A Late Summer Menu: A Different Way of Planning Meals

A look at how we eat late in the summer, a menu of sorts. We look to use ingredients in different ways throughout the week so that we’re benefiting from the ability of do-aheads and being able to buy in bulk. We also benefit from a well-stocked pantry.

This time of year is my favorite at the farmers market. I walked through crowds of people, my kids trailing behind me, sometimes running ahead and stopping to buy their own produce and flowers. We came home with armfuls of sweet corn, peppers, cucumbers, cauliflower and more yesterday. I placed the load on the counter and walked outside to the garden to prune a few tomato vines that are now taller than I am. I checked on our raspberries and discovered they, too, needed a healthy picking.

The day turned to evening and small mouths muttered words of hunger, and the obvious answer to that question is sitting on my counter. Even when I don’t feel much like cooking, there is plenty of food around to eat, and the answer most nights is to just consume it as is, especially when summer is winding down, the harvest is huge and it feels like the busiest time of all.

It started the day I returned home from Big Summer Potluck. My husband met me with fresh tomatoes and romaine from the garden, thick-sliced bacon and bread. When the sandwiches were gone, we ate leftover tomatoes that tasted of summer and sunshine. With back-to-school shopping to end-of-the-summer barbecues to parades and last chance waterpark adventures, I’m encouraging you to stock up on fresh produce and eat seasonally this month. Seasonally does not have to mean complicated, and the fewer stoves that are turned on and ovens heated, the better. Here are a few simple dinner ideas to get you started.

Monday – Hummus, naan, fruits and vegetables

Tuesday – BLTs as Spring Rolls

Wednesday – Fresh Corn and Shrimp Salad

Thursday – Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese

Friday – Naan pizza

The Preparation Shortcuts:

1. Make extra naan for the week. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container to keep it fresh. Grill before serving.
2. The leftovers from those BLTs? Perfect for turning into a salad night. If you need a bit more, consider tossing a piece of fish on the grill.
3. Always a favorite, a large batch of naan finds its way into so many meals, with pizza at the end of it. Pile on the odds and ends from the week and grill just a bit. Soon you’ll be enjoying a meal that was so quick it hardly counts as cooking.

The Shopping List:

1 pound bacon
1 pound shrimp
1 package spring roll wrappers
4 lemons
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
6-8 ounces blue cheese

Pantry Items:
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
fennel seeds
salt and pepper

Garden/Farmers Market Items:
romaine/other lettuce
fresh herbs

Elsewhere from Food for My Family:

What to Make Without Heading to the Store
Organizing Kitchen Tools for an Efficient and Effective Kitchen
Artisan Cheesemaking at Home Giveaway
Frozen Fruit Smoothies (Barillla Video)

For more menu plans: OrgJunkie

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  1. Love this post. I’m inspired to make a big batch of Naan. Have you ever frozen it?

    • I haven’t, but I think if you wrap it well and then let it thaw naturally, warming it up on the grill or in the oven before you eat it will be fine.

  2. Wow beautiful post

  3. This post was a breath of fresh air. You captured summer perfectly. Beautiful tomatoes!

  4. Great meal ideas, healthy and tasty. I love this time of year too… the earth explodes in fruit.

  5. I love Naan, so this is my type of meal plan!

  6. I agree; the less time having the oven on, the better. I love all of the light meals in this post!

  7. Sounds like a great summer menu

  8. Oh I am so loving this! You have the cutest little family ever! Just makes me smile!

  9. Hi Shaina,
    i’m coming from Dara’s blog after reading your guest post on key lime gelato.

    we are trying also to eat as much local as possible and every Saturday the visit at the Farmer’s market is a must.
    Thanks for the tip on naan. I never thought it can be done ahead of time.

  10. Love your dish for the week.. I’m so glad you posted this..


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