There comes a point in your adult life, maybe after you’ve moved out of your parents house or graduated college, when you realize that you can no longer live on frozen dinners and tap water for the rest of your years. You realize that it’s time for you to grow up and learn how to use that hot, box-shaped, cooking thing in your kitchen. It’s time for you to learn how to make a decent adult meal.
There were definitely some nights in the latter half of my childhood when my parents would make a meal that I wasn’t super into or there wouldn’t be enough time to make something new so I would have to scrounge up whatever leftovers I could find in the refrigerator. And all my college students/early twenties readers know that every cent counts and so whatever I could do to save money on food, I definitely would. This usually resulted in ramen noodle dinners. All of this is to say, I’m no stranger to cheap and unhealthy meals.
But still there were days where I wished I had time to make a pasta carbonara or money to buy a five-pound prime rib. Summer is one of the best times to hone in on those cooking skills and try some new recipes. Not only is it a foodie season, but you’ll likely not be bogged down with as much school work or work work and you’ll probably want to spend some time doing something as productive yet relaxing as cooking—especially if quarantine saw you doing nothing but watching Netflix on your sofa for the fourth time that week.
If all of that kind of sums up where you’re at this summer, then this post is for you. I’ve put together three of my favorite yet fairly simple to make summer meals for those of us working our way into the cusp of adulthood. I’ve even separated them into breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals for convenience. Check it out!
You can’t go wrong with some pancakes or waffles for breakfast. Sometimes I find that just following the box mix directions can result in some pretty bland cakes, so I like to add some fruit or chocolate—or even a little powered sugar and whipped cream if I’m feeling extra fancy—to spice things up. Here’s what you’ll need:
Pancake/waffle box mix (Bisquick is my go-to brand; It’s easy to find and easy to use)
2 eggs (Depending on your mix directions)
Milk (Depending on your mix directions)
Vegetable oil (Depending on your mix directions)
Strawberries (Sliced) (Optional; Blueberries and bananas also work well)
Chocolate chips (Optional)
Powdered sugar (Optional)
Whipped cream (Optional)
You’re also going to need some measuring cups, a mixing bowl, and a whisk. I made waffles this time around, so make sure you have a waffle maker if you’re looking to do the same.
1. Depending on what kind of pancakes or waffles you want, the ingredients you need are going to differ. So make sure you have all the basics and the extras you want for the perfect summer breakfast.
2. Start by mixing your box mix, milk, eggs, and vegetable oil together. Make sure to rid your mixture of any lumps before moving on to the next step.
3. Because I made two different types of waffles, I didn’t add my strawberries or chocolate chips into the bowl. Instead, I turned on my waffle maker, added the mix followed by the strawberries/chips. I like to top it off with another thin layer of the mix, almost so the added extras sit in the middle of the waffle. You can do this with pancakes on a skillet too.
4. The waffle always turn out fairly think, so just a few rounds should be fine for one or two people. You can also add some syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, a cherry, or whatever it is you’re feeling as a little something extra. Then enjoy!
This recipe never takes me more than ten minutes to complete, and it goes great with a morning cappuccino or even a glass of orange juice.
I also found this great vegan recipe for banana pancakes/waffles. If you want me to try them out and give my personal review on here, let me know in the comments section down below!
For lunch, I made my “easy-to-make” take on a caprese sandwich. This meal is light yet filling, vegetarian, and takes maybe ten minutes to set up. You’re going to need:
One Italian sub roll (I used a baguette and I’ve also seen it made with flatbread; you can use any type of bread, as long as it’s not sliced)
Balsamic (I didn’t have any, but traditionally, this is included in most recipes)
Spinach (Most recipes call for basil leaves, but I had to make do with what I could find in my kitchen)
Salt (For taste)
Pepper (For taste)
1. After prepping all of your ingredients, start by cutting your bread in half, length-wise.
2. Drizzle olive oil (and balsamic glaze, if you have it) on both halves.
3. Add your spinach (or basil), tomatoes, and mozzarella to one side. Then add a pinch of salt and pepper to round out the taste.
4. Close your sandwich and enjoy! Or wrap tightly to eat for later.
I actually ended up slicing my sandwich in half width-wise to make it easier for me to pick up and eat. I found that like many foods, it did taste better to me right when it was freshly made versus the half that I had for a midnight snack later in the day. But that could also possibly be because my sandwich wrapping skills aren’t the best and maybe if I had done a better job, more of the flavor would have stayed packed in. But I guess we’ll never know. Overall, ten out of ten would recommend this easy recipe for a light summer meal.
Nothing screams summer to me quite like a grill-prepared dinner. Steak and veggies are a beautiful pairing and make for a filling meal. It is a little bit more expensive than the previous two, but it’s totally worth it for the taste you’ll get. For this dinner, you’re going to need:
Red peppers (Sliced)
Red onion (Sliced)
Salt (For taste)
Pepper (For taste)
BBQ marinade (For taste)
You’re also going to need some aluminum foil to wrap your chopped vegetables in so they don’t fall through the grate of your grill and so that the flavor stays packed in. Some steak sauce is also a good addition for the final product. Oh, and just in case I didn’t make it clear, the is a grill-prepared meal, so make sure you have one of those.
1. I always start by washing all my produce so that I know that I’m working with super clean food. After that you want to make sure everything is sliced and diced the way you want it—I included how I like it in the ingredients section above.
2. I know that sometimes people marinade their meats overnight. But I just use some BBQ marinade powder a couple of minutes before I set it on the grill. I make sure to cover both sides then add a little salt and pepper for taste.
3. Once everything’s prepared, I go ahead and start my charcoal grill. It takes a little bit to heat up, so account for that in your meal preparation time. I always start by grilling the steaks first because they take the longest to cook.
4. My grill is pretty small, so I have to wait until the steak is done before I can do the veggies. The steak takes about 30 minutes to grill, depending on how thick your slabs are, and the veggies take about 10 minutes. Using that time, you can plan accordingly when to add your veggies to the grill if you want everything to be done at the same time.
5. After everything cooks, I taste-test the veggies just to make sure their nice and soft to the bite. I also cut the meat in half to make sure it cooked all the way through. Once everything looks good, you can set it out and enjoy with family or friends!
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I had a really fun time trying all these meals this last week. Let me know if you try any of the recipes down in the comments section! And if you have any summer meals you’d care to share, leave those down in the comments as well!
Just in case you haven’t heard… I’m publishing a new book! From crushes to heartbreak, Poems About You explores all the rushing excitement and empty crying that comes with falling in and out of love. The book comes out on 18 October 2020 and I’ve got some exciting plans as the release inches closer. Make sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram so you don’t miss out on any sneak peaks or giveaways! Please please please subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already. And if you’re interested in getting early access to blog posts or even exclusive content, make sure to check out my Patreon page! Thanks for reading! I’ll catch you guys next week!