Thursday, July 18, 2013

summer dinner ideas!

If you're anything like me, the season/weather definitely has an effect on your food mood.  For example, in the two weeks of winter that Texas usually has, I love making hearty soups and sippin' on hot chocolate.  Give me anything with cinnamon, nutmeg, and spice around October, and I'll be your best friend.  Spring calls for dishes full of fresh fruits and veggies.  But summer?  I want something light.  Fresh salad, pasta dishes that don't pile on the sauce, anything that comes together quick!  I want to get in and out of the kitchen so I can get back to the pool.

I've been trying out some summer dishes recently, and I've come across a couple of jewels.  Here we go!

Up first is this simple pasta.  It includes whole grain pasta, zucchini, peas, pancetta, and an olive oil dressing.  The sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top pulls the whole thing together!

Summer Pasta

The next thing I discovered was great because it was quick and simple to put together and also appealed to Austin's Mexican tooth (that's like a sweet tooth but for people who really like Mexican food).  It's basically a bunch of stuff all mixed together and stuffed into a whole wheat pita.  This mixture of black beans, corn, tomato, avocado, cilantro, and lime is also great on its own or on top of some tortilla chips.  Top it off with your favorite salsa and serve it with a side of fresh fruit!

I also added in some shredded chicken seasoned with chili powder, cumin, and a sprinkle of cayenne because Austin hates eating things that don't have meat (he's a MAN).

Mexican Pitas

I saw this next dish on The Pioneer Woman's TV show.  I searched and searched for her recipe, but I couldn't find it!  I decided to forge onward and just make it from memory.  It turned out GREAT.  If you make one thing from this post, this herb flat bread should but it.  I made the flat bread as a side dish for this roasted chicken breast.  To make the chicken I just seasoned the breasts with salt, pepper, and a little garlic salt with parsley.  I seared both sides of the chicken in a pan with some olive oil for like 4 minutes per side and then stuck it in a 350 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes.  

To make the bread I just used Ree's pizza crust recipe, drizzled on some olive oil, then topped it with slices of fresh mozzarella.  After it baked in the oven (set at 500 degrees) for about 10-12 minutes, I pulled it out and topped it with some arugula, basil, and parsley that had been dressed with a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Yum!!!

Another pasta dish that I tried an loved was this pasta with broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese.  I'm not a giant fan of plain ol' goat cheese, but when it's mixed into this dish it's really nice.  Just a tang of flavor and creaminess.  

Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta

Finally, I tried this roasted chicken in my crock pot earlier this week.  The chicken came out tasting just like those rotisserie kinds that you can get at the grocery store.  It was so easy!  I made some green beans and roasted potatoes on the side (click here for the beans recipe from the lady okie, and for the potatoes: cut into bite size pieces, put on a foil-lined sheet pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic salt and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes).  Austin put some BBQ sauce on top of his chicken, and it was great!  I just ate mine plain, and that was also quite tasty.

Crock Pot Roasted Chicken

So there you have it.  Five dishes that are perfect for these hot summer nights.  Hopefully you've found something you might want to try!  


  1. I totally have a Mexican tooth! I just never knew that was the technical term for it. ;) Those pitas need to get in my belly. They basically contain all my favorite things. I always struggle to put together a pita that isn't too dry; this might just fit the bill.

    1. Yeah try it out! It was so easy to make, and it is definitely delicious!