6 Summer Recipes Your Family Will Love


I refuse to use our oven on hot days.  It seems counter-productive.  This means our summer meal options are cold sandwiches, grilling, stove-top skillets, or something that hangs out in my crockpot all day. Personally, I wish I could just dump everything in my crockpot, but that might get boring after a while.  And, we all know that toddlers would much prefer some baked nuggets, roasted veggies and tater tots.  To mix it up for your family this summer and avoid using the oven, try these recipes instead!

[dropcap]1. [/dropcap]Greek Turkey Burgers

During summer I get a little sick of burgers at every outdoor party, so this helps break it up.  My husband claims he does not like hummus, or feta, or turkey burgers for that matter, but he LOVES these.  My kids don’t really eat feta or hummus, so I just make theirs plain or with a slice of cheese.  But this is definitely a treat for us!

-4-6 turkey burger patties (I use frozen) or 1+ lbs of ground turkey plus an egg, formed into 4-6 burger patties.
-Greek seasoning (I use Wildtree’s Opa! Greek Seasoning but you can also use a combo of oregano, salt, papper, and a sprinkle of lemon juice)
-4-6 burger buns
-1 container of original hummus
-1 can of black olives, sliced
-crumbled feta cheese (I prefer garlic & herb flavor)
Sprinkle the seasoning on your raw burgers.
Grill or cook your burgers.
Spread hummus on both sides of the bun.
Put burgers in buns, top with olives and feta.
*For a low-carb option, use large bib lettuce leaves instead of a bun.
*If your kids don’t like feta or hummus, use cheddar or mozzarella for theirs.
*Disclaimer – I sell Wildtree so I can support my own addiction to their products.

[dropcap]2.[/dropcap] Chicken Wraps

I use very few directions in this because for me, cooking is all about improvising.

-3 boneless whole chicken breasts
-1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of any liquid sauce (examples that work are Caesar salad dressing, Hoisin sauce, Teriyaki sauce, Italian salad dressing, etc)
Cook chicken in crockpot on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for 3-4.
Shred the chicken with forks and stir into the sauce.
Top with either shredded cheese or a handful of broccoli slaw (sold in bags – can be purchased in the raw veggies section of your grocery store)
Wrap it all up and serve it.  Boom!  So many ideas!

[dropcap]3. [/dropcap]Skillet Jambalaya

Warning – this one can be spicy, depending what seasoning you use and how much.  If you have kids that don’t like spice, make sure you’re cautious about how much seasoning you put in.

-2-3 boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
-1 lb Andouille Sausage, sliced
-1 medium white onion, chopped
-2 stalks celery, chopped
-1/2 c each chopped fresh red, green and yellow peppers
-1 or 2 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning of your choice (I use Wildtree’s Cajun Seasoning and 1 Tbsp is enough for our family)
Cook rice either in the microwave or on the stove top.
While that is cooking, dump all of the above ingredients into a large skillet and cook about 10 min on med/high heat until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender.
Top your rice with the jambalaya and enjoy!
*For a low-carb, awesome veggie option, replace your rice with a package of cauliflower/veggie “rice.”  I just buy the frozen steam bags.  My kids love this and it adds even more veggies into their meal!

[dropcap]4. [/dropcap]To Pasta or Not to Pasta Salad

This can be made with or without the pasta in it.  My kids actually prefer ALL pasta in their pasta salad, but if you are watching your carbs, I would suggest leaving them out.  This is a perfect dish to take to a summer party.

-1 box of bow tie pasta (optional)
-1 can of large red kidney beans (optional)
-1 can of garbanzo beans
-1/2 c or more of chopped red pepper
-1/4 c chopped red onion
-1 c chopped carrots
-1 c finely chopped raw broccoli
-minced fresh cilantro (optional, can sub parsley)
-minced fresh chives (optional)
-3 Tbsp or more of olive oil
-3 Tbsp and more of rice vinegar (to taste)
Cook pasta, toss with a bit of olive oil to keep from sticking together while chilling.  Put in fridge to chill.
Once pasta is chilled, chop all the veggies and herbs.
Combine chilled pasta, herbs, veggies, and toss with olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
*Add olive oil and more rice vinegar and stir before serving because the pasta will soak a lot of this up if it sits.
*Wait until the pasta is chilled before making your pasta salad because warm pasta will soften or wilt your veggies.

[dropcap]5. [/dropcap]Homemade Granola Bars
Because my kids want SNACKS, SNACKS, and more SNACKS.  I found this recipe years ago HERE and have since made some slight changes through trial and error. My kids always want to help in the kitchen, so I let them mix the dry ingredients of this while I make the liquid portion on the stove.  Be sure to follow the directions carefully but every batch might turn out a little different. 
-1/4 c honey or agave (I usually use a mix of both)
-3 Tbs + 1 tsp of coconut oil
-1/2 c brown sugar
-pinch of salt
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1/4 c shredded coconut
-2 c plain quick-cooking oats
-1 c rice cereal (I use Rice Crispies)
-2 Tbs peanut butter (optional, but I find mine don’t stick together as well without it)
-1/2 tsp or so of cinnamon (optional)
-1/4 c to 1/2 c of raisins (optional, you can sub in choco chips but they usually melt when you mix it all together)
 Let your kids mix the coconut, oats, cinnamon and rice cereal together in a bowl.
Bring the honey/agave, brown sugar, coconut oil, and salt to a boil on medium heat on the stove.  Once it starts to form some real bubbles through at least half of the sauce pan, start your timer.  After 1 min and 30 seconds, the mixture should be bubbling all the way to the sides of the sauce pan, so take it off heat and mix.
Stir in the vanilla and peanut butter until the peanut butter is melted into the mixture.
Mix your liquids into the dry ingredients, stir until combined and sticky.  
Pour into an 8″ x 11″ pan and pack down into a flat pan of bars with a spatula.
Cool in the refrigerator about 30 min.
Cut with a large knife into 14 granola bars.  

Wrap them individually in cellophane and store in the cupboard.  They will soften up.  

[dropcap]6. [/dropcap]Summer Sorbet
Those of you that know me, know I would never skip desert.  This one is a fantastic summer treat!  Original recipe can be found HERE but I only use one of the four options they provide, and modify it to various flavors.   
-1 & 1/2 bananas
-1 & 1/2 c frozen fruit, slightly thawed but still frosty (I like strawberries or mixed berries)
-1/2 c lemon or lime juice (I use fresh-squeezed)
-pinch of salt
-1/4 c agave (or maple syrup)
Blend everything together in a high-speed blender until smooth.
Pour into small freezer-safe jars or containers and freeze.  
To enjoy, you can scoop into bowls if you let it soften a bit, or we eat it right out of the container you froze it in.  
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Jolene grew up in Luxemburg, WI. After going to college in Stevens Point and working for a year in the Milwaukee area, she moved to De Pere, WI to get married, start a family, and pursue her career. Both the youngest of six, Jolene and her husband always wanted a big family. After struggling to get pregnant, their family was jump-started by having identical twin girls, Eden and Ellie, who are now 5. Then came Jude, who will be 3 in August, and they just welcomed James, Baby #4, in June. Both she and her husband work, and Jolene owns her own company, www.howtoconcerts.com, planning large scale entertainment events across the country. Because she has to travel for work, Jolene has used a breast pump while flying, driving, walking and talking, and has the war stories to prove it. Her keys to success (aka survival) are the members of her support system, starting with her husband and extended family, and ending with good coffee and a sense of humor.