I usually try to prepare meals at home, but with the arrival of summer, any desire I might have had to spend hours in the sweltering kitchen has vanished. Now, I try to keep my meals as simple and quick as possible, taking advantage of fresh, summer produce. My favorite dinner recipes are both healthy and can be made in 30 minutes or less. Fortunately, the majority of these recipes don’t even require turning on the oven.

Peach and Goat Cheese Salad

goat-cheese-salad

One of my favorite cheeses is Rocamadour, a delicious goat’s milk cheese made in Rocamadour, France, with unpasteurized milk. Just thinking about it makes me want to hop on a plane to the gorgeous Périgord region. But since that isn’t always possible, I happily settle for any number of delicious American goat cheeses. This salad featuring goat cheese and peaches is light and fresh, perfect for a hot summer evening. My husband included this recipe in a recipe book that he made me for Mother’s Day, and it’s become my go-to salad ever since.

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 3 large peaches
  • 1 bag spinach
  • 1/4-1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2.5 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced, honey-roasted almonds
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

 

Instructions

Slice the peaches into wedges and coat them with the olive oil. Grill them on a stovetop cast iron griddle (or a grill, if you have one) on medium heat until the grill marks appear. Remove the peaches from the heat and allow them to cool for a few minutes. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, blueberries, goat cheese, and almonds. Top with the vinaigrette and devour! Sometimes I like to spread some extra goat cheese on crackers and eat it along with the salad. The tart goat cheese pairs well with the sweet grilled peaches, and the almonds provide a nice crunch.

Kimchi and Quinoa Bowls

 Quinoa-Bowls

I adore kimchi and would happily put it on most things. A cabbage-based fermented Korean dish, it’s got a spicy, biting flavor that livens up a bowl of rice or quinoa. Making my own kimchi would be too time-consuming for me, so I usually buy mine from the store. I bet it tastes even better in South Korea, home of kimchi, but I’ll know for sure when I visit. Kimchi and quinoa bowls are an easy weeknight dinner that my family loves.

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of chopped kale
  • 1 cup of chopped kimchi
  • 2 cups of cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp kimchi juice from the bottom of the jar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
  • sliced green onions (optional)
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • seaweed (optional)

 

Instructions

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the garlic and ginger for about a minute. Add the kimchi and quinoa to the skillet and cook for about three minutes. Turn the heat down to low and add the hot sauce and kimchi juice, stirring occasionally. While the kimchi and quinoa are cooking, fry the eggs in a separate skillet. In a pot, steam the kale for about a minute. Once you have prepared the ingredients, divide it evenly between a few bowls and top with green onions, sesame seeds and seaweed, if desired.

 

Garlic Mushroom Quesadillas

Garlic-Mushroom- Quesadillas

Without a doubt, quesadillas are my favorite lazy food to make, and fortunately my toddler enjoys them too. They may not be the healthiest dish on this list, but vegetables are good for you, right? One of the best things about quesadillas is that you can make them with almost any ingredients — as long as you also include cheese. I’m itching to follow in the footsteps of several friends and visit Oaxaca, Mexico — not only the home of the quesadilla but a region exploding with culinary flavor. Making quesadillas doesn’t require precise ingredients nor quantities, so you can decide how much of each ingredient to use.

Ingredients (serves however many you want to make)

  • tortillas
  • sliced button or cremini mushrooms
  • sliced red or white onions
  • minced garlic
  • chopped cilantro
  • shredded cheese of choice (Pepper jack, smoked gouda and white cheddar all work well)
  • canola oil
  • salt and pepper
  • salsa

Instructions

Heat up the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion, cooking for about 5-7 minutes until brown. Add the mushrooms and the garlic until the mushrooms soften. Wash the skillet (or use a different one), and place a tortilla in it. Fill with the garlic/mushroom/onion mixture, cilantro, shredded cheese and salt and pepper. Top with the other tortilla and cook until the cheese has melted, flipping it at least once. Serve with salsa.

 

Black Bean Tostadas

Black-Bean-Tostadas

I can’t help but be a little obsessed with Tex-Mex food. Recently I’ve been thinking about taking a weekend trip down to Austin, Texas, so that I can eat as much of it as my heart desires. Reasonably-priced Tex Mex isn’t as ubiquitous in New York, so making my own (easy) version is usually the best option. I like to make this recipe for my family since everyone can add the ingredients they prefer. The table’s usually a little messy after my son is done with his tostada, but I don’t mind.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • tostada shells or tortillas (1-2 for each person)
  • shredded cheese of choice
  • shredded lettuce
  • 1 can rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 chopped jalapeño pepper
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • salsa
  • guacamole or sliced avocados

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine crushed tomatoes, beans, onions, jalapeño, garlic, chili powder and red pepper flakes. Cook for 10-15 minutes and add a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Warm the tortillas or tostada shells up in the oven or microwave and then divide mixture among them. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and salsa.

Veggie Pizza

Veggie-Pizza

A few years ago, my husband and I visited Italy and ate delicious (and cheap!) veggie pizzas from a wood-fired oven every day. Now he dreams of having our own wood-fired oven. In the meantime, my husband created his own delicious veggie pizza recipe — and uses store-bought dough to save time. On Sundays, my husband prepares this dish with our toddler, and I snap photo after photo of their messy but adorable activity. While the pizza bakes, I put together a collage of their cooking and post it on Facebook.

Ingredients: (4 servings)

  • store-bought pizza dough
  • olive oil
  • tomato sauce
  • shredded mozzarella
  • shredded Parmesan
  • sliced tomato
  • chopped spinach
  • chopped garlic
  • chopped zucchini
  • chopped squash
  • salt and pepper

Directions

I left the amounts off of the ingredients list because my husband usually just throws together whatever we have in a rather haphazard manner. Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees and coating a baking sheet in cooking spray. Spread out your package of store-bought pizza dough and brush the top with olive oil. Spread the tomato sauce on the dough and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer the spinach, cheeses, tomatoes, garlic, zucchini, squash, and more cheese. Bake for 18-22 minutes until the crust is crispy.

What are your favorite quick and healthy recipes for the summer?

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