I’m a self-employed writer, eating on the cheap is basically my profession. And when it comes to summer months it seems harder than ever to find something that sounds good, because all those winter comfort foods are out of the question. Turn on the oven? Forget it. Even a burner on the stove that might make the room go up a degree is unfathomable. Cooking without heat is the answer, and I’ve put together some of my fave summer recipes you can master on the cheap.
1. No Pasta, Pasta Salad. This is a perfect one if you are having people over or need to show up to a BBQ with something in hand.
Beans one can of each: black, garbanzo, black eyed
Veggies: shredded carrots, celery, green onion
Two cans of corn
One can sliced black olives
A block of feta cheese (you can leave this out if you super broke)
A packet of Italian dressing seasoning
Chop up the celery and onion
Open all the cans
Get a big ass bowl
Mix it all together
In a separate little bowl mix: lemon juice, two tablespoons olive oil, and the Italian seasoning. Stir.
Mix dressing in salad.
Mix in crumbled up cheese.
The great thing about this is you do not need to be a scientist to make it bigger. Just add more stuff.
2. Tomato Salad. YUM. I used to make this all the time because I had a garden and planted six tomato plants I couldn’t eat them fast enough. We ate tomatoes in every different way you could think of that summer.
A whole bunch of tomatoes (if you feeling fancy get some heirloom yellow and green and dark ones)
Salt and pepper
Chop up the tomato and toss it in a bowl
Thinly slice half the red onion and toss that in too
Crush two cloves of garlic and toss that in
Cut a handful of basil into thin strips and toss in
Season with squeezed lime, salt and pepper, and two tablespoons of olive oil
3. Ramen Noodle Chinese Chicken Salad.My friends mom in high school made this for us all the time, and I still dream about it. And no, you still don’t need to turn on the oven.
Two packets of ramen noodles
One rotisserie chicken
Pre-shredded slaw mix in a bag
Honey (2 tablespoons)
Sesame Oil (2 tablespoons)
Rice Vinegar (2 tablespoons)
Garlic (1 clove crushed)
Crush up the noodles, shred up the chicken, throw everything in a bowl. Mix the dressing separately and then stir together. Let sit in the fridge for 3 hours. Top with peanuts and diced green onion before serving.
4. Acai Bowls. I could 100% live off of these, and I once did for a few weeks in Bali. They are filling and healthy and so cute you’ll turn into one of those people that Insta stories their food all the time.
Fruit: strawberries, bananas, mangos
Toppings: granola, chia seeds, sliced almonds, goji berries, more strawberries (get creative! )
I like to freeze my fruit area of time, thus it keeps longer and you don’t have to dilute your bowl with ice. Mix together frozen fruit (like a handful or more depending on how many you’re making), a handful of kale, and a cup of coconut water (you can add more if it’s too thick). Blend it. It’s basically a smoothie but thick so you eat with a spoon.
Then top the bowl in an adorable way with all your tasty toppings and sliced fruits. Enjoy!
You’re probably laughing at me, but I’ve thrown some cheap ass parties and gotten rave reviews about these. I’m sort of thinking I should have my own cooking show. I think I’m going to call it, How To Be Broke and Still Eat Like a Queen. What are your fave cheap summer recipes? Tell us in the comments!