Tips for your summer garden harvest + a menu of easy to make weekday meals

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August is notorious for two things — a plentiful harvest of fresh summer vegetables and herbs AND the return to school and normal family activities.

As families return to the routine of school and familiy activities there’s always the challenge of finding dinner ideas that are quick, easy, and affordable. Our family is no different! This week’s menu was designed to help you with those challenges!

This week I wanted to share some tips to help you harvest, cook with, and store food from your summer garden. All of this week’s recipes contains ingredients that are currently in season and are commonly grown in household gardens (tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, and herbs).

If you want the tips, read on — just want the meal plan? Scroll down.

Tips for Making the Most of Your Summer Garden and Harvest

Find recipes that feature the items in your garden

I know this sounds like a no brainer, but the key to eating most of what grows in your garden is to actually cook with those ingredients! Make a pasta with tomatoes, whip together a pesto with your basil, or make a stuffing to fill your bell peppers.

Invest in garden shears to make harvesting easier

Peppers and some herbs are hard to pick from the plant without tugging and pulling. Shears make harvesting easier!

Freeze herbs to use later

Herbs can be frozen on the stems or cut and frozen in ice cubes. Use resuable silicone bags to store your herbs in the freezer

Dry your Jalapeños

Let your jalapeños dry and then store them in an air tight containger. Dried hot peppers can be crushed and used in recipes or as a replacement for red pepper flakes.


This Week’s Menu

This week’s menu features 5 day’s worth of meal ideas that cook in roughly half an hour. Each day includes additional notes, tips, and recommendations to help you prep the meals. Unless noted, meals are 4 servings.

Meatless Monday

Total Time from Start to Finish: Approximately 30 minutes

Notes and Recommendations: If you want to add an additional protein consider topping with shrimp or grilled chicken.


Total Time from Start to Finish: 25 minutes

Notes and Recommendations: When cutting the steak always make sure you’re cutting against the grain of the meat. For an additional boost of flavor, warm the corn tortillas for a few second over the open flame of a gas grill.


Total Time from Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Notes and Recommendations: Capers are typically located in the same aisle as olives and pickles in the grocery store.


Meal Prep TIps: Prep the ingredients for the chicken and the potatoes beforehand. Make the potato recipe first so that they begin cooking before the chicken. Once the potatoes are in the oven, the move on to cooking the chicken.


Total Time from Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Sloppy Joe recipe serves 6

Notes and Recommendations: Serve sloppy joes on buns or texas toast.

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