6 Kid-Tested Cold Dinners for Hot Summer Nights

By: Foodlets

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The idea of cooking a hot dinner in the summertime reminds me of asking my kids to clean up their rooms, because the answer to both is the same: "I’m too tired!" That’s why I love this list of cook-ahead or no-cook ideas for easy summer dinners. Each one is kid-tested by my own four rascals but delicious enough for every adult at the table to enjoy as well.

For a truly no-cook dinner, this is a winner. Couscous requires only a bowl and some hot water. It steeps, like tea, and politely soaks up all the lemon juice and olive oil you’ve later poured on top. Bonus: Grab a wheel of precooked, prepeeled shrimp from the freezer section of the grocery store and most of your work has already been done.

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The secret to these sandwiches we first started making in Rome is the bread. If you can’t get your hands on any pizza bianca, get a loaf of any kind of flat bread from the bakery, then slather it with olive oil and you’ll be in business — delicious business.

Cook this surprisingly kid-friendly dinner any time during the day (or the night before) and pull it right out of the fridge when you’re ready. Pair with a baguette and dinner is served.

Just another 5-star recipe from Ina Garten, this one has tender noodles soaked in sweet tomato juices. These noodles practically beg to be slurped, so have those napkins ready.

Ellie Krieger’s fresh summery mix of veggies would go perfectly with make-your-own sandwiches. You supply the dinner rolls, turkey, ham, mayo, cheese and pickles and let the kids make their own sammies right at the table. (Tip: Bring a couple of knives so more than one person can be spreading mayonnaise at the same time.)

And for the easiest, kid-friendliest summer dinner, just assemble five to seven of your family’s favorite snacks — salami, crackers, olives, hummus, baby carrots — and let everyone mix and match until every tummy is full.

Charity Curley Mathews is the founder of Foodlets.com, a site full of healthy-ish recipes designed for busy families with young kids. With four kids of her own (ages 1 to 6), these are her best tips on how she got her young family to eat (and enjoy) real food, and do it together — you know, most of the time.

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