Complete Make-Ahead Summer Dinner Menu & Recipes
This Delicious Summer Dinner Menu Features Make-Ahead Recipes
Summertime and the living is easy! Or maybe just easier with this complete summer dinner menu comprised mostly of recipes that can be made ahead!
Some of them require quite a bit of work beforehand (potato salad generally does) but, on the day you are having company, you are hosting a BBQ or just need your supper to be ready and waiting, there is little work to be done.
My family usually takes a number of the components of this meal when we go camping. We arrive and set up camp and our first night supper is ready and waiting for us in the cooler. We also often take parts of this meal to potluck dinners or to the homes of our family and friends.
Mix 'N Match Summer Dinner Idea
On this page, you will find my complete summertime menu which includes recipes for tossed salad, glazed baked ham, Hawaiian potato salad, country seed bread, Hawaiian punch and even a couple of dessert options. I have been making parts of this meal for up to twenty years and assembling the whole menu periodically for the last eight. As a Mom of teenage boys, lots of food is always welcome and anything that provides delicious leftover possibilities, fantastic!
Of course you can choose whichever components of this meal that you like. You can simplify it by eliminating the baked ham and serving deli ham instead. Or maybe you have your own family-favourite potato salad so you'll take a pass on the one I've included. However you choose to create your menu, I hope you'll enjoy some of the ideas on this page and that some of these recipes will become favourites of yours, too!
"The ant is knowing and wise,
but he doesn't know enough
to take a vacation."
~~ Clarence Day
The Best-Ever Glazed Baked Ham Recipe
How would you describe the best-ever glazed baked ham recipe? In my opinion, the recipe for the best baked ham would have to be fairly easy to put together and yield an absolutely delicious result. This recipe does just that. It is actually very easy and the result will melt-in-your-mouth.
- The Best-Ever Glazed Baked Ham Recipe
If you're looking for an easy to put together meal, consider a baked ham.
- Ham Around With These Ham Jokes, Pictures & Humor!
Come on in and ham around with me! Check out some of the ham humour I've turned up!
The Best-Ever Garden Salad Recipe
The Best-Ever Garden Salad Recipe is a special recipe that I take to potlucks and occasionally make for my family. It is a yummy recipe for a tossed green salad that features a wonderful low-fat dressing. The recipe originates from the Looneyspoons: Low-fat Food Made Fun cookbook authors, Janet and Great Podleski.
- The Best-Ever Looneyspoons Garden Salad Recipe
Looking for a yummy low-fat salad recipe? This Looneyspoons recipe is nutritious and delicious!
- Janet and Greta Podleski's Looneyspoons, A Low-Fat C...
Looneyspoons may well be my favorite cookbook, ever. Definitely this great Canadian cookbook is in my top five. This wonderful, low-fat cookbook is jam packed with 150 great recipes, lots of information and some pretty great humor. It makes trying...
The Oxo Good Grips Green Salad Spinner
Allows you to spin your salad dry quickly and easily. It is Amazon's top selling salad spinner.
The best salad spinner is The OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner. It is Amazon's bestseller and has is the salad spinner with the most five-star Amazon customer reviews. Plus, I can personally vouch for it. We have had this kitchen tool in our kitchen for years and we love it!
- The Best Salad Spinner Is The OXO Salad Spinner
Eating healthily is a little easier when you have great kitchen tools like this OXO salad spinner!
- How To Choose The Best Tools For Kitchen Use
Whether you are equipping your first kitchen, outfitting a new one or just looking for some new kitchen gadgets, this page will point you to some of the best pieces.
The Best-Ever Hawaiian Potato Salad Recipe
Potato salad is one of those foods that tastes better the next day. That suits me perfectly on occasions when I want to have part or all of the meal made ahead of time. This one definitely gains a lot of flavour overnight and I wouldn't dream of serving it on the day I made it!
Not the simplest potato salad recipe ever, this is certainly one of the most delicious ones! It contains more vegetables than the average potato salad and a slightly lighter-tasting and healthier dressing that still manages to be true to a mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip) based potato salad.
- The Best-Ever Hawaiian Potato Salad Recipe
Potato salad, made with this recipe, is one of my favorite things to eat in the summer.
The Cold Bowl On Ice Will Help
Make sure that you keep your potato salad cold. Don't take any chances on serving your family and friends an 'iffy' salad.
The Cold Bowl on Ice is an attractive acrylic bowl that will help keep your salad chilled. You simply fill the base with ice. The cold will travel into the bowl and chill the food. I think that the fact that the bowl is acrylic is a bonus in the summertime when life tends to be more casual. It is break-resistant and dishwasher safe, perfect for The Best-Ever Hawaiian Potato Salad.
Don't use this bowl for transporting your potato salad unless you place it in a cooler with plenty of ice. The real purpose of the Cold Bowl on Ice is to keep your salad cold while it is on the table and people are serving themselves from it.
Two More Salad Side Dish Ideas
A snow pea salad and a cold rice salad.
If you need to round out your meal a bit more, you could consider adding a The Best-Ever Molded Rice Salad. Both are unique additions to your summer dinner menu.
- The Best-Ever Molded Rice Salad Recipe
Here's a different way to serve your rice in the summertime: in a molded salad.
- The Best-Ever Marinated Snow Peas and Tomatoes Salad...
If you are looking for a very fresh, wonderfully nutritious, extremely delicious and boldly colorful salad, The Best-Ever Marinated Snow Peas and Tomatoes salad is the one for you. It is a simple salad or side dish, consisting of just eight...
"Large, naked raw carrots
are acceptable as food
only to those
who lie in hutches
eagerly awaiting Easter."
~~ Fran Lebowitz
The Best Ever Veggies and Dip or Crudites Ideas
Crudites do a wonderful job of rounding out this meal. They provide color and crunch and, of course, more nutrition. Best of all, they are easy and when I put a plate of them together they disappear faster than lightning! (On the other hand, if my family opens the fridge and sees a bag of whole carrots or a cucumber, they are NOT going to be eating those vegetables!)
So in terms of this meal, I always prepare carrot coins. I used to buy baby carrots but I no longer consider them an option for my family. I also always prepare cucumbers and bell peppers. They are, if you will, the foundation of our crudites selection.
Depending on when the vegetables will be eaten and how much time I have to prepare them, I build up from there. I might add broccoli, cauliflower or cherry tomatoes but of course, the choice is endless. You can add any vegetables you desire.
If we are eating them at home, we have a fun fish-shaped platter that we use. My boys are teenagers but they still love those fun touches. If we are taking the vegetables to a potluck or a dinner, I will put them on a pretty white platter that I have although I am looking at the serving tray on ice shown below and thinking I ought to have one of those! A final option is the trusty Ziplock freezer bag. I use them when we are taking the vegetables on a trip, like to the campground. They are sturdy and malleable which means that when I squeeze them into the cooler, they are happy to fill whatever nooks and crannies are available. The crudites are usually the first item out of the cooler when we arrive at the campsite!
Dip? Oh yes, we have to have dip. (As a matter of fact, dipping it is the only way one of my sons can eat a carrot.) For convenience, we often buy a healthy choice salad dressing from the grocery store. However, we also frequently put together a natural lemon dill dip mix like one of these.
Appetizers on Ice Serving Tray
A 2-in-1 revolving serving tray with lid.
Perfect for keeping your crudites cold, this dish features a deep bottom tray for crushed ice and three food trays that sit above. It also comes with a removable cup for placing your dip in. Each of the trays on top has a lid to help keep the cold in and the insects out. Perfect for supper, this tray is made of clear acrylic so it won't be easily broken.
"He was in love with life
as an ant on a
summer blade of grass."
~~ Ben Hecht
The Best-Ever Country Seed Bread
The Best-Ever Country Seed Bread Recipe is a delight to throw together using your bread machine. Most recipes for your bread maker are easy, but not all are as delicious as this one is. It always receives rave reviews and is a staple at our house.
If you are travelling, you'll want to make this bread the day before but otherwise, I would choose to make it the day of your dinner for there is nothing like the smell of a loaf of homemade bread fresh out of the bread machine.
- The Best-Ever Country Seed Bread Recipe
This homemade bread recipe, made with the assistance of a bread machine, wins rave reviews every time.
The Best-Ever Hawaiian Punch Recipe
And a beautiful red pitcher to serve it in.
We love this Hawaiian punch and we serve it at parties, at special breakfasts like Christmas and Easter and when we just feel like treating ourselves. It is delicious, easy and nutritious plus we always feel like the day is special when we make an out-of-the-ordinary drink in the morning. It is a great family recipe although the measurements for adding rum are given. We have never found it necessary to do so though.
This recipe originated from the Culinary Arts Program at Maui Community College. I am sorry to say that I have absolutely no idea where I found it but I am pleased to say that we LOVE it. It's perfect for any party or gathering plus we often have it for a special breakfast, at a birthday party and my son even dressed as a Hawaiian and sold it at a cultural fair at his middle school. (Everybody loved it!)
The Ants Go Marching
Two By Two,
So Many More Great Summer Dinner Ideas
- Summer Menu by Martha Stewart
Corn fritters, barbecued chicken, and watermelon pops -- a perfect summer meal for every member of the family.
- Summer Dinner Menu by Martha Stewart
It's the season of dads and grads. Host a warm-weather fried-chicken feast, topped off with a rich chocolate cake.
- Summer Dinner Menu from Food Network
Dinner on the Deck Take advantage with this down-home supper.
- Healthy Summer Menus : Recipes and Cooking : Food Network
Enjoy seasonal fare that's delicious and guilt-free. Leisurely Summer Lunch, Midsummer's Night Cookout ,Dog Day Picnic and Dinner Party Under the Stars.
- Summer Dinner Menu by Jamie Oliver
Food fit for the king from Jamie's Dinners. Throwing a party? Make it an Elvis night! Homemade burgers, chips and coke floats for the kids. Delicious chicken Maryland, chop salad and Margaritas for the adults! It's food fit for the King!
- Summer Dinner - Alfresco Fiesta - Party Planning by Rachael Ray
When the weather heats up, so does the food. From Everyday by Rachel Ray.
- Summer Picnic - Get Together - by Rachael Ray
Grab some friends for a last-minute lunch in the park from Every Day with Rachel Ray.
- Summer Pool Party - Party Planning - by Rachael Ray
When the weather's warm and the days are long, we think: cookout! Fire up the grill, invite your gang over and serve up a spread of barbecue-friendly food, like burgers, ribs and chicken, along with all the fixings. We've got great recipes, how-to gr
- Summer Dinner Menu by Sandra Lee of the Food Network
Tropical Dinner Party: Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. Sandra has come up with a tropical take on the best way to delight and satisfy your dinner party guests. She gets started with an iceberg wedge and teardrop tomatoes with country club dres
- Summer Dinner of Grilled Lobster & Summer Vegetables by Wolfgang Puck
Even though many people nowadays love to grill year round, the Labor Day weekend has become the traditional official end of the summer grilling season. And that means that many outdoor grill fans are on the lookout for a recipe that will be the perfe
- Summer Dinner of Spice-Rubbed Shell Steaksby Paula Deen
Paula Deen's Recipe Collection features this summertime recipe for Spice-Rubbed Shell Steaks.
- Family Summer Dinner Idea from Family Fun
Grilled Turkey Breast on Summer Greens Recipe - and More Great Family Fun Recipe Ideas. A super summer salad with tons of fresh herbs.
- An Easy Summer Dinner Menu by Disney Family.com
For an easy summer menu, try this CrockPot shredded barbecue and salad. You can make both up ahead of time, then serve with vegetables, dip and lemonade for a great backyard meal!
- Quick Summer Recipes by bonappetit.com
Eight easy dishes for every-night cooking from our Fast, Easy, Fresh column. Includes healthy tips and nutritional information for each recipe.
- Quick and Easy Summer Dinner and Dessert Ideas from Goodhousekeeping.com
Our farmers' market special: quick dinners that keep the flavors fresh, plus the sweetest desserts of the season.
Fantastic Summertime Cookbooks - These summer themed cookbooks have great reviews by customers at Amazon.
"Crazy delicious and easy to use recipes. My new staple is the sweet corn chowder. The book is also loaded with great cooking tips and is so beautiful to look at, I bought a dozen copies to give out as hostess gifts this summer! The summertime vibe is now very much alive in my home(and it isn't even summer yet!)" ~~ Jessica, California
"This cookbook is worth even if you only make the Wheat Berry Salad with Wild Rick and Orzo. It's an extremely heathly dish that's perfect for outdoor parties and potlucks -- no mayo to spoil. The Mix-in-the-Pan Cake is a nice recipe that brings back memories of the old Snackin' Cake product -- a classic of the 1970's that was a family favorite when I was growing up." ~~ Mary, Pawtucket
"This is a terrific book of seafood recipes and side dish ideas too. The thing I liked best is that all the food is very casual, not the fancy stuff that looks great on the cover but that you'll never cook. The fish recipes offer ideas for substitutions if the ideal fish isn't in season or region." ~~ T. Griffin,Raleigh, N.C.
"Food is an important part of a balanced diet." ~~ Fran Lebowitz
Don't Forget A Wonderful, Summertime Apron... - Of course we love this ants apron...
Complete Dinner Menus and More Meal Ideas
- My Best-Ever Recipes Collection
I have shared many of my family's favorite recipes online. You will find your way to them through this, the index page to my best-ever recipes collection.
- What To Do For Dinner? Make A Meal Plan With Quick &...
Find a number of great ideas and resources to use when (or before) you are stuck on what to do for supper.
- The Best-Ever Summer Salad Recipe Collection
There's nothing like a cold supper of salad in the summertime. On this page, find a selection of salad options.
- A Fall Dinner Plan With Make-Ahead Recipes
A Fall Dinner Plan With Make-Ahead Recipes
- A Traditional Easter Dinner Menu for 2014
A delicious Easter dinner menu that is as easy as pie. That is quite an expression, 'easy as pie!' Actually, it is hilarious for I have to admit that pie making, for me, is NOT easy.
"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies (or the ants) die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism." ~~ Erma Bombeck