Fresh Out Of Ideas

Well, I am sitting here watching the finale of The Bachelorette even though I didn’t watch a single episode after the season premiere. But I read something earlier this week about THE MOST DRAMATIC HEARTBREAK EVER, so I tuned in tonight to see how everything pans out. So far it seems to me that Des must have been attracted to the hipster type, because the guy she just sent home is so earnest in expressing his thoughts and reactions that I am sort of halfway waiting for him to pull out a guitar and convey those feelings in an impromptu yet heartfelt song.

Also, based on the five minutes of island footage that I have seen so far, I think that I would like to go to Antigua. Like, tomorrow. Please and thank you.

This morning I had a meeting at 8, which is about the same time that I’ve been hauling myself out of bed the last five or six weeks. I was very puzzled and confused when I heard the alarm, and I’ve spent the rest of the day yawning and, as my mama always says, “resting my eyes.”

After lunch I did manage to make a quick trip to the grocery store, and I don’t think I’ve ever been in a greater state of meal-planning desperation. It’s so humid here, which means that I don’t want to cook anything that will make my kitchen hot, but by the same token I’ve just about burned out all of us on Meals Involving The Grill. I am normally all about shopping the perimeter of the store and buying lots of fresh stuff and blah blah blah blahtedy blah, but today was my grocery store equivalent of saying, “SUMMER, YOU HAVE WORN ME DOWN.” The only – ONLY – item of produce in my car was one lone Vidalia onion, and I’m too embarrassed to tell you what else I bought. Just suffice it to say three things: 1) it’s a time of the month when junk food is very appealing 2) I relied heavily on potato chips wisdom from last week and 3) for tonight’s vegetable I served baked beans, which, honestly, only qualifies as a vegetable on a technicality.

So. What are y’all doing for supper during these dog days of summer? Keep in mind that I am iffy at best on anything involving a red sauce, and a cold soup would never fly in this house. But if you have any ideas that are simple and quick and LO, EVEN HEALTHY, I would love to hear them. Because my supper rut is so deep that it may be November before I find my way out.

Muchas gracias in advance, bloggy people.

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  1. Kathleen G says:

    Wow, my name & e-mail just came up. Easy. Thanks. Well today I had chicken in the fridge & well, its still there. My husband had to stop at Costco & suffice to say, we had Costco pizza & chocolate yogurt. Sorry, no help here. But hey, its hot & humid here in Phoenix. Hopefully I too, can get some ideas. But don’t we all get burnt out figuring what to make for dinner. Hey Boomama I’ve been on those shopping trips myself. Good luck with other posts.

  2. Love your blog! I am waving the the white flag at summer, too………… My men love to eat. Try taco spaghetti. Try pork loin in le crockpot. Good Luck! Be strong…college football is beckoning!

  3. Same rut here too. :) I despise the oven and I’m over the crockpot. We’ve had one recipe on rotation this summer that is still a hit every time with the husb and 4 kiddos. We serve it with fresh buttered bread and a simple salad. We don’t have leftovers.

    Fusilli with Garlic Pesto

    15 cloves garlic, peeled
    1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
    1 pound dried fusilli
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
    2 tablespoons finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese (1/2 ounce)
    3/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup small fresh basil leaves
    1/4 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese (1 ounce)

    1. In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, cook garlic cloves in a large amount of boiling salted water for 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic to a blender. Add the 1/3 cup basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for 5 seconds; remove with slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels. (Do not drain boiling water.) Add basil to blender.

    2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Before draining pasta, remove 1/2 cup of the hot cooking water and set aside. Drain pasta; return to Dutch oven.

    3. Meanwhile, for pesto: Add oil, 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts, the 2 tablespoons cheese, the salt, and pepper to blender. Cover and blend until nearly smooth (pesto will be thin).

    4. Add pesto to cooked pasta; toss gently to coat. If necessary, toss in enough of the reserved cooking water to help coat the pasta evenly with pesto. Transfer pasta mixture to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the 1 cup basil leaves, the 1/4 cup cheese, and the remaining pine nuts. Serve immediately.* Makes 6 to 8 servings.

  4. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Pasta salad made with tri-color twists. Chop up all kinds of veggies~~whatever you have in your fridge, throw them in a big bowl and dump in your favorite salad dressing, stir and enjoy. We also add black olives, cheddar cheese and chicken breast if we have them. Enjoy!

  5. I’m right there with ya. Chicken salad on croissants is about the most appealing thing I can think of at this point. That and a side of strawberries, grapes, watermelon, and blueberries. And then a Coke float for dessert/ bedtime snack.

  6. This is probably obvious to everyone but me, but we’ve been doing the grilled shrimp thing lately to add a little variety to our summer BBQing. Even way, way, way up here in the Land North of the USA, it’s been stinkin’ hot and I was getting so tired of the chicken and pork and beef grilling options. I didn’t grow up eating seafood as my mother is allergic, so it doesn’t always come to mind as a viable option. And while the bigger of the little men isn’t a huge fan, he will eat a small portion. The rest of us, including the very little man, luv it.

    We also do breakfast for dinner every now and then, even though it does mean using the stove.

    Lastly, I love a homemade pizza on the BBQ. We “cheat” and get pre-made dough, then grill it a wee bit first. Then we add sauce (tomato, pesto or even alfredo), and whatever toppings tickle our fancy. Then pop it back on the grill until the cheese melts. Mmm!

  7. Ideas of things to make:

    Reservation’s for mexican food. lol

    A great dinner with zero clean up…a roast..a jar (or half depending how spicy you like it..we are no spicy people) of pepperoncini’s and and a bottle of Allegro which may or may not be a regional thing. I am not a marinade fan but this is PRIMO! Throw it all in and a stick of butter and cook to desired doneness. It is the BOMB-DIGGITY! And also with the saltiness…I may or may not have consumed an entire bag (2lbs) of M&M’s …same reason! also to make this the longest comment EVER !! A dear friend of mine is a Mississippi girl and a huge dawg’s fan. I told her about your book when it released and she texted me today with a pic of it and said that reading that was her days plan! Yipppe!

  8. I suppose you could subscribe to my theory and live largely on Black Pepper Triscuits and cheese, turkey sandwiches, Mexican take out and excessive amounts of Diet Dr. Pepper. Occasionally I throw in New York Pizza here in Homewood just for kicks, but that’s about the best I can do in the what’s-for-dinner category. Let me know how that works out for you….HA!

  9. I hear ya! We are all about to melt down here in Mobile! We had paninis tonight…somehow that seemed fancier than cold sandwiches for dinner. :) I have no idea what we will have for the rest of the week either…

  10. So funny, I almost always send the hubs a text before lunch to tell him what we’re having for dinner. I NEVER get a response. Today’s text said “Hot Dogs. You’re welcome” and INSTANTLY my phone dinged (i thought to say TEXT FAIL, try again) and it was the hubs response- and I quote–“Yay…what time”.

    So, as you can see, I too am in the rut, but I think my Mister is thrilled. I’ve never planned to serve hot dogs in all my life. I really think breakfast for dinner is on the horizon this week. I did make a version of porcupine meatballs last week and it was good–but now that I think about it, it was only like porcupine meatballs in that it included rice and was in a ball shape.

    I used ground turkey, brown rice, some spices and whatnot for the balls, browned lightly in olive oil and made the sauce out of Lipton Onion soup mix and cream of mushroom and some chicken broth popped the lid on the skillet and walked away for half an hour. No red sauce. It was quick and I served it with a salad- not a fancy salad just lettuce, maybe some spinach, chopped a tomato and grated a little cheddar, pass the Ranch, please.

  11. well it certainly must be the heat then because my family here in Texas is in the same dinner rut. Hubster announced he was sick of chicken, pizza, mexican food (shocking, I thought i would have to file divorce over that one), corn, green beans, green peas, mashed potatoes, burgers, black beans, rice, spaghetti… I could go on but you get the idea. The only advantage to grilling is that it’s so hot preheating the grill takes all of 30 seconds. I’m about to resort to serving ice cream for dinner and calling it over. Is this what we call a first world problem or what. :-)

  12. Ok made this tonight and it was soooo good and easy.

    Crock Pot
    Chicken breast: cut into small pieces
    I jar Classico green pesto
    I package Ranch dressing
    1 can chicken broth

    Mix and cook until done.
    Serve over pasta

  13. One of my favorite (easy) meals is chili. But we also make stuffed rolls with meat and cheese. SUPER easy and delicious – then we heat ’em up for lunch the next day. Only a few ingredients – would be happy to share the recipe if you’d like it.

  14. My “go to” hot and humid meal is BLT’s, cold pasta salad, and some sort of fruit. For a fun new twist on the traditional BLT, try spreading garden veggie cream cheese on the bread in place of mayo. It is delicious!

  15. A giant green salad.
    Mix in a pound of browned ground beef that you’ve seasoned with a packet of ranch salad dressing powder.

    Sauté a big can of garbanzo beans with some olive oil or butter. Season with garlic, salt, pepper and some Italian seasoning. Serve with Naan flat bread and fresh tomatoes, cucumber and hummus or Tatziki dressing. Yummy

  16. I found a good chicken salad recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and loved it! It is more of the fruity type so I felt like it was pretty healthy (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). I ended up adding in more apples and grapes than was listed on the recipe, but it was super simple! Also, I think chicken salad makes for a great summer supper since it doesn’t require the oven and can be served plain or on a sandwich. Here’s the link to the recipe if you are interested (!

  17. Oh my…so much to say! First, I am visiting my mom in GA and got a chance to pop into Barnes and Noble. Your book was on the front table, all pretty and all. I was so excited I took a picture. I wanted to tweet it to you, but I thought it might embarrass you seeing as you seem to fain all the attention you get from it. But just know that I was tickled pink for you.
    Also, I have watched the entire season of the Bachelorrette and oh was it exciting. Boys fighting, boys dating other women, boys playing the show to become the next bachelor, boys dumping the girl, and boys falling head over heals in love. Every week left me waiting anxiously for the next. I am so happy for Des, which is silly seeing how it’s a tv show and all. But I want you to know, two weeks ago the guy who was fourth pulled out a guitar and sang a song he wrote! You called it….she likes the hipster guys. My husband is a doll, but not hipster at all. A real meat and potatoes man, if you know what I mean, and I love him for it. Speaking food….summer cooking this time of year is the pits. I’m so over hamburgers and grilled chicken this and that. I’m ready for chili and football. But until then, my family loves when I make ham and OJ. It isn’t healthy per se, but it is easy and won’t heat up your kitchen. Buy a ham steak (or 2), toss it in a 9X11 Pyrex dish. Open a can of frozen OJ and dump it on top. Sprinkle on a handful (love my measurements?) of brown sugar, and a smattering (about 12-20) whole cloves (as in the spice not garlic, people ask that). Then pop the thing in the microwave for 12 minutes, just don’t forget to turn off the turntable or the Pyrex dish will keep hitting the door. It’s yummy year round, inexpensive and easy. We like it with mac-n-cheese or rice and green beans or peas. Add crescent rolls to make it a fancy meal. Anyways, hope you like it. Have a wonderful rest of the week. Amy

  18. Merri Jo says:

    My garden is dictating what’s for dinner–BLTs, tuna salad stuffed tomatoes, & Greek pasta salad(tiny sweet tomatoes, cucumbers, & yellow & orange peppers) tossed with chilled pasta, feta cheese, & bottled Caesar dressing have all been just right for supper on steamy days.
    One particularly hot night, when my husband had an elders meeting, I had a Hawiian blizzard @ Dairy Queen! It did contain fruit & milk ;-)

  19. Brenda from Georgia says:

    Did you know Vidalia onions are unusually sweet due to the low amount of sulfur in the soil in which they grow? By law, the production area for these onions is limited to certain counties in south Georgia – so don’t go eatin’ any illegal onions. Lots of great recipes can be found at‎.

  20. Brenda from Georgia says:

    My sons loved this recipe from Jamie Gwen. I saw her prepare it on Marie Osmond’s show. Use rotisserie chicken, and set the oven to “Broil.” Easy!

    4 cups tortilla chips
    2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
    ½ cup BBQ sauce, divided
    3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese or 4-cheese blend
    Toppings: sliced green onion, cooked chopped bacon, chopped cilantro, & pepperoncini
    Sour cream & guacamole

    Preheat oven to broil.
    Line a baking sheet with a single layer of tortilla chips.
    In a small bowl, combine the shredded chicken with ¼ cup BBQ sauce or more to moisten.
    Spoon the chicken over top chips evenly and drizzle remaining BBQ sauce over chicken.
    Top with the shredded cheese.
    Broil until cheese is completely melted.
    Remove from oven and garnish with toppings.
    Serve immediately with or sour cream and guacamole.

  21. Chicken salad made from rotisserie chicken bought at the grocery store. I’ve always gotten raves whenever I make this and it’s super simple:
    If you use a rotisserie chicken there’s no cooking, it’s hearty and filling, and perfect summer fare.

  22. Mix and Match Mama has you covered! Everything is easy, I don’t do red sauces during the summer and I would never, ever make a cold soup. Ever.

  23. I made these one night and the family loved them (although they took me more like 25 minutes to make but maybe that was just the learning curve):

    Although after your podcast with Melanie about the tacos, maybe you’re over tacos.

    Then a friend made this for me when I had surgery last year and it was delicious. I don’t have a website just the recipe that she emailed me so pasting here:

    Lemony Broccoli Pasta with Chicken

    • 12 ounces pasta shapes
    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
    • 4 tablespoons butter (divided use)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
    • 1 large bunch broccoli cut into small pieces
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
    • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    Cook pasta, drain and return to pot with 3 tablespoons of the butter.
    Pat chicken dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
    In large skillet heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter and then add chicken and sauté until well browned and cooked through.
    Remove chicken and cut up in bite size pieces.
    Turn heat to low and add garlic stirring until it is fragrant but not browned, then add the broccoli, the broth and 1 teaspoon salt stirring well.
    Cover the pan and turn heat up to medium, and cook/steam until broccoli is just tender 3-4 minutes.
    Add chicken back to pan along with lemon juice and zest and the pasta and stir to combine well.
    Stir in parmesean cheese and enjoy!

  24. My favorite “it’s too hot to cook” recipe is a couscous tabbouleh salad: from (recipe It does involve the stove, but all you do is bring water to a boil and then turn it right off. I make this ALL the time, and my fiance can attest that it is indeed man-pleasing when served with some hummus in a pita and potato chips, and oh so refreshing. Bonus- it also makes a TON of leftovers, and it’s seriously better the next day. And then the next. There have been many a time I’ve just taken a big bowl of this to work for lunch. I love it so much my friends made it for a bridal shower they threw me last weekend (and gave me the leftovers as a gift. Heh.).

    1 cup couscous, dry
    1 cup vegetable broth or water
    1 large cucumber, peeled and small diced (you can skip peeling if you’re in a hurry or if you hate peeling)
    2 green onions, thinly sliced
    1 large bunch Italian parsley (about 3.5 oz), minced
    1 handful fresh mint (about 1 oz), minced
    2 tbsp olive oil
    juice of 1 large lemon
    sea salt & pepper to taste
    1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (use tomato basil feta…it’s divine)

    Bring the broth or water to a boil in a small pot on high heat on the stove. Once boiling, add the dry couscous and 1/4 tsp sea salt. Stir, then immediately turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let sit for 12 minutes covered like this then fluff with a fork.

    Meanwhile, place the minced parsley, minced mint, diced cucumber and thinly sliced green onions in a large mixing bowl. Add cooked couscous to the bowl, followed by the lemon juice, olive oil, feta cheese and additional sea salt to taste. Toss well and chill for 2 hours before serving to let the flavors intensify.

  25. Run don’t walk to the grocery and get a can of Blue Runner creole base. It comes in several favors, seafood gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, étouffée. You just add the meat or seafood and cook a little rice. They are delicious. It has a website you can look at. I wish I could take credit for finding it but Woody Davis recommended it, and if he says it’s good you can count on it!! So easy!!!!

  26. My go-to recipe on hot days is a rotisserie chicken and cheese tortellini (both from SAM’s) served up with either a green salad or some fruit. It’s fairly healthy, the kids love it, and it takes little effort on my part.

    I’ve also done a pasta salad with cheese and veggies.

    And take-out pizza or cold cereal serves its purpose in a pinch! :)

  27. We have BCTO’s with a marinated cucumbersalad at least one night a week during the summer. We eat this sandwich open face and it is delicious. Carmelize a medium Vidalia onion. Toast the bread, spread with mayo, add sliced tomatoes, already fried bacon, and carmelized Vidalia onion. Place a slice of you favorite cheese on top-Provolone, Muenster, Cheddar. Place under the broiler until melted. Delicious! My children gave the sandwich its name.

  28. Hi..I have been a bit burnt out on the grill too. Here are two newer recipes that we love around here! Recipe 1..Chicken Tacos in the crockpot, take six chicken breasts, they can be frozen or defrosted, put them in the crockpot with a jar of salsa, a packet of taco seasoning and cook on low for four to five hours. 1/2 before you’re ready to eat, mix in a cup of sour cream. Continue cooking for 1/2 hour, serve with cheese, chips or tortillas and mexican rice.
    The other recipe..Pinterest chicken legs..take a package of chicken drumsticks, rinse and pat dry. Sprinkle with sea salt/pepper, pour one bottle of your favorite bbq sauce over them in a9 x12 pan and cover with aluminum foil, cook for 2 hours at 350. I sometimes throw them on the grill for a few minutes to crisp them up. DELISH! Seriously the meat is falling off the bone! Enjoy!

  29. pot roast in the crock pot. So many leftovers. So good.

  30. Breanna says:

    We love a grilled chicken wrap in the heat of a South Mississippi summer. To make it super easy, I buy the frozen pre grilled chicken strips. They heat really quickly on the stovetop if they thaw a little first. Wrap those up in a tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado, and a little ranch dressing. It is fast and yummy! For a side dish I make Greek noodles. 16 ounces thin spaghetti cooked and run under cool water. Mix together 3/8 cup mayo, 3/8 cup of olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons Cavender’s Greek seasoning. Pour that over the cooled noodles and refrigerate. If you like black olives, you can add those too. I usually make that in the morning so it is all ready to go by dinner time. I’m loving the ideas in the comments!!

  31. Look…I’ve got a fancy trick up my sleeve where I brown up a good 2-3 pounds of ground turkey with taco seasoning. Then on night #1, I’m like “Look, y’all! Taco night!”… then on night 2, I open up the chips and fixins and say “Hey everyone! NACHO BAR!” and if I make it to night 3 and 4, you better believe there are taco salads and quesadillas to be had. ALL WITH JUST THE ONE THING I COOKED.

    I’ve got the same thing up my sleeve in the winter involving my crockpot and some beans. But we’ll touch on that in a few months!

  32. Margaret says:

    we had chipped ham on toast. It’s the same as chipped beef on toast but hubs can’t eat beef. make a white sauce, cut up a package of ham, mix with the thickened sauce and put over white bread toast. easy and one pot.

  33. Melissa says:

    Breakfast works great for dinner for us sometimes. Throw some blueberries into the pancake batter and the pancakes become more delicious and much more pretty to look at, especially since I can never make those perfectly shaped pancake circles like in the magazines.
    I did make the Breakfast Potatoes from The Pioneer Woman and they were a big hit with my husband. That says a lot because he is picky about food. haha! OH, great! Now, I am thinking about lunch and it’s only 9:50a.m. hahaha! Hmm………. :-)


    This is the recipe for the fish tacos that Melanie talked about on one of the recent podcasts. I’ve made it no less than four times in the last month. It does involve the oven (if you use fish sticks, like I did) but it’s so simple that I can forgive the oven use. My husband loved it.
    This chicken recipe is by far the best marinade I have found for chicken. I buy chicken tenders then marinade them all day and grill when the husband gets home. It’s sweet and tangy and just delicious. It also works great for steak kabobs.

  35. One website and your troubles are over – For a nominal fee, you get a weekly plan complete with a grocery list categorized by department. The meals are easy to prepare, and are typically inexpensive. They have every type of meal plan you can think of: No restriction, paleo, points (WW inspired), gluten free, etc. There are even plans based on what’s on sale at your favorite grocery store (well Kroger, Publix, and Wal-Mart when I last checked). Now, being a true southern girl, born and raised in Mississippi, not all of it sounds like the southern fare we are used to, but adjustments can be made. I subscribed to it for six months, and then just kept our favorite recipes. I cooked one of them last night – grilled taco chicken. Dave Ramsey even endorses it (the website, not my chicken). Check it out!

  36. Becky in 'Bama says:

    I try to remember that my great-grandmother cooked every summer day on a wood burning stove in a tiny tar-paper frame house that not only did not have air conditioning, they didn’t even own a fan (there were no wall plugs) – and her kitchen windows were a single set of panes – they didn’t open. Therefore, cooking in my nice clean kitchen in my air conditioned home (after a trip to the nice, clean and cool market) is really not a big deal. Thank goodness for living in the South where fresh vegetables are abundant – so there’s always the standby tomato sandwich. p.s. – and yes the great-grandmother could tear up some fried chicken and biscuits. :)

  37. Last week, I made a Chicken Orzo salad with leftover chicken breasts. I added spinach, feta, artichokes, black olives, olive oil and lemon juice. Delicious! Also, do you like stir fries? We love them with chicken and lots of veggies. With rice, it’s a go-to summer meal. I love these recipe exchanges!

  38. My younger son (16) loves to cook & is my go to for fajitas or stir fry! He uses either the refrigerated beef or chicken strip, lots of fresh veggies & seasonings. Then just add either tortillas or rice, depending on which he makes!

    Also, my Friday posts are always recipes & last week was a great, simple Mexican feast!

    I also do one meatless night, which suprisingly my husband & 2 teenage sons love! One that I do alot is fresh corn grilled, sauteed zucchini/squash with parm cheese, sauteed mushrooms, & roasted fresh green beans & carrots. Also, frozen cheese ravioli with spicy marinara & a salad are a hit around her!

  39. If you like artichoke hearts, I have a great chicken salad recipe. I have probably made it 10 times this summer….no lie. It’s my favorite to eat with Pita chips!! Or you can scoop a little onto some of that frozen garlic texas toast and toast in the oven with some shredded parm on top. So! Good!!!

    12 oz can of white meat chicken (or you can cook your own if you want)
    1 can of quartered artichoke hearts
    1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise (however much you like)
    generous sprinkling of garlic powder
    1-ish tsp of white pepper
    chopped pecans
    (sorry for all the ambiguous measurements…’s how my people cook.)
    This is really good made ahead of time and let chill in fridge. Enjoy! But most of all, enjoy your cool kitchen since you didn’t have to turn on the stove!! ;)

  40. Last night I made the easiest fajitas ever! Slice a couple bell peppers and your vidalia onion, spread in the bottom of a casserole dish, toss with olive oil and a sprinkling of taco seasoning, 1-2 Tbsp from the package. Top that with chicken breast tenders also sprinkled with the taco seasoning. Bake at 400 for about 40 min, turning the chicken pieces after 20 min. When done, shred the chicken with 2 forks and mix up with the veggies. Serve with warm tortillas and toppings. E-Z and good!!!

  41. This is the easiest (and one of the best received) meals I’ve ever made…

    1. Melt a stick of butter in a 9″ x 13″ pan.
    2. Slice one lemon and layer it on top of the butter.
    3. Put down fresh shrimp (I use frozen), then sprinkle one pack of dried Italian seasoning.
    4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

    My kids say it tastes better than shrimp at the beach!

    I serve it with crescent rolls and two or three different kinds of fresh fruit. (During the summer months, I substitute fresh fruit for vegetables ALL the time.)

  42. I feel so left out up here in the Midwest! Wisconsin has been so cold this summer that I wish we had some of your southern heat and humidity! Tomatoes have yet to start turning even a slight shade of red due to lack of heat and sun. My swimming pool temperature is 76 – burrrrr….and all I want to eat is hot soup and cozy up next to a fire. Are you feeling sorry for us northerners yet? Just a little?

    • Becky in 'Bama says:

      Wowza…. it gets so hot in my car during the day (downtown B’ham parking lot) I bet I could cook a pot roast with potatoes and carrots and serve it by dinner time.

      • When my dad was a little boy his mom heard through the grapevine you could cook a roast on the engine of your car. She took advantage of their next road trip, wrapping a roast, potatoes carrots, and onions in foil and put them on the engine. Sure enough at their last stop dinner was served…right from under the hood of the car. True story (that gets told at almost every family get together)!!

  43. Our go to meal is an old Southern Living shrimp scampi recipe. As our children’s taste buds have matured over the 15+ years we have been making it we have added chopped red & orange peppers, fresh spinach, left over chicken or chicken sausage. Here is the basic recipe…more or less:

    Half a box of thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta – cook per instructions
    1/4 cup butter (original called for an entire stick..but we try to be a little healthier out here in San Diego) – I use unsalted – doesn’t brown so quick.
    Thawed raw shrimp (we use about a third of the medium size shrimp – blue bag at Costco)
    Couple cloves of garlic
    White wine
    Cajun seasoning (not in original recipe but we like a little kick)
    Parmesan cheese – grated
    Couple tablespoons of chopped parsley

    While water is boiling & pasta is cooking, saute garlic & shrimp in medium saute pan over medium heat until shrimp begins to turn pink, sprinkle Cajun seasoning as desired, add wine and heat through. Do not overcook or shrimp will be tough. Strain pasta and dump into a large serving bowl, pour shrimp mixture over pasta, mix it all up and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese & parsley. Season with freshly grown pepper. Soak up any butter with fresh bread…entire process takes less than 30 minutes.

  44. This is so good it will make you slap your mama!
    Take talipia and cut it into chunks. (I do about 2 good-sized fillets). Throw some olive oil in a nonstick pan, throw them in. Salt, pepper them a little. Cook about 3 minutes on each side.
    In the meanwhile, chunk up one ripe mango and one ripe avocado.
    In a good-size bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of two large limes. Salt and pepper to taste. Dump in the mango/avocado chunks and a whole bunch of those cute baby mixed salad greens. Toss to cost.
    Now, the original recipe calls for taking won ton wrappers, brushing them with oil on each side and baking them for about 5 minutes in muffin pans to make cute little cups. But my goodness, who wants to do all that right now!? So we take taco shells, heat them in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes. If you can find La Tiara’s , they are the best – lighter and crispier than other brands. We get ours at WalMart.
    Spoon the greens/avacado/mango mixture into shells, wedge some chunks of fish on top. We drizzle ours with homemade ranch dressing or Annie’s Goddess dressing.
    It really is easy and so good! I have the fixings in my fridge right now and making it for supper tonight!!!! Fruit salad on the side.

  45. This is one of those links that I’ve had for so long that I’m like, “If I *got* this from BooMama, that’s gonna be awkward,” but if you’d like a wide variety of crockpot recipes, look no further: . That’s one way to keep the heat level down.

    • PS: I had pretty good results with the applesauce chicken on that site, and the orange chicken (variation on the lemon chicken recipe) was also pretty good, though a little easy for my crockpot to overcook (so you may want to watch that one).

  46. kacey korting says:

    I hear ya. I am done with the grill I thought I was gonna burn up the other day cooking chicken- today I have put a GIANT pork shoulder in the crock pot with liquid smoke (a tiny bit rubbed on) and black salt. Making a ton of Kahlua pork. My kids love it – sandwiches, quesadillas, you name it. Also I make a ton and then I freeze a good amount for later. I will mention that I put the crock pot in my garage so my entire house doesn’t smell like pork and it doesn’t get heated up either.

  47. Julie in Michigan says:

    Put some boneless skinless chicken thighs in the crock pot with some taco seasoning on low. Shred and make soft tacos with cool lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. Ole’!

  48. Throw some chicken in the crock pot with a can of black beans and spices of your choice. Then make tacos – hard shells or tortillas, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, black olives, whatever. The chicken will shred with a fork and everyone can make their meal the way they like it. BIG hit in our house.

    • Becky in 'Bama says:

      Should I presume that’s boneless/skinless chicken? and do you drain the beans first? I’m not a fan of the ‘black sludge’ you get from the bottom of the can?

  49. Bruschetta! Nothing but toasting some bread, cutting up some tomatoes, adding some spices, olive oil, and balsamic glaze, and BOOM! Yummy!

  50. Nate's Mom says:

    Poach some salmon in the morning before it’s too hot out. Chill all day and serve cold with dill dip. Slice tomatoes and add crumbled blue or feta cheese and some thin sliced onion and cucumber. Corn on the cob and call it supper. Sorbet for dessert.

    Club sandwiches. Cobb salad. Tuna salad subs or any other subs you prefer.

    Why is it easier to come up with meal ideas during cold weather, though? It sure is for me!

  51. Heather W says:

    I just wanted to say thanks so much for the heads up on Divergent! I read it and Insurgent and cannot wait for the last one!

  52. Jenna from EatLiveRun has a great recipe for Red Beans & Rice Casserole — you literally just throw a few ingredients into a dish, cover with foil and let it bake. Topped with guacamole it’s fantastic – and no hot kitchen! I also like to make red beans in the crock pot – literally, no sweat :)

    I also just made tacos from Pinterest on Sunday and it was super easy and fast – very little time in the kitchen. Here are the recipes!



  53. Shouting yes and amen to all the rotisserie chicken ideas. Here in Arkansas, we’re hot and humid, too ( it was 92 at 2 this morning, with 100 percent humidity, even though it wasn’t raining, which I would not have thought possible)

    I have been living out of my garden and eating mostly ‘maters, cukes and melon. If my husband were here, I’d have to have some meat, and it’d for sure be that rotisserie chicken. Surely you know someone in Birmingham Alabama who could give you some fresh tomatoes, and maybe some cucumber so you could slice up that onion and those cukes and have a nice vinegar salad. (Altho” I bet you’re gonna make onion dip with it!)

  54. I thought chips WAS a food group. =) Well, I don’t know if this is helpful or not, but I get migraines every three weeks or so and those are pizza delivery nights! We have a great little place nearby and they know my voice by now. I use all the coupons they send and ask if they have any specials whenever I call. But two mediums with two toppings for $21.99 will feed our family of five and is a deal. It doesn’t have to be hot to order in.

    Blessings to you!!

  55. I’ve been feeding my kids salad, buns with cold turkey slices and cheese. Sometimes we’ll have eggs, toast and cut up veggies with dip.

  56. I love this salad, because it could also be a dip! Here’s the link: To make it a main dish, add grilled chicken or flank steak.

  57. I make loaded potato and buffalo chicken ( its a one pan, although in the oven) but I don’t cook at 500 degrees, my oven does just fine at 425 and the leftovers reheat well in the microwave

  58. Lydialou says:

    Antigua? My husband and I went on a cruise in May 2012 and we stopped at St.Thomas as well as Antigua and Tortola. Oh. My.Goodness. Harmony Church Beach on Antigua was photoshopped by God. I could LIVE in the water. No matter how far you could swim out, the water was clear and the most amazing shade of blue. Tortola was even more awesome. I would also say ” Go. Now.” I could be ready in 5 minutes. Maybe 4. :-)
    Summer dinners are always interesting because we all run out of ideas. Last night we ate from the garden-corn, green beans, potatoes, maters, cukes and sweet tea. I try to make meals that last more than one night which means the second night has no prep/cooking time. You might also want to check into getting a pressure cooker. I did my green beans last night in 4 minutes. Fast. Mexican is another hit and you should try making the Pioneer Woman’s homemade salsa. It ruins you for any other salsa. You can eat it with a spoon. Yum! My family also likes the Pioneer Woman’s beef stir fry with snow peas. You only need rice and a salad and you are done. You moan when you eat it. It’s awesome and we eat twice from the recipe. :-) Finally, we love mater sandwiches on white bread for supper sometimes-perhaps with a blackberry cobbler and ice cream!!!!

  59. One of my latest favorite ideas is to buy a Rotisserie chicken, pick all the chicken off, and add bbq sauce. Put it on buns. The end. So easy, and really good!!!

    I also have been looking for easy crock pot stuff. Throw it in, put it on high. That’s it.

    I like easy!

    • Kathleen G says:

      I was the first comment & I agree with the rotisserie chicken. I buy Costco’s & make enchiladas & salads with it. Just buy it for dinner & a simple salad. Reading the comments, I’m envious of fresh produce in the south. Thank you for the good ideas for dinner.

  60. Another idea is to get frozen shrimp, stir fry it, and put it on top of salad. So good. And for the men in my home who don’t consider salad a meal, I take some of the shrimp and make shrimp salad with it. Put it on buns. They are happy. So good!!

  61. (Oh…and I love your blog!)

  62. I’m not from the South but a couple years ago I had an operation that shall we say, messed up my internal thermostat something fierce. So even frying an egg when it gets over 75 kills me. I have a whole new respect for my mother and don’t tease her anymore about opening the windows during a snowstorm because she just couldn’t stand the heat in the house. Anyways…..chop salads are my go-to-meal this summer. Living on them.

  63. I’ve been a lurker for years, yet never commented. But I just thought I’d share my good old-fashioned favorite. Chicken salad wrapped in lettuce leaves. Sounds like rabbit food, but it sure is filling. Even the kiddos love it.

  64. I declared summer 2013 to be the summer of the main dish salad.
    Then the weather got all confused and it has basically been fall, only colder around here and occasionally my FURNACE kicks in and so the whole salad thing is kinda pointless, but still, I soldier on.
    These are some of my families favourites.
    The first two require a rotisserie chicken, so no heat is needed to cook the meat.

    Be warned, the last one is fairly spicy, mind you, we are Canadians so we think KETCHUP is spicy, but do eat that one cautiously.

  65. My new summer addiction is so yummy and so easy to make. I slice up chicken sausage, zucchini, onion and peppers and saute in olive oil with seasoning. Oh my goodness, it is so, so good! Even my children gobble it up. And now I want to make some and it is only 8 in the morning…

  66. Pasta salad and BLT sandwiches are my go-to summer meals. Although you have to cook the pasta, it’s only on the stove and then you cool it down and add cold food, so it’s refreshing to eat and won’t heat up your kitchen. And BLT’s? Well, what’s not to love there? Again on the cold part. Plus, you could cook the bacon the day before and just pop it in the fridge for later.

    Good luck on surviving the last days of summer. You can do it!

  67. Marie M.C. says:

    BLTs, Root Beer foats, chocolate chip cookies (bought or made or whatever). if corn is in season, try that with it. Viola! Dinner. Hint for BLTs. Mix some pesto sauce (bought) with the mayo for the sandwich spread. Gives it the basil taste tomatoes crave.

  68. I absolutely love to cook~~do it for a living after going to culinary school, but I was in a ‘dinner idea rut’, too! (The hardest part of getting a meal on the table is trying to come up with an idea! UGH!) I subscribed to (you get weekly email with 7 entree and sides ideas, grocery list, and recipes) and we have LOVED it~~best thing I’ve ever done! The meals are inexpensive, VERY easy, and DELISH! I plan our meals and shop once-a-week and the stress of ‘what’s for dinner’ is gone! The biggest bonus is that I’ve also lost 35 lbs since January and I’ve enjoyed every bite! (I chose the ‘Portion Control’ option which is compatible with Weight Watchers.)

  69. Absolutely LOVE your book~~read it in one day with my feet in the sand and the water lapping at my feet~~GREAT vacation read!! I enjoyed it so much that I gave copies to three of my friends for their birthdays! I’m also from MS originally, so I could so relate to your southern family! My dad is a MSU grad and still pulls for the Dawgs every chance he gets~~nothing makes his day better than to tune in and cheer his Maroon and White on~~even in NC! Keep doing what you’re doing~~you’re a delight! Proud to know we’re Sisters in Christ, too~~I may not meet you on this side of heaven, but will have the privilege of spending eternity with you! Woo-hoo!

  70. Check out my blog for some dinner ideas. I try to post a few recipes that we eat each night and for the most part, if it’s not easy, I don’t make it. Some things we’ve had recently – grilled pizzas – BBQ chicken and also eggplant but you could really use any toppings, crockpot buffalo chicken (only 3 ingredients) and beef & broccoli, shrimp & asparagus pasta, etc.

  71. Shay is starting Meal Planning Mondays in September! You’ll be good to come September, so just take the next 3 weeks off. :)

  72. Barbara says:

    I made this the other night and it was pretty tasty…..Cut a piece of foccacia in half. Then I mixed a little pesto with mayo and slathered it on one half. Next comes some cut up rotisserie chicken, homegrown tomato and a fresh piece of red leaf lettuce. Put a lid on that sandwich and serve with a side of some fresh peaches.! Will be doing this sandwich again. (Got the recipe idea from your homebasedmom blog.)

  73. Get out the Crock-pot…

    Throw in a London Broil and cover with 2 packs of dry italian dressing mix and 1 cup of water. Cook on low for 8hrs or high for 4hrs. About 1 hours before serving shread with a fork and throw in about a half a jar of banana peppers with the juice. Serve on sub rolls with provolone cheese. These are a summer staple at my grand mothers lake house. Left overs are awesome!

  74. I’m all about easy these days. Black or refried bean burritos piled with whatever veggies everyone wants, hamburger steak & steak fries, but last night I made a chicken pot pie. I used Marie Callender’s deep dish pie shell (2), mixed boiled chicken, a big can of drained veg all, 1 can cream o’ mush/chicken (I didn’t realize they made one that was 1/2 & 1/2!), 1/4 cup sour cream, sea salt, pepper & then cut four little slits on the top pie crust & bake at 400 until brown on top!