Living’s Easy! Cool Summertime Meal Ideas by Chef Isabella

Image of sliced watermelon with the words, "Living's Easy"When in comes to preparing food, summertime has it all over the other seasons, according to me, at least. One of the reasons I find it so much easier, no matter how busy I am, is that I can enjoy raw, chilled and grilled foods without turning on the oven.

One of my favorite foods, when the weather is steaming hot, is chilled soup. While some wrinkle their noses at the thought of soup of any kind in the summer, try it once, and you might be hooked. Another thing to keep in mind is “chilled” doesn’t have to mean right out of the refrigerator “cold.” You can opt to let the batch get to room temperature before enjoying.

Besides their refreshing temperature, another great thing about cold soups is that their ingredients usually include fruit or vegetables. That means they’re probably low in SmartPoints values, calories, and fat. You can find very simple recipe ideas online or by flipping through magazines. I’m including two of my favorites at the end of this post!

Do you know what else is a good summertime meal? Salads. They’re so easy to put together. Just add your favorite type of lettuce and vegetable, grill some protein (fish, chicken, a lean cut of beef), and toss with a light dressing. I like to use a simple mixture of olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar with some fresh herbs to really ramp up the flavor. Try out some new vegetables this summer to add variety to your salads. No one likes to be bored, and if you’re adventurous, you won’t be.

Speaking of vegetables and grilling, while you’re making your salad and cooking your protein, throw some fresh vegetables on the grill for later use. Wrap them in foil and refrigerate. Then, when you want to make a quick sandwich, pasta salad or enjoy a healthy snack alongside some hummus or dip, they’re ready and waiting for you.

I also love to grill fresh fruit. Grilled bananas, pineapples, and peaches are the perfect foundation for my summer sundae. I add them to a bowl of low-fat yogurt and sometimes I even add a light drizzle of chocolate sauce. This concoction is enough to satisfy any sweet lover out there, me included!

So, instead of opting for the easy way out (by going out, or buying fast food), plan a few summer meals ahead of time, stock up on fresh fruits and vegetable and treat yourself to homemade, healthy meals without ever firing up the stove!

Quick Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Lime & Basil

  • 3 cups cubed melon
  • 1/4 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp ground (powdered) ginger
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or honey (optional)
  • 2-3 mint leaves (optional, but delicious)
  • 2-3 basil leaves
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp water if needed to thin the soup to desired consistency

Combine all ingredients except water in a blender, and puree until smooth. Adjust consistency with water, if needed. Serve chilled.

 Note: This soup can keep up to three days in the fridge. Be sure to shake, whisk or blend well before serving as it will separate when it sits.

Source:  (adapted)

Serves: 1

SmartPoints value according to Weight Watchers Recipe Builder:  2

Watermelon Gazpacho

  • 6 cups small diced watermelon
  • 1 ½ cup small diced cucumber
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and small diced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped in food processor
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. basil julienne

Salt and pepper to taste Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix just enough to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Source: Chef Isabella

Serves: 4

SmartPoints value according to Weight Watchers Recipe Builder:  2