Family Food

Simple and Easy Summer Dinner Recipe ideas for Kids and Families

In the summer the last thing I feel like doing is standing over a hot oven and then serving up big cooked dishes. My son loves the heat, but tires easily and doesn’t want to sit down over a big hot meal either. In the summer lighter meals can be easier both for the chef and the diners and keeping the whole family happy is what it’s about. I’ve collated some simple dinner ideas for easy to cook spring and summer meals, ideal for fussy kids as well as the whole family. They’re quick kid-friendly summer recipe ideas and absolutely delicious.

Simple and Easy Summer Recipes for Kids and Families

Make your own Fajitas

Fry some cubed chicken breast or beef in fajita seasoning until moist and juicy, full of flavour. Put out wraps, cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and iceberg lettuce, all can go straight from the packet (washed if needed) and onto the table. The family can then assemble their own fajitas. For fussy eaters the chicken can always be cooked plain. If you don’t want to fry anything you can also have cold fajitas for a summer meal. This is also ideal for taking out for dinners outside or on the go – you can make fajitas like a sandwich! The perfect easy summer dinner idea.

Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are very versatile and a yummy treat. You can either use frankfurters, saveloy sausages, or any sausages, as preferred by your family. Put out the cooked sausages along with hot dog buns, fried onions, gherkins, tomato sauce and mustard. Let them help themselves! Serve with any potato such as some fries and corn on the cob. If you’re eating outside or on the go, you can keep hot dog sausages warm by popping them in a flask of hot water and then you can just whip them out and pop them in your roll with absolutely no cooking required. The perfect summer meal for kids.

Cold Pesto Pasta Salad

Allow pasta to cool, add a spoonful of pesto (red or green), tomatoes, cucumber and serve on a salad if your kids are into that kind of thing (mine will eat sliced cucumber for example). You can make a massive bowl and it’ll keep for a few days in the fridge no problem. If you want to serve with meat, grilled chicken breast is a very easy accompaniment. A bit of extra cheese on top will get protein in as well!

If your child won’t eat pesto, you can use other pasta sauces that they will eat, and you can blend vegetables into your pasta sauce for that hidden vegetable trick. Don’t be afraid to experiment with cold pasta sauces and you can batch make large amounts of pasta sauce and freeze portions ready to use, or buy a pre-made jar from the supermarket. In a pinch, for a fussier child, you can mix cold pasta with tomato sauce for a summer meal that kids won’t refuse.

Ploughman’s Dinner

This is a not very subtle take on Ploughman’s Lunch – but served for dinner! Don’t make them a sandwich, let them do it themselves. Lay out some hunky fresh bread and butter, a bowl of branston pickle, big slabs of cheddar cheese, hard boiled eggs, pickled onion and sliced apple. For meat, add ham, gammon or bacon – or really any sliced meat that you know your kids will love. You can also serve it with pork pie, quiche or scotch egg, as well as coleslaw or a side salad. If you want to add potato then you can add your kids favourite potato side, for our family this is jacket potatoes, which are very easy to do. For a really yummy and crispy jacket potato I do 10 minutes in the microwave so they’re soft and fluffy on the inside and then 10 minutes in the air fryer at 200c to crisp up the outside. This is a meal that my grandmother used to serve us on hot days, and she’d just call it “salad”, I think this is the best salad idea for kids! I still frequently do this sort of salad buffet in the summer and my son absolutely loves it.

Cold Cuts Picnic Buffet

A picnic is an inexpensive and fun way of eating. Everything can be served out of a packet! You can eat this on the grass like a real picnic, al fresco on the garden table or in the home. This is something that my grandmother and mother used to do for us a lot in the summer and I absolutely loved it – now so does my son! There is absolutely nothing wrong with serving sandwiches as an evening meal in the summer – not everything has to be a big cooked meal.

Jacket (Baked) Potatoes and Topping

10-15 minutes (depending on size and quantity of potatoes – until you can put a fork in them and they’re soft) in the microwave and then 10 minutes in the oven or air fryer at 200c(to crisp up the skins beautifully) is a very simple way of making fluffy, delicious jacket potatoes. That’s baked potatoes for any American readers! Serve with a simple topping (or just with butter and sour cream), with a side salad, corn on the cob or coleslaw.

Toppings my family loves on jacket potatoes:

  • Tuna, mayo and onion
  • Egg mayo
  • Baked Beans
  • Grated cheese
  • Chicken Tikka
  • Chilli Con Carne
  • Cauliflower cheese

You can really use whatever you want, perhaps you have leftovers you want to put on top. The good think about jacket potatoes is you can really top with anything.

Loaded Potato Skins

The skin of the potato is absolutely jam packed with nutrition and a good way of encouraging kids to eat potato skins is to load them up. As above, microwave your potatoes until soft and fluffy and then pop them in the oven to crisp up the skin. Then remove them, slice them in half and remove all the inside potato. Fill the skins with any of the above toppings, or a simple and traditional cheese and chopped bacon, then pop back in the oven until the skin is crispy. Delicious!

Don’t throw away the inside of the potato whatever you do, pop that into a bowl, with some sour cream, butter, salt and pepper, mash it and you can keep that for a few days in the fridge, mashed potato ready to serve!

Kebab Skewers

If your kids are anything like mine, having it on a stick makes meals much more popular. It’s really easy to make kebab skewers. You don’t need to fire up the BBQ (although you can), these are easily cooked in the oven. Just pop their favourite meats and vegetables on a stick, brush with honey, bbq sauce or seasonings as preferred and bake. Our favourites are chicken with red peppers, mushrooms and pineapple.

Baguette Pizza

No one wants to be messing around with making dough and rolling out pizza bases when it’s really hot. Tomato puree (or even tomato sauce) spread on baguettes with favourite toppings and then popped in the oven for 5 minutes are both delicious, easy and very versatile to suit all tastes. Easiest “pizza” in the world! It can also be fun to let the kids decorate their own pizza baguettes, kids tend to eat more of a meal when they’ve chosen it for themselves, and it teachers them independence as well. Baguette Pizzas are one of my favourite summer meals for kids.

Simple and Easy Summer Dessert Idea for Kids

Fruit Salad

It’s pretty self explanatory really. Chop up their favourite fruit and serve – the way my grandmother got me to eat fruit was to serve it in tropical juice, so that’s an idea for kids who would rather eat it with some juice and a spoon for a real dessert feel. Of course, for a treat you can serve it with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream. If they won’t eat it in a bowl, put it on a stick! Fruit kebabs have been a massive hit with my family.

If you have any easy and simple summer recipes for the whole family, or favourite meals that your kids love to eat in the summer, please share them in the comments and I may add them to the post!

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