serve no fuss options during the summer.

If you are in the same boat, here are 5 options on how to turn a few store bought items into a quick and easy summer dinner. These shareable platters make a great meal on its own or can be used as an appetizer to complement your dinner.

I like to use bento boxes or wooden boards. It makes dinner more casual and kids will sometimes ask to do an indoor picnic and a movie, which makes a great movie night! These casual dinner platters are also a great way for kids to try something new since the portions are small.

Mediterranean Mezze: a platter of hummus, labneh, baba ghanoush, Kalamata olives, stuffed grape leaves, feta cheese, pita bread, tzatzki sauce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber sticks, tabuleh

Tapas: Jamon Serrano, Manchego cheese, Olives, toasted baguette and a garlic tomato sauce that is a true Andalusian classic, romesco spread, marinated mushrooms, Spanish Tortilla

Italian platter: cured meats, breadsticks, stuffed olives, bruschetta & pesto spreads, grilled artichokes, nuts, dried fruit, grilled focaccia, sliced bell peppers, mini mozzarella balls

Mexican botana: sliced carrots, cucumbers & jicama (if available), lime, and chili powder, queso Oaxaca, tostadas, esquites (street corn), mini quesadillas, taquitos and salsa

French: Baguette, cheese, cured meats, cornichons, grapes, tapenade, berries, mini crepes, and mini quiches

Possibilities are endless if you pick a different country each week! I am thinking of doing that with my kids. I thought it would be fun to learn about a country and compliment it with an appetizer platter from that country. I find my kids will eat a lot more new items when the food is presented this way and I always try to encourage them to try at least one new item.

Trader Joe’s and Sprouts are my go to for mini hot appetizers that I can add to these boards. I also decided to purchase a bag of International Party Picks to make it fun and interesting for the kids.

Hopefully next time you feel you don’t have anything for dinner, these tips will come in handy to create a quick dinner option.


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