Summer Meal Planning Tips (Video)

Summer Meal Planning Tips

Like me, do you dread turning on the oven to cook dinner when it’s sweltering hot outside? Sure, you can use the grill and we do use ours quite a bit during the summer.  But what if it’s raining?  Here are some meal planning tips to keep your kitchen cool this summer!

 

  • Pan Frying Meats or Stir Frying Veggies on the Stovetop

  • Toaster Oven – Bake a single piece of salmon, a small batch of sweet potato fries, or a few dinner rolls.

  • Crock Pot – Use it year round!

  • Veggie Steamer

  • Of course, the grill!  Try batch cooking a whole bag of frozen chicken breasts.  Dice up the extras and toss it onto salads for those nights you don’t want to cook at all.

Meal Planning Monday ~ The Fruits of Summer

 

Today’s post is written by Kim Bergeron of Extreme Coupon Professors.

Summer certainly brings different meals to our table than at winter time. I love using fresh fruits and veggies whenever I can. They’re easily at our disposal and if we are buying them at the stores, they’re at a much more reasonable price.

I’m going to start with a simple blueberry muffin recipe. This recipe is different than any other kind I’ve made. The key ingredient is sour cream. You’ve got to try them, they’ll be a hit in your home as they are in ours.  My sister-in- law raves over these muffins, so I just had to try them! Yep, she’s right! So moist and delicious. It’s a keeper!

Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins

Ingredients: 

2 1/2 Cups of flour + 1 Tbsp for dusting the blueberries
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of plain sour cream
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon or orange zest
2 cups of blueberries (If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw)

Directions:

Place blueberries in a bowl, sprinkle 1 Tbsp of flour and gently coat.
Preheat over to 400

In a large mixing bowl, place sour cream sugar, eggs, milk, melted butter, zest and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time. Mix until blended. Mixture will be thick. 
Gently fold in blueberries.

Place liners in muffin pans or grease generously.
Fill muffin cups to the top, it will not spill over. ( I like to sprinkle my muffins with coarse sugar before baking)

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-22 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy!!!

Recipe made 18 muffins.

 

Another breakfast recipe that I made over the weekend was Peach Stuffed French Toast. I’m telling you now, you’ll want to make this quite often and it probably won’t be for just breakfast.  I found this recipe in our local grocery store magazine, called Fresh Magazine, and I made a few changes to it to suit my taste.

The filling had just the right cream cheese and sweetness consistency. Though the recipe says it serves 4, we served 6. Certainly, you could add more filling to each serving, but I think it would have been too sweet and gooey for me. The recipe called for white peaches, but the Georgia peaches were on sale, so you know we went with those. I used 3 peaches for the recipe and I also used French Toast Bread. I love my french toast really thick.

I’ll be using this recipe over and over again, and switch it up a bit by using the fruits that are in season. Blueberries will be delicious as well as strawberries and apples.

Have fun, be creative and enjoy.  And get ready to become an addict of Peach Stuffed French Toast.

I recently made an easy chicken dinner with peaches and plums.  Again, with the great prices on fruit and low prices of chicken around here, we’re making delicious meals on a low budget. Who doesn’t appreciate that. I served this with a shrimp and veggie pasta salad and had a sweet ending of strawberry stuffed whoopie pies. I know what you’re thinking. You want to join us at our house for dinner every night. I’d love to have you anytime!

You can get  our Chicken, Pasta and Whoopie Pie recipes HERE. 

Always remember, make the recipe yours. If you prefer chicken breasts over thighs, use them. If you like peaches more than plums, use them. You know your tastes and your family’s taste. I love finding new recipes, but I want to make sure my family will love them too when I bring the plates to the table.

I’m a wife, mommy and a lover of life enjoying everything from playing board games to cooking to traveling. Finding deals for our family has allowed us to do the fun things in life with enjoyment and less stress. When I find a deal I’ll always share it on my blog, Extreme Coupon Professors. Hop on over to see all the ways to save! 

 

 

Meal Planning Monday ~ Best of Summer

 

Happy Memorial Day!  Much love and respect to our troops, past and present, and to the families of our fallen soldiers.

I know that the official first day of summer is June 21st, but for me the start of summer is Memorial Day weekend.  Everyone is out manning the grills, mowing the lawns, and opening the swimming pools.  So I thought I would highlight some of the “Best of Summer” Meal Planning posts so you can make sure your summer meals are both easy and tasty.  Here are some of my favorites!

 

Save Big, But Still Impress, at Your Summer BBQ ~ How to have an awesome BBQ without breaking the bank!
Favorite Picnic Side Dishes ~ Inspiration for your side dishes to accompany your burgers and hot dogs!
Keeping It Cool in the Kitchen ~ Get tips for cooking great summer meals without heating up the kitchen.
Summer Desserts ~ A round up of sweet, cool treats for hot, sticky days!
I am an Ice Cream Evil Genius!  For those of you with an ice cream maker, don’t miss these delicious recipes.
Happy Campers ~ Great recipes for your summer camping trips.
Summer Fun ~ These aren’t recipes to eat, but for fun activities to keep your kids occupied and happy all summer!
What are  your best tips for successful meal planning during the summer months?

Meal Planning Monday ~ Summer Desserts

 

This week’s blog post is by Christine Luken.

Nothing makes it feel more like summer than hearing the jingle of the music from the ice cream truck coming down the street.  When I was a kid, my favorite treats from the ice cream man were the red-white-and-blue bomb pops and ice cream sandwiches.  My brother loved the orange push-up pops and Drumsticks.  I’m not sure that any of us outgrow that love of frosty desserts when the weather is hot.  So, I thought that this week, I would share some ideas and recipes for grown-up summer desserts that are both healthy and delicious.

Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream – My friend Shirley shared this recipe on Facebook and I can’t wait to try it!  There are only three ingredients: coconut milk, vanilla, and honey.  Anything coconut reminds me of my vacations in Hawaii, so I’m sure I’ll love it.  Plus, there’s no dairy in this ice “cream” so you can eat it even if you’re lactose-intolerant!  You will need an ice cream machine to make it, which I don’t currently have.  My husband is a huge ice cream fan, so I think I know what I’m getting Nick for his birthday in a few weeks!

Freezy PB S’mores Sandwiches – I recently downloaded the new dessert cookbook from Hungry Girl, Just Desserts: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories.  I’ve been on a chocolate and peanut butter kick lately, so I was eager to try this recipe.  Take 1/3 cup of Cool Whip Free, mix it with 2 teaspoons of powdered peanut butter (like PB2), 8 miniature marshmallows, and 1 tsp. mini chocolate chips.  Take one graham cracker sheet and break it in half.  Spread the Cool Whip mixture in between the graham crackers to make a sandwich.  Freeze for 90 minutes or until filling is firm.  It’s a lot of yum for only 160 calories!  Make a bunch and freeze them in individual sandwich baggies so you can grab one whenever the mood strikes you.

Angel Food Cake with Berries - Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are coming in season right now, so take advantage of their yummy ripeness with this easy dessert!  Mix one 6 to 8 oz. container of lemon Greek yogurt with one cup of Cool Whip.  If you can’t find lemon flavored Greek yogurt, mix 1 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice with a container of vanilla Greek yogurt before combining with the Cool Whip.  Take a slice of store-bought angel food cake and top it with a dollop of the yogurt/ Cool Whip mixture then top with fresh (or freshly frozen) berries.  Absolutely delicious!

Protein Milk Shakes – Milk shakes are awesome, but they can really derail your healthy eating plan because of all the sugar.  Burger King’s small (12 ounce) chocolate milk shake has 588 calories and NINETY GRAMS OF SUGAR!  Holy moly!  (Don’t believe me?  Check it out on Calorie King for yourself.)  The good news is that you can have a tasty protein shake that will satisfy your cravings without all those calories and sugar grams. Diet Free Life has a bunch of great smoothie recipes, like Apple Surprise and the Coconut Berry Smoothie.  I freeze berries and ripe bananas for smoothies on a regular basis.  Lately, I’ve been taking my Chocolate Fit Pro and putting it in the blender with a few ice cubes and a tablespoon of PB2.  (I told you I was on a peanut butter and chocolate kick!)  The great news is that there are only about 200 calories and 10 grams of sugar – plus 28 grams of protein! – in my chocolate “milk shake.”  It tastes so great, I can’t even believe that it’s so good for me!

What is your favorite summer dessert?

 

Summer Fun

This week’s post is by Leah Kelley.                   

“I’m sooo bored.”  

“Mom, there’s nothing to do.”

“Can we go to the zoo?  Can we go to the park?  Can we go to the movies?”  

            Oh my goodness child, it’s only the second week of summer break and you’re bored?!  It’s going to be a loooong summer.  I’m sure there are more than a few parents right now thinking this exact same thing.  Luckily, I started preparing for the “summer boredom blues” a few months back.  Each time I went to the store, I picked up a craft item like popsicle sticks, coloring books, and Play-Doh to name a few.  I also looked on Pinterest and found some great ideas to keep the kids busy.  Instead of doing my meal plan for this week, I thought I’d share a few ways to help keep those summer boredom blues away. 

 

Noodle Time! ~ I love this idea! Not only is it cheap, (Walmart has pool noodles for $1.88 and a pack of balloons for $1.) but also it will help get some of the pent up energy out of the kids.  Grab a couple pool swim noodles and a blow up a few balloons and let the kids whack away. 

Bug Hunt ~ If you have boys, they will especially love this game!  Draw a few bugs on a piece of paper (or grab some bug stickers at the Dollar Store).  Then take a magnifying glass, and go out in the backyard and see how many of each bug you can find.  You can also put birds, snakes, or even squirrels on the list. 

Play-Doh ~ What kid doesn’t like playing with Play-Doh?  I did pick up a few packs at the Dollar Store, but I do plan on making my own, too.  (See recipe below.)  It’s so easy to make and the kids will have fun helping you. 

Sidewalk Chalk ~ If you’re feeling really crafty you can make your own or you can grab some at the store for your budding artists.  

Bath Paints ~ I have to try this!  Mix shaving cream and food coloring, throw the kids in the tub, give them some brushes, and see the wonderful masterpieces they create.  I LOVE this idea!

Colored Pasta ~ Looking for a fun food craft?  Have the kids help you dye pasta for dinner!  You need food coloring, pasta, baggies, and vinegar.  Divide pasta into bags put about a teaspoon of vinegar into each bag with a few drops of food coloring, close bag and shake to distribute food coloring, then open bag to dry.  Cook your pasta as usual.

Bubbles ~ Kids loves bubbles and so it seems that we’re always running out.  In a pinch, you can make your own and keep the kids entertained for pennies!

Have fun this summer with your kids!  It doesn’t take a lot of money to keep them entertained.  :)

 

Rainbow Glitter Play-Doh  (adapted from Family Fun magazine)

Supplies

  •  2 cups white flour
  • 2 cups water, tinted with food coloring (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • Plastic gloves (optional)
  • Airtight containers
  • Coordinating colored glitter

 Directions

1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture holds together, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside until the dough is cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes.  Turn the clay onto a waxed-paper-lined countertop and knead it for 2 to 3 minutes.  Roll the dough in color coordinating glitter.

3. Once the dough is completely cool, pack it in the spice jars or in airtight containers.