Your summer eating guide

Step up the flavor with these deliciously simple ideas!
Summer Recipe BonanzaTopic Of the Week

Warmer weather and longer days call for leisurely, lazy meals with good friends and family. With fresh fruit and vegetables abounding — plus the ease and Plan-friendliness of grilling — it ought to be easier to stick to your PointsPlus® budget, right? Well, not so fast. The thing about summer is all those great meals aren’t always taking place in the safety of your own home. In your meeting and in the Weekly, you considered your what-to-eat options for different out-and-about scenarios: eating on the road, at a restaurant and so on. Let’s focus here on how to dive into summer eating at its most classic: the backyard barbecue. The good news is you don’t have to confine yourself to the old grilled chicken-breast standby or the no-frills green salad.

Wake up your taste buds!
No need to reinvent the wheel to give summer classics a fresh twist. For example, something as simple as swapping a spice or an herb can make a difference. Or roast and grill to bring out the natural sugars in foods, rather than boiling or steaming. Seasoning food before cooking it, as well as properly salting water for rice or pasta can dramatically boost flavor. And using fresh seasonal produce is a great way to highlight different flavors and textures in your recipes.

Take summer meals to the next level
What are some of the foods you like serving to guests (and eating yourself!) this time of year? Salads? Give them main-course appeal by topping your greens with meat, seafood or chicken strips hot off the grill. Corn? Roast and season kernels for a light and flavorful finger-food snack. Watermelon? Blend it into a frozen cocktail—like the one in this roundup of lightened-up summer cocktails. Dips? Burgers? Pasta salad? Check. Check. Check. And sure, grilling may be the unofficial cooking technique of the season because you can get food on the table quickly and keep the house cool, but using a toaster oven is a comparable alternative!

Along with your weekly meeting, eTools is also a treasure trove of member-tested, member-approved, plan-friendly recipes and meal ideas! Here are a few good places to start. And don’t forget to share your own ideas for summer eats in Comments, below.

Next week: Thrill your senses at mealtime.

Best backyard eats
Best backyard eats
Fire up the grill and crack open a cold one! Choose wisely from cookout favorites like burgers, coleslaw, beer and more. Portion control and smart options point the way to enjoying summer parties.
Slimmed-down summery sides
Slimmed-down summery sides
It’s not a picnic without a classic salad or two: Whip up our lightened-up versions of macaroni salad, potato salad and coleslaw — plus modern twists on these standbys.
Jazz Up Your Summer Picnic Menu with Six Side Recipes
A better burger
Sometimes, nothing else will do except a juicy burger — especially one so big you need both hands to hold it! Cook up Cheeseburgers with Grilled Onions, your recipe from the Weekly, and satisfy the heartiest of appetites. Then track it!