This month, we welcome back Marta Rivera for more of her meal plans. Marta is a trained chef, mom of twins, Army wife, and a Our Site recipe tester and developer!
Summertime means simplicity to me. I like to ease into the season with meals that aren’t too cumbersome or won’t bog us down with too many ingredients because I’d rather be hanging out by the pool or lounging in a hammock.
As we stroll into warmer months, we may also need meals that are simple to prepare and less labor-intensive. Yes, we’ve spent more than enough time at home this year, so newly-honed culinary skills make cooking less stressful, but summer means relaxation. So let’s take advantage of it!
One last thing: Looking for dinner ideas? You’re in the right spot! We just launched our new paid meal plan service. We have delicious meal plans to suit every taste and lifestyle — Healthy Eating, Family Favorites, and Vegetarian just to name a few. These one-week plans are $1.95 and, with them, you get a dessert and weekend prep recipe and a shopping list. They’re beautifully designed and perfect to print and save or simply load and cook right from your computer!
- New to Meal Planning? Start here! 10 Things to Know If You’re a First-Time Meal Planner
- Looking for Last Week’s Meal Plan? Here you go! (Plus, all past meal plans!)
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This nostalgic dish is one I like to assemble in stages. The day before, I prep the meatballs. That way, my workload is even lighter come cooking day. With stovetop instructions also included, this doesn’t have to be an exclusive Instant Pot recipe. Be sure to serve these meatballs with your favorite pasta and a side salad.
We love pairing catfish with a side of coleslaw, which I make using pre-shredded, bagged cabbage. Throw in a few lemon wedges, and you have a fairly substantial dinner. If you don’t mind turning on the oven in warm weather, consider serving this catfish with a pan of cornbread.
The foundation of this dinner can be streamlined by purchasing the cauliflower gnocchi at your local grocery store. If you’re coming up empty, just use traditional gnocchi in its place. My family loves it when I add sliced grilled chicken to this dish, but it’s hearty enough to enjoy on its own as a vegetarian supper.
I remember eating pork chops and applesauce when I was a child. Season and marinate the chops overnight to allow that spice rub to penetrate the pork fully. For even greater simplicity, toss all of the applesauce ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours. Mashed or roasted potatoes are good side dishes for this meal.
My kids love to assemble pizza, and anything that lightens my workload is a win in my book. Making these as individual pizzas gets the whole family into the mix. Most big warehouse stores sell small sheet pans that are perfect for personal (or two-man) pizzas. Set the toppings on the counter or island, then let each person customize his or her own pizza. Pizza parties scream “TGIF!”
Make these in bulk, and simplify your dessert-making for weeks to come. Freeze half of the batch and you’ll have cookies for days.