Mom Tested, Kid Approved: Quick Summertime Meals

We’ve all been there–it’s been a long summer day, you either just got home from work or swim practice and you have ravenous children asking WHAT ARE WE GOING TO EAT?!? Summertime can easily put a dent in the budget with stopping to grab something on the way home every day, but FAST food doesn’t always have to be FAST FOOD drive thru.

The JMB ladies have compiled some quick and easy summertime recipes that don’t take a lot of prep work (or can be made ahead of time) so that dinner can be on the table quickly.

Crockpot Taco Night

No prep work is really needed for this recipe, except tossing things in the crockpot. That’s what makes Jena’s family love their crockpot tacos night.

Throw in a 1 lb to 1.5 lb chicken (or beef ) in crockpot and pour a jar of salsa over. Cook for 3 hours on low. You can add chopped veggies the last 30 mins.  Use whatever shells your prefer (soft or hard) and you’re good to go!



Burrito Bowls

Shannon’s family loves Taco night too. She prefers to make burrito bowls. Either way, easy and delicious meal ready in minutes.

The kids call it taco night but it’s really rice and bean burritos. My go-to last minute easy meal. I always have a can of black beans, easy minute rice, salsa and some soft tortilla shells in the pantry. Pull out any veggies we have in the fridge and cheese. I just put it all out in bowls and everyone fixes their own. It’s always a kid favorite and it’s so easy to throw together.

Healthy Corn Dogs

Jennifer shared a healthy corn dog recipe that her son loves.

These are great because you can make ahead and freeze them.  Take them out as needed.

Summer Salad

Erin is one of our resident vegetarians on the blog.  It’s so great (and she makes it sound so simple) how she finds foods that I would normally not pair together, but end up tasting delicious in the end.  She shares her love for what she likes to call “summer salad.” Not much prep to it and doesn’t it sound so refreshing?!? Perfect for those hot Summer days.

Toss together watermelon, feta and mint.  For those that want a little meat, she adds bacon and red onion to it. Mix together and voila! Easy, peasy.



Whole 30 Chicken & Zucchini Poppers

Many people have done or are doing Whole 30.  Cheryl has found a great recipe for Chicken & Zucchini Poppers that is Whole 30 approved and her kids love too!

They’re great to make ahead and pop them in oven when you need them.

Tomato Basil Pasta

A busy mom of four, Meg shares her love for a yummy pasta salad. Take 1 lb whole wheat penne pasta, one box of grape tomatoes (or more if you really like them), one container of mozzerella balls (publix has a brand that has them in the “gourmet” cheese fridge and they say “pearls” on the wrapper). Chop in a handful of basil. Two or three cloves of garlic crushed/chopped, salt and pepper, olive oil to coat.

This is easy because you can throw it in a bowl whenever during the day, leave it on the counter to marinate and cook the pasta when you’re ready to actually eat it. I halve or quarter the tomatoes and cheese, crush the garlic, cut up the basil, put in a bowl with olive oil and add some salt and pepper. Then I put a paper towel over it until we are ready to eat. The hot pasta will melt the cheese.

Easy Chicken Fried Rice

Mary Lauren shares her love for this fake take out Chicken Fried Rice.

Perfect for when you’re craving take-out.



Ginger Crockpot Chicken

Another easy crock pot meal for the win. Brandi loves this Ginger Chicken crock pot recipe.

1 bottle of Ginger salad dressing + chicken breasts. Serve with fast rice or mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Done and Done!

Black Bean Mango Salad

Bernadyn loves to make this easy Summer Black Bean Mango Salad for her family.

Make ahead to allow the flavors to marinate together or right before the meal. Either way, it’s delicious!

Shrimp Tacos with Corn Salad

Cassy like to pair this meal for her family.  Can be made together or separate.  So scrumptious!

Corn Salad:
10 ears of corn
Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Basil (chopped)
White wine vinaigrette
Salt and pepper

Boil the corn for 2-3 minutes, and then immediately place them in the strainer while running cold water over the corn to stop the cooking. Once cool, cut the kernels off the cob. Add in the tomatoes, and the basil, white wine vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss, and then place in the refrigerator. Let chill before serving (and serve cold). Quick, easy, and the ULTIMATE summer side dish.

Shrimp Tacos:
1 lb shrimp
Shredded lettuce
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper
Greek yogurt or sour cream (greek yogurt if you want it to be low-fat)
Olive oil

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over lettuce, and place lettuce into skillet. Heat for a few minutes, until lettuce begins to wilt. Remove from heat. Chop cilantro. Place 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt or sour cream into a blender. Add cilantro, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and the juice of one lime. Puree until blended.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (to your taste). Cook shrimp until they are pink. Toss with lime juice from another lime. To assemble: place cilantro sauce on tortilla, then place shrimp, lettuce, and tomatoes on top. Enjoy!

Quinoa & Turkey Taco Bake

Allison is a working mom, so she knows what it’s like to have a home cooked meal ready when she gets home.  This is a meal she can make ahead of time (or in that moment) and throw it in the oven.

Quinoa & Turkey Taco Bake
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
4 oz. tomato sauce
1 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2.5 tbsp. chili powder
2.5 tsp. cumin
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 oz. petite diced tomatoes (canned)
1/2 chopped jalapeno
greek yogurt and chopped green onion

Prepare 1 cup quinoa as directed on package and set aside. Brown turkey with garlic and then add cumin, chili powder, jalapeño and diced tomato. Add cooked quinoa, tomato sauce and 1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Stir well and transfer to a greased baking dish. Top with remaining cheese (1 cup). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Top with greek yogurt and green onions.

Taco Pizza

Mischelle shares her love for her family’s love of Taco pizza.
My family likes when I make taco pizza (the best of both worlds). I get a store bought whole grain thin pizza crust, a can of red enchilada sauce for the “pizza sauce. I add cooked ground turkey taco meat, shredded cheddar, diced tomatoes and onions (or store-bought pico de gallo). Bake, then top with prepackaged shredded lettuce, black olives, jalapeño (for the adult side), and drizzle with sour cream on top. Sooo easy and you can get creative with it – sometimes we use avocados, salsa, black beans, corn, whatever you like!


Get Creative with Leftovers

Kathy loves to improvise when possible.  She takes extra meat from another meal made previously that week and turns it into a meal for the family.

Grill a little extra steak or pork and slice up for a quick stir fry. Heat oil in pan, add sliced onions and green beans or other veggies. Then add meat. Serve with steamed rice

Puerto Rican Picadillo

One of MY family’s favorite dishes is Puerto Rican Picadillo.  It’s simple, yet delicious.

I follow the GOYA recipe for the most part, but add in extra flavors as I see needed. My kids don’t know this, but I always add some pureed vegetable into the mix. Usually it’s a veggie they typically don’t like to eat. But it makes me happy knowing they’re getting it in the meal anyways. I make some type of rice in our rice cooker. Once both are done, I add a spoonful of rice then the picadillo on top. I add Cholula hot sauce to mine….ALWAYS.

What’s a Summer recipe without a fun, cold drink in your hand {for the parents, obviously}.  We LOVE the Columbia restaurants Sangria recipe!

Hopefully this compilation of fun recipes will help you all get through some of the remaining summer months. What is your family’s go-to quick summer meal?

Patricia Kozack
Patricia Kozack is a professional makeup artist, wife and mom to two kids. Her days are spent wrangling the kids, being a mom taxi, and getting a workout in on the tennis courts. Her weekends are spent beautifying clients for their weddings and events.  She is obsessed with all things beauty related and cannot wait to share her niche of the world with Jacksonville Mom.


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