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Summer Meals: An Easy Budget and Time Saving Tip

It’s summertime! Who doesn’t have time to be in the kitchen fretting over meals? This mama right here. For my family, summer meals are light and refreshing, easy on time and on the budget.

I’m going to share two dinner ideas I love to make, especially during summer. They are versatile and literally take less than 15 minutes to put together. Yet, they taste yummy enough to share with company. I am delighted whenever people (especially my husband) say they love these meal ideas because I have never been a big fan of cooking. With the pickiest child eater known to humanity (aka my oldest son), I had to learn to re-embrace the responsibility of meal planning in a different way for my family. It is easy to give up when you feel like you are fighting a losing battle. I like these dinner ideas because you can use the same ingredients to feed adults and picky children.

Winner-Winner, (Rotisserie) Chicken Dinner

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First off, if you didn’t know this already, let me let you in on a secret to last minute and budget friendly meals for moms: the rotisserie chicken. I feel this should be highlighted in gold with flashing lights. Before I became a mother, my neighbor with two children of her own told me she buys one rotisserie chicken every week and makes two to three casseroles out it. Before kids, I thought “Hmmm . . . interesting and intriguing.” After kids, I thought, “Genius!” If you are trying to save money, one of the best places to cut spending is on groceries. Taking one chicken and making multiple meals out of it really helps. Also, if you are trying to reduce the amount of meat your family eats, taking one chicken and using it for multiple meals will help towards this goal. It’s a win-win. Rotisserie chickens are priced well, and you can easily pick one up and throw some sides together. Then, voila! Dinner is served without turning on the oven. If this was all I had to share, it would be an awesome tip, but I actually have more. Try these meal ideas below and share your own!

Dinner One: BBQ Chicken Pizza

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Ingredients:

  • Gyro bread
  • 1/4 Cup Favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Thousand Island Dressing
  • 1 Cup Baby Kale Mix
  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Red Onions
  • 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Pulled Rotisserie Chicken (dark and white meat mix)
  • *You can also add chopped ham or cooked crumbled bacon to this combination. It’s so good.

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Directions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place one gyro bread slice on a pizza stone. In a bowl, mix the BBQ sauce and thousand island dressing. Spread half of the sauce lightly on the bread. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the dressing mix. Place kale mix and red onions on top of the cheese. Add chicken. Add the rest of the cheese. Drizzle the remaining sauce on top. Put in the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Repeat depending on how many you are feeding. You can eyeball the amount of each ingredient to your taste and liking. Slice and serve with a fresh fruit salad (we like pineapples and grapes) and enjoy!

For the kids, serve pulled chicken with ketchup, fresh fruit, cheese, and a kale mix salad with favorite dressing. My sons love it, and I used everything from the ingredients I already had for this meal.

Dinner Two: Santa Fe Chicken Salad

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Ingredients: 

  • Fresh Salad Mix
  • Ready-Made Pico de Gallo
  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 Can of Black Beans (rinsed and drained)
  • Ready-Made Guacamole
  • Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
  • Sliced Rotisserie Chicken Breast

Dressing:

  • 2 Tbs. Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • Juice from Two Freshly Squeezed Limes
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • *OR your favorite green salad dressing like Bolthouse Cilantro Avocado Yogurt Dressing

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Directions:

Heat olive oil in skillet. Add black beans. Cook to warm. Set aside. In one bowl or individual bowls, layer salad, beans, and pico de gallo. Add guacamole on the side. Add sliced chicken breast. For the dressing, mix all of the ingredients together and drizzle on top. This cilantro and lime oil/vinegar dressing is very light. For a bolder flavor, use a ready-made dressing. Serve your salad with blue corn tortilla chips and fruit. I like mangoes and strawberries. Yum.

For the kids, serve sliced chicken breast, black beans, and fruit. Lots of children enjoy guacamole and chips, so you could try that as well. Again, serve everything from the ingredients you already had for this meal.

Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy

So, there ya have it! Two delicious summer dinner treats that will not break the bank or stress you out. If you are thinking, “I can’t believe I read this — that was so easy.” Good! Mission accomplished. Summer meals are supposed to be easy! Just a coupla changes here and there to the ordinary can make a meal new and extraordinary. Over time, I have learned to give myself fair expectations in providing healthy meals and balancing the grocery budget. Summertime is great for finding new ways to do so without frustrating yourself in the process!

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