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Summer Dinners Made Simple

If you’re like me, you struggle to find motivation to cook during the summer. There are so many great ways to make healthy and delicious meals during the summer including using the grill or the electric pressure cooker. Here are some ideas for simple summer dinners.

Salads

There are many different ways to make delicious and healthy salads. Just watch what ingredients you put into the salad and use dressing sparingly.

  1.   Classic tossed salad – choose dark leafy greens like romaine or spinach for your base and add some bright vegetables such as bell peppers or carrots. You can also add fruit and lean protein such as turkey or chicken.
  2. Couscous salad – this healthy and low-fat grain cooks quickly and makes a great salad. Cook the couscous according to the directions. Once cooled and add some feta or goat cheese, olives, cucumbers, raw and roasted tomatoes, and a dash of herbs.
  3. Pasta salad – easy to make and versatile. Use a strong pasta shape like bow tie to keep the pasta from getting mushy. You can add just about any vegetable you like, but try to use an assortment of colorful vegetables to create a delicious and healthy palette.

Grill

Most meats and seafood can be cooked on the grill, but lots of veggies are delicious grilled too.

  1. Meat, poultry, and seafood – marinade or season prior to cooking. Turn the food over at least once during cooking to ensure even cooking. Try to avoid charring the meat and use a food thermometer to check for doneness. Foods should reach the following minimum internal temperatures:
    • Chicken – 165°F
    • Ground meats – 160°F
    • Steaks, chops, and roasts of beef, pork, or lamb – 145°F
    • Fish and shellfish – 145°F
  2. Kabobs – this versatile grill staple is easy to make for both vegetarians and meat lovers. For the meat lovers, use marinated chicken, beef, or pork cut into 1” cubes and put on skewers. Grill, turning occasionally, to minimum internal temperatures listed above. For the vegetarian, use whole cherry tomatoes and zucchini, squash, and bell peppers cut into 1” pieces and put on skewers and grill to desired doneness for a delicious summer dinner. You could also do meat and veggies on a single skewer.  
  3. Grilled veggies – corn on the cob, Portobello mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and broccoli are great vegetables to cook on the grill. Slice them up into large pieces or keep them whole, brush with olive oil, and grill on a clean grill until cooked to desired doneness.
  4. Foil packet meals – a variety of different dinner can be cooked in a foil packet on the grill or an open campfire. Steak, garlic and potatoes and cajun shrimp with corn are just two examples of delicious and healthy foil meals you can make.

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