3 Ingredients for a Perfect Summer Meal
Rebecca Fillmore is a talented food blogger, Noonday Ambassador, and mom of three. She is passionate about creating delicious, accessible meals that feed the whole family. Today on Flourish, Rebecca shares her tips for creating the perfect summer meal.
Keeping a dish simple, cool, and fresh is essential for my summer meals. It keeps them tasting delicious and enjoyable to make! Today I will share why these essentials are a must, plus introduce you to a yummy dish that meets all of these criteria.
I love summer! Or should I say, I love the sun. So much so that I’m willing to mow my lawn in the heat and humidity that comes with wonderfully sunny Iowa summers. Despite the heat, I am on the go during the summer and I drag my family along with me. We are pool dwellers and park goers when we aren’t road tripping somewhere. Because of this I look for three essentials things when it comes to cooking in the summer.
It needs to be simple to put together. I don’t have a problem if it takes a long time to cook, but I don’t want to spend my time slaving away in a warm kitchen during the summer. I want to be playing, traveling, or reading a book. “One pan meals” are what I go for many times during the summer. The great thing about a “one pan meal” is that it has all of the elements of your entire meal in one dish. No need to make a side of vegetables and grain—it’s already in the mix. Most “one pan meals” have many options to vary the taste of the dish thanks to toppings you can prepare for the meal while it’s cooking. Making delicious meals that I can put together in 30 minutes or less are key to my sanity during the summer months.
It needs to be cooked in a way that keeps my house cool. One of the hardest parts for me about the heat of the summer is cooking. My house just holds the heat once I turn my oven on. Am I the only one? Please, someone tell me I’m not! I really don’t mind a warm summer meal; it’s the heat of the oven that makes me uncomfortable. I believe this is the case for most people, and definitely is the case for the people that live in my house. We get very grouchy when it gets too hot in our house. To remedy this (or should I say, to prevent meltdowns from both children and adults alike) I often resort to quick stove top meals, the crock pot, or grilling.
It needs to taste fresh. Summer comes with so many wonderful, fresh vegetables in my part of the country. There are farmer’s markets galore in the Midwest where you can get fresh vegetables and herbs. I even have a garden of my own this year, which is pretty much the best thing ever. It is a shame when those wonderful foods don’t get incorporated into my meals. If I’m making chili, you bet there will be fresh tomatoes in it with some fresh string beans on the side. Add any fresh herb picked from my little herb garden to the top of my main dish and I’m ready to go. If nothing else, I want to give a polite nod to summer during my meals.
Let’s put these three essentials to the test in your kitchen! I’m going to provide you with a simple, cool, and fresh meal to try out in this summer heat. It is a one pan meal (simple) that you cook on your stove top for about 30 minutes (cool) that features vegetables and herbs (fresh).
This is a stovetop version of my popular Taco Seasoned Chicken and Rice recipe with a fresh summer twist. In my original recipe I use rice, a pre-made salsa, and bake the dish. For summer I’m going to switch the rice out for quinoa, put some fresh herbs and vegetables into the pan, and cook it on the stovetop.
This is such a great meal to put together for any kind of summer day. Whether you need to refuel after a long day of swimming, put together a quick meal before a softball game, or if you just want to relax and have a fresh summer meal, this should do the trick for you!
Stovetop Taco Seasoned Chicken and Quinoa
By: Becca F. Fillmore, dinnerforeveryone.com
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound of chicken cut into chunks
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional, use less or more depending on how hot you want it)
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup fresh corn kernels (can use frozen corn if needed)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
¼ cup chopped green onion
¼ cup chopped cilantro (plus extra for topping if desired)
Top with avocado and cilantro
Chop chicken into chunks and place in a bowl. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper (if using), and salt to the bowl. Stir the spices and the chicken until the chicken is evenly coated with the spice mixture. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add chicken. Add ¼ cup water to prevent spices from burning. Cook chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side. If the chicken isn’t cooked all the way through, that is OK! It will finish cooking during the rest of the process. Remove the frying pan from heat, add tomatoes, corn kernels, uncooked quinoa, and chicken broth (or water). Stir gently until evenly combined. Put frying pan back on heat and bring mixture to a boil, then cover, turn to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat after 20 minutes and let sit (still covered) for about 5 minutes. Take the lid off, fluff mixture with a fork. Stir in green onions and cilantro. Serve warm topped with avocado and more cilantro for the perfect summer meal.
Visit our Good Eats Pinterest board for more delicious dinner ideas you can pull together in a snap!
Meet Rebecca Fillmore
Becca was born and raised in Iowa and is now raising her family there. She is the kind of person that when she puts her mind to something, it gets done, and it usually gets done fast! Getting up and doing something she is passionate about is what brings purpose to her life. So whether it is doing a Trunk Show as a Noonday Ambassador, developing a talent, or adventuring with her husband and three children, she considers it fuel for her life. Becca also LOVES food! Creating a meal and sharing it with others is always an exciting experience for her. She shares this excitement at dinnerforeveryone.com, which features realistic recipes and sincere thoughts.