10 Family-Friendly Summer Meals

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Summer is the perfect time to gather around the table with your family and savour delightful meals together. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, organizing a picnic in the park, or simply looking for a quick and tasty weeknight dinner option, having a variety of family-friendly summer meals at your fingertips is essential. Below are some of my favourite, mouthwatering meal recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare.

Before jumping into the recipes, ensure your kitchen is ready for the summer season. Check out the Journal post on “Preparing Your Kitchen for the Summer Season” for tips on organizing your pantry, stocking up on fresh ingredients, and optimizing your cooking space. Once your kitchen is prepped and ready, let’s get cooking!
 

  1. Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • sourdough croutons
  • caesar salad dressing

Instructions:

  • Start by preheating the grill to medium-high heat. Then, season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper before grilling them for about 6-8 minutes per side.
  • Once cooked, let the chicken rest and slice it into thin strips.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, caesar dressing, croutons, and parmesan cheese.
  • Finally, toss the salad with the grilled chicken slices and savour the flavours.


  1. Pasta Salad with Fresh Tomatoes and Bocconcini

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pasta of your choice (I personally use konjac noodles, and my kids have brown rice pasta)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • To begin, cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Once cooked, drain and rinse the pasta under cold water.
  • Combine the pasta, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced bocconcini cheese, and chopped fresh basil leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Gently toss the ingredients to ensure they are well mixed.
  • For optimal flavour, refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.


  1. Fish Tacos with All the Fixings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound white fish fillets (such as cod or tilapia)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes or salsa, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese, and lime wedges for serving

Instructions:

  • To start, preheat the grill or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Next, season the white fish fillets with salt, pepper, and your preferred spices. Grill or cook the fish for approximately 3-4 minutes per side until it easily flakes with a fork.
  • Meanwhile, warm the corn tortillas on the grill or in a dry skillet until they become pliable.
  • Once the fish is ready, assemble the tacos by placing a grilled fish fillet on a tortilla. Add shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, chopped tomatoes or salsa, cheese and chopped cilantro as desired.
  • Squeeze fresh lime juice over the tacos and top them off with a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt.
  • For those who enjoy an extra kick, feel free to add hot sauce!


  1. Quinoa and Black Bean Bowls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Olive oil and the juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: diced avocado, crumbled feta cheese, salsa

Instructions:

  • To begin, combine the cooked quinoa, rinsed black beans, diced bell peppers, red onion, corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, and chopped cilantro in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a separate small bowl to create a tangy dressing.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the quinoa and black bean mixture, ensuring all the ingredients are coated. Toss gently to distribute the flavours evenly.
  • For added creaminess, serve the Quinoa and Black Bean Bowls with optional toppings like avocado, shredded cheese, or a dollop of Greek yogurt. 


  1. Turkey Burgers with Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hamburger buns
  • Lettuce, tomato slices, and condiments of choice
  • 4 ears of corn, husked

Instructions:

  • To start, combine the ground turkey, egg, bread crumbs, chopped onion, parsley and spices in a mixing bowl. Shape the mixture into patties according to your preference.
  • Preheat the grill or a skillet over medium-high heat, then cook the turkey burgers for approximately 5-6 minutes per side or until they are fully cooked.
  • While the burgers are sizzling, prepare the corn on the cob by grilling or boiling it until it reaches the desired tenderness.
  • Toast the hamburger buns either on the grill or in a toaster. Now it’s time to assemble the burgers by placing a cooked patty on a bun and topping it with lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, and your favourite condiments.


  1. Charcoal Crust Pizza

Ingredients:

  • Flour, water, salt and yeast
  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of your choice (e.g., pepperoni, sliced bell peppers, onions, mushrooms)

Instructions:

  • Use this recipe to make a black, charcoal crust dough
  • To achieve the distinctive charcoal flavour, start by preheating your grill to high heat. Roll out the pizza dough into the desired shape and thickness. Brush one side of the dough with olive oil and carefully place it directly on the hot grill grates.
  • Close the grill and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes until the bottom of the crust develops a light char and becomes crispy.
  • Flip the crust over and spread pizza sauce evenly on the grilled side. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce and add your favorite toppings.
  • Return the pizza to the grill, close the lid, and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until the cheese has melted and the toppings are perfectly cooked.
  • Once done, remove the pizza from the grill, garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired, and allow it to cool slightly before slicing. Now, savor the unique and delicious MVO Charcoal Crust Pizza!


  1. Watermelon, Mint, and Cucumber Salad with Feta

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Olive oil, juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Begin by combining the cubed watermelon, sliced cucumber, torn mint leaves, and crumbled feta cheese in a large bowl. Whisk together lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper in a separate small bowl to create a zesty dressing.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the watermelon salad, ensuring all the ingredients are well coated. Gently toss the salad to evenly distribute the flavours.
  • Allow the salad to chill in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes before serving. 


  1. Chicken and Noodle Soup with Sesame Oil, Tamari & Kimchi

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces soba or rice noodles noodles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
  • Kimchi for serving
  • Green onions and fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Instructions:

  • To begin, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the chicken breasts and simmer until they are cooked through. Remove the chicken from the broth and shred it into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a separate pot, cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions, then drain and set them aside.
  • Return the shredded chicken to the broth and season with tamari and sesame oil to taste.
  • Next, add the cooked soba noodles to the pot and stir everything together. Allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes, allowing the flavours to meld.
  • When serving, ladle the soup into bowls and top each portion with kimchi, chopped green onions, and fresh cilantro if desired.
  • Serve with fresh lime wedges for an additional burst of flavour.


  1. Steak Platter with Veggies and Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound steak (such as sirloin or ribeye)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Assorted vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, zucchini, onions, mushrooms), sliced
  • Pesto sauce for serving

Instructions:

  • To start, preheat the grill or a skillet over high heat.
  • Rub the steak with olive oil and season it generously with salt and pepper. Grill or cook the steak to your preferred level of doneness and allow it to rest before slicing.
  • In the meantime, toss the sliced vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill or sauté the vegetables until they become tender and develop a slight char.
  • Arrange the sliced steak and grilled vegetables on a platter, creating an enticing display.
  • Finally, drizzle pesto sauce over the steak and veggies, adding a burst of vibrant flavour.

  1. Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple with Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 small pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cooked rice for serving

Instructions:

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  • In a bowl, combine the shrimp and pineapple chunks. Drizzle them with olive oil and lime juice.
  • Season the mixture with garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss to evenly coat.
  • Thread the shrimp and pineapple onto skewers.
  • Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side
  • While grilling, prepare the cooked rice
  • Serve the grilled shrimp and pineapple skewers over a bed of cooked rice.

 

Embrace the warmth of the season, gather around the table, and indulge in these delicious and easy-to-make meals that will make your summer memories even more special. You might also want to check out some of my favourite cookbooks and kitchen utensils in my Amazon Associates Shop here.

Happy cooking and bon appétit as you indulge in these delightful summer meals!

DISCLOSURE: This journal entry contains a link to Amazon.com. Meagan from Meagan Rose Wilson is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. amazon.ca and amazon.uk Thank you for your support.

 

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Meagan Wilson is a parent educator and author of the now-retired seasonal series of Whole Family Rhythms. After finishing a BA, she went on to complete her Foundations in Steiner Education and Anthroposophy at Sydney Steiner College, as well as her Waldorf Early Childhood Certification at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto. She has received her certification as a Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach and has supported hundreds of parents to create a strong family rhythm unique to their own values and culture. She has four young children. Meagan provides resources, support and information to parents who are looking for a bridge to cross between their unique family life and their children’s (often but not always) Waldorf schools.

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