Shopping ahead is really important during the summer. Not only can you save yourself several trips to the supermarket when you'd rather be enjoying the warmer weather, you can also plan to have a cooler on hand to keep perishable foods at the proper temperature until you get your groceries home. Plus, if you stock the cupboards and freezer with food ahead of time, you can always have ingredients to prepare quick summer meals.
Try to shop only once a week and buy only enough produce and fresh foods to use up within the week. Buy meats on sale and cook up extra to add to salads for super quick summer meals such as lunches or light suppers. To save time, you can store cut-up vegetables and washed salad greens in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Carrots cut into sticks as well as other sliced or chopped raw vegetables are perfect to have on hand for snacks. All you need is some salad dressing to use for a dip.
If you find the fruit you bought starting to get too ripe, make a large fruit salad to accompany your summer meals. Most adults and kids enjoy fruit salad, and it can look quite colorful and special even if you simply chop up several different fruits and blend them together in a large bowl. Try setting the bowl of fruit salad in the freezer for five or ten minutes before serving for an extra cold refreshing side dish or dessert on a hot day.
When you make corn on the cob and have leftovers, scrape the kernels off the cob with a small knife. You can use up the corn along with any other fresh vegetables such as chopped tomato or leftover cooked broccoli in omelettes for quick summer meals. Leftover cheeses such as those from a cheese and fruit plate lunch can be grated and combined as a filling for the omelettes.
Macaroni salad makes a popular and inexpensive side dish for many quick summer meals such as barbecued chicken with a vegetable plate. You can use whole wheat macaroni for more nutrition. Many types of leftover cooked vegetables such as carrots or broccoli can be added to macaroni salad if they are chopped fairly fine. Cooked rice with chopped vegetables added can be made into a cold salad dish as well.