It’s summer and I don’t want to cook

But, eating out isn’t an option!

If you’re a working person, it’s hard to come home from work and have to think about what to cook, what’s for dinner or hear kids say that they are hunger. Sometimes you simply don’t have the money to just pick something up everyday in the summer to feed the hungry mouths at home. Here are a few tips from Michigan State University Extension to get by on a little or no-cook quest.

  1. Keep plenty of savory salad ingredients at home, like lettuce, shredded carrots, tomatoes, onions, avocado, tofu, cucumber and anything that you like in a salad. All you have to do is add leftover chicken or meat, kidney beans, black beans, cheese, boiled eggs, etc., and make a light meal.
  2. Stock up on fresh and dried fruit, fruit like peaches, pears, mangos, jicama, cranberries, raisins and apricots, etc. These can turn regular salad greens into a gourmet salad, and then top with walnuts, pecans, almond or your favorite nut.
  3. Create a salad medley. Drain and combine a can of black beans (rinsed), kidney beans, garbanzo beans and corn. Dice and add a medium red onion, half red and green pepper. Either add your favorite vinaigrette or add a light Italian dressing. Eat on its own or serve with fish from the grill or a baked potato.
  4. Organize a veggie roll-up assembly line, this way everyone can custom make his or her own roll-up. Start with whole-wheat burrito shells and a light or low-fat creamy salad dressing for the sauce. Cold-cut meats (nothing processed) are optional. Supply at least five or six bowls of veggies, like shredded carrots, finely chopped broccoli, onions, diced avocado, petite diced cucumber, finely chopped cauliflower and snap-peas, etc. Arrange the ingredients starting with the shells and dressing first. Begin assembly by using the shell as the base, butter with the dressing and layer with the desired ingredients, roll-up and eat. An optional roll-up for younger kids is to use peanut butter and raisins. Remember, no peanut butter for kids under 1-years-old or for those who have a nut allergy.
  5. Designate a movie night with salad and popcorn for dinner.
  6. Allow your teen or other family member to be in charge of a meal for one night a week, let them fix their favorite for the night while you sit back and enjoy.
  7. Use soft tortilla or burrito shells to disguise leftover food. Take leftovers combine and with onions, regular cheese or cottage cheese, maybe some hard-boiled or scrambled eggs and wrap in the shell, brush lightly with egg wash or melted butter and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until browned. Serve immediately with some cut-up fruit.
  8. Make one night a cook-out night and assign someone to be at the grill, if you are a single parent split responsibility with a neighbor or a friend.
  9. Pack a picnic; sandwiches, fruit, snacks and cold beverages. Go to the beach or park and relax.
  10. Give kids, especially teens what they want – cereal for supper. Have a variety of healthy cereals available, serve with cut-up fruit, canned fruit in its own juice or dried fruit and nuts and let them have a cereal feast.

Confine dessert to cut-up fruit, yogurt and fruit whipped topping or whipped cream with fruit. For a more indulgent dessert make a no-bake cheese cake, cake pops or a layered pudding.

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