Louisville is a lovely city, a perfect place to enjoy a meal in your yard or on your porch… well, maybe not everyday. The fact is, Kentucky summers can be hot! So, when it is hot and muggy, you may be wondering what to make. It may be so hot, you simply don’t feel like firing up the stove. Don’t worry, with a little planning, meals can be a relief from the heat, not a sweaty, sticky chore.
Here are a few ideas for summer mealtimes.
Favorite Warm Weather Breakfasts
Elaborate breakfasts can be fun if you have company visiting, but if it is a typical day—be it a weekday or a weekend morning when you want to get a few extra winks—breakfast can often be a fast and easy meal. With fruit in season, yogurt with fruit and granola is a great option, but below are a few more ideas to get your shopping list started.
- Cottage cheese with fresh tomatoes.
- Sliced avocado spread on your favorite bread. Jazz it up with squirt of lime and a dash of salt.
- Hard-boiled eggs. In summer, it is helpful to have cooked eggs in the refrigerator. Make an egg salad, slice them for a sandwich or add to salads.
- Smoothies, a kid favorite for all ages. Combine yogurt, fruit, juice, honey, flax seeds…whatever you got! Blend and enjoy.
- PBJ. Sometimes a classic hits the spot. Put peanut butter and jelly on bread, toasted waffles, bagels, or crackers. Maybe you even have homemade jam from the farmers’ market, after all it’s market season.
- Overnight oatmeal. Ok, this required a bit of planning, but it can be a delicious treat to wake up to. Before you go to bed, combine 4 cups of water with 1 cup steel cut oats and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil (it’s nighttime, so it should be a little cooler) Remove from heat. Cover your pot of oatmeal and let it sit overnight. In the morning it will be ready to eat. If you want it warm, feel free to reheat and add more water if desired. From there the sky is the limit, add cinnamon, berries, bananas, raisins, milk, honey…whatever your heart desires.
Summer Lunch Ideas
Some of these ideas can also be useful for a side dish. Make it summery…focus of fruits and veggies! Sandwiches and salads are always a great go-to lunch idea during the warm months.
- Pita bread with hummus. Add vegetables—radishes, cucumbers and sprouts are favorites—sundried tomatoes and spices for a satisfying meal.
- Bean salads, from chickpea salads to lentil salads.
- Leafy salads with local veggies.
- Iceberg wedge with blue cheese. Indulge your nostalgia! It’s a classic blend of buttermilk or blue cheese salad dressing, red onion, croutons, and bacon (if you like) on top of a wedge of cold iceberg lettuce. Let your creativity run wild.
Dinner on Hot Summer Days
If you like cooking outside, you are in luck, because for many nothing says summer like a meal from the grill. From burgers to shish kebabs, cooking outside is a great solution to the hot kitchen problem. That said, some do not like grilling but still like a hot meal. No problem, use a slow cooker to keep the kitchen cool or fix a dish than can be heated a bit but won't require hanging out near a 350 degree oven for an hour or more. But, seriously, try out the slow cooker in summer. There are plenty of non-heavy crock pot recipes, it is a time saving kitchen tool that can be used for more than comfort food.
- Slow cooker meals are often thought of only in the cold months, but it can help in summer too. Simply cook something lighter, like a lemon chicken recipe. Or, if you are a vegetarian, use the slow cooker to make beans, a pairing for an home taco night.
- Cold noodle salads. It is a boon for summer cooks that quick-cooking noodles like Soba and other buckwheat noodles are ideal for summer salads. Create a sauce and you’ll wow the crowd.
- Wrap it up. Spring rolls, burritos, wraps, all full of possibility. With a bit of prep, you can have a satisfying meal. Think of a protein, something creamy, and a bit of crunch.
Whether it is lunch or dinner, something sweet is the ideal way to round out a meal. From natural fruits to homemade cakes, we have ideas for your Kentucky summer. And remember, take advantage of fresh fruits—why not, the growing season is the prime time to find fruits that are ripe and fresh—by substituting whatever fruits look most appealing at the time.
For example, if the strawberries look great in your garden, at a local farmers’ market, or at the grocery store, feel free to substitute them for blueberries, cherries, or whatever other berry is listed in your favorite recipe.
- Freeze your grapes. It doesn't get easier than this: put your grapes in the freezer, then wait. The result is a healthy frozen treat.
- I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. There's a reason the phrase never goes out of style. A cool bowl of ice cream is a great way to beat the heat.
Above are a handful of ideas to get you started. Of course, remember to drink plenty of water, too! And if you are simply too hot to cook, no one blames you. Head out and enjoy a meal at one of Louisville's amazing restaurants.
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