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

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

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).

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Non -Alcoholic Lemon-Thyme Spritzer

If you’re anything like me, then you alway have a ton of leftover herbs after doing all of your holiday cooking. Today I’m sharing a recipe for a refreshing lemon-thyme spritzer that you can make with leftover thyme or rosemary.

One thing I’ve noticed is that cocktail recipes are everywhere during the holidays so I wanted to share a family friendly, non-alcoholic beverage recipe that anyone can enjoy.

My friends over at Sincere Fare were so kind in sharing their Lemon-Thyme simple syrup recipe with me. Sincere Fare is an experience centric brand that focuses on creating memorable moments, centered around the culinary arts. I used Sincere Fare’s simple syrup recipe as the basis for my spritzer.

Non-Alcoholic Lemon-Thyme Spritzer

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Ice
1 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Lemon-Thyme Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
4 oz Lemon Flavored Sparkling Water

Directions

Add in all ingredients and stir to combine.

For an added layer of complexity, rim the glass with a mixture of lemon zest, minced thyme, and granulated sugar.

**For a lighter beverage, use 1 oz of the simple syrup.

Lemon-Thyme Simple Syrup (Compliments of Sincere Fare)

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

7-8 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
Juice of 1 Lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons)
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Water

Directions

In a small saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil and then cook on low until the sugar has dissolved.

Once the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat and let sit for 1 hour.

Discard the thyme sprigs.

Once the syrup has cooled, pour it into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

**You can replace the thyme with rosemary for an alternative flavor profile.

Big Batch Non-Alcoholic Lemon-Thyme Spritzer

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 Part Lemon Juice
2 Parts Lemon-Thyme Simple Syrup
4 Parts Lemon Flavored Sparkling Water

Directions

In a pitcher, combine all ingredients. Serve over ice and garnish with thyme and lemon wedges.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

SHOP THIS POST

Whole roasted chicken with beets, red onions, and peaches…. That’s right, peaches.

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About 2 weeks ago a profile I follow on Instagram, posted a picture of a roast chicken with thyme and peaches. I was so excited to see such a good looking bird that I immediately took a screen shot of the photo in hopes of making it later that week. A couple days later I visited the blog but unfortunately the recipe was nowhere to be found. So at that point I was stuck. I could try to search the depths of the internet to find the exact recipe, or I could just make something similar on my own… Challenge accepted!

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I bought a huge bag of red onions at Aldi a week ago and at the time I’d only used one onion. I knew I needed to use the rest before they spoiled so I figured I’d use red onions in my recipe. Previously I’ve made salmon with grilled peaches and red onions so I knew the flavors would mesh well together.

All week I’d had a craving for beets because, well, I love roasted beets. I figured I’d try to throw some of those into my recipe and that’s how this meal came to life.

If you know me personally you know that although I enjoy eating well and exercising… sometimes I just need something super buttery and unhealthy. So this recipe is a little bit of both. I took the fiber and folic acid from the onions, vitamin c and vitamin a from the peaches, and the fiber and vitamin c from the beets, combined it with the high protein chicken and added a touch of BUTTER. And by a touch of butter I mean, an entire stick. I’m not ashamed either.

This recipe was really good (probably because of all the butter). The prep for the meal is pretty easy. I peeled my peaches but you don’t have too, so that can save you a little time. Most of the time for this recipe is spent watching it make in the oven.

I roasted my chicken in a cast iron skillet. I don’t know if there’s any scientific proof behind this, but I believe anything cooked in a cast iron skillet tastes 5x better than if it were made in a more “traditional” type of cookware.

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If you don’t like beets and peaches, switch it out for apples and potatoes, or some other root veggies. This is roasted chicken and veggies at it’s finest. Make this recipe your own!

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You will spend a little time basting the chicken, but as a result it ends up coming out of the oven as a rich red color! It’s beautiful easy and delicious. Serve with a side salad and you’re done!

Enjoy!

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  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beets, peeled and cubed
  • 3 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 3 medium red onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 stick of butter, halved
  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs), butterflied (spine removed)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F
  2. Combine beets, peaches, and onions, and olive oil in the bottom of your cast iron skillet (set aside a few peach slices and onion slices for a garnish). Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Top the beets, peaches, and onions with a few sprigs of thyme.
  4. Using the microwave, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium bowl.
  5. Add garlic powder, thyme, salt, onion powder, and nutmeg to the melted butter. Stir to combine.
  6. Cover the entire chicken with the butter mixture, being sure to coat the outside of the chicken, inside of the chicken, and if possible, under the skin as well.
  7. Set the chicken, skin side up, on top of the beet, peaches, and onions.
  8. “Decorate” the chicken with the extra peaches and onions that we set aside earlier.
  9. Place a few additional thyme sprigs between the chicken wings, and legs.
  10. Place skillet in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. While the chicken is baking, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter.
  12. After the chicken has baked for 30 minutes glaze the top of the chicken with the remaining melted butter.
  13. Let the chicken cook for 20 – 30 minutes more (until the internal chicken temperature reaches 165° F) while basting the chicken every 5-7 minutes. Basting the chicken with the pan juices will give the chicken a red coating (from the beets) and will distribute the juices back into the chicken.
  14. One the chicken is roasted, turn your oven to broil and place chicken under the broiler until the skin reaches a desired crispness (2-3 minutes).
  15. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before carving.