For my family, summer is not all about cooking, unlike during the winter holidays. Instead, it is about spending time outdoors, going on summer adventures, visiting with friends and family, days at the park or pool, and nights on the grass watching a movie or music concert under the stars. It is about inviting the neighbors over for a campfire and smores, catching lighting bugs, trying to get all of the ice cream drips before they run down your arm, and re-experiencing the feel of a light breeze coming off of the ocean.
Still, we all have to eat, so I try to keep things simple, but inexpensive. I utilize a lot of fresh produce from the CSA, a local farm run by a convent, and supplement that with items from the pantry and the freezer. The last thing we feel like doing, besides cooking, when the temperatures warm, is to spend hours inside of a grocery store. The local farmer’s market can supply great fresh fruit for snacks and desert.
I try to get creative with our main meals. Here is one of my easy summer meal options; share your own on the Families.com Facebook page.
The night before, take some boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the freezer, or defrost them in the microwave as needed. Place the chicken breasts in a greased baking dish. Cover the chicken breasts in salsa, either homemade or store-bought.
Bake the chicken at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. I like to place the chicken breasts in a square 8×8 or 9×9 glass dish and bake them in the toaster oven. The toaster oven puts less heat into the room, which is important in the summer.
When the chicken is done, sprinkle shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese on top. Place back in the oven for about three minutes until the cheese melts and you are done.
Serve with rice or a quick salad.