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Light meals for summer


Summer’s in full swing. We’re loving the longer days, balmy temperatures and outdoor cooking and dining.

Not many folks want to be a slave to the stove on hot summer days, and my go-to meals are simple pastas, salads and food on skewers during the warmer months. And they’re all ideal for al fresco dining, too.

Grilled Lemon Salmon Skewers and Super-Light Chips

Who doesn’t love eating food off a stick in the summer? These tasty salmon skewers are drizzled in an easy-to-make garlic-lemon sauce and then grilled. The result? An unbelievable moreish, succulent lemon salmon that is absolutely delicious.

Combine the salmon skewers with some light, crispy chips, and you’ve got a heavenly (and uber-healthy) meal. If you don’t particularly fancy making the chips, why not cheat a bit with McCain low fat chips? They take just over 20 minutes in the oven and are still crispy and fluffy but with 30% less fat.

INGREDIENTS

Lemon Salmon Skewers
900g boneless/skinless salmon cut into 2.5-cm pieces
2 lemons, sliced
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
50ml olive oil
2 tsp salt 

1 ½ tsp lemon pepper

Wooden skewers soaked in water for roughly 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Super-Light Chips
3 medium white potatoes
Salt and pepper
Onion powder, garlic powder and mixed herbs

METHOD

Lemon Salmon Skewers
Mix the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and lemon pepper together in a large bowl. Combine the lemon slices and salmon chunks.

Fold each lemon slice in half, add a piece of salmon to each one, then thread onto the wooden skewers. Repeat until all slices and salmon are skewered

Warm the grill to medium-high heat. Grill the skewers, rotating sporadically and delicately, until the salmon and lemons have crisped up and thoroughly cooked through

Serve right away and enjoy!

METHOD

Super-Light Chips
Preheat the oven to 200˚C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper or foil

Slice the chips into matchsticks, so they’re roughly 3/4cm in width. For a more rustic taste, leave the skin on

Season the chips with the salt, pepper and any extra herbs or spices you like.

Cook until the chips are golden brown, being sure to shake the tray occasionally. You want the chips to be light and fluffy on the inside with a golden coating

Serve and enjoy!

Creamy Pasta Taco Salad

Welcome in the picnic season with this moreish creamy taco pasta salad. Enjoy tender pasta drenched in a deliciously creamy taco dressing, tasty minced beef, complete with all your favourite taco toppings. It’s a must-have dish for those warm summer evenings – perfect for the whole family to enjoy.


INGREDIENTS

Creamy Taco Dressing
115g salsa
240g sour cream
60g mayonnaise
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

Taco Pasta Salad 
1 small onion, diced
450g minced beef
2 tsp garlic (or 2 cloves)
450g macaroni or pasta
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch green onion, chopped
1 tin sweetcorn
1 jar sliced olives
125g grated cheddar cheese
1 avocado, diced
13g crushed tortilla chips

METHOD

Using a pan, warm the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Combine the onion, minced beef and garlic. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Fry until the meat is no longer pink. Place the cooked meat onto a plate lined with kitchen towel. Leave to cool

Next, cook pasta in salted water as per package directions. Drain and put to one side. Leave to cool

When the pasta has cooled, gently stir in the minced beef with the pasta

In a small bowl, mix in the Creamy Taco Dressing ingredients. Drizzle over the pasta and beef mixture, stirring until completely covered

Gradually mix in the tomatoes, green onions, corn, olives and cheese. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Garnish with diced avocado and tortilla chips just before serving.

Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Bring a touch of oriental cuisine to your kitchen with this mouth-watering dish. Enjoy succulent teriyaki chicken wrapped in a crispy lettuce wrap – this is great as a light lunch or dinner. And the kids will love it, too.


INGREDIENTS

Lettuce Wraps
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 chicken breasts sliced into bite-size pieces
125g grated Monterey Jack cheese
teriyaki sauce (see recipe below)
8 pineapple slices
Romaine lettuce
spring onions, sliced
Teriyaki Sauce
100ml light soy sauce
60ml water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
50g granulated sugar
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp warm water


METHOD

Teriyaki Sauce

Pour in the soy sauce, water, red wine vinegar, sugars, garlic and ginger into a saucepan and warm over a medium heat. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved

In a small bowl, blend together the warm water and cornflour, making sure the latter is totally dissolved. Gently blend the cornflour mixture into the sauce and simmer until thickened. Take off the heat and put to one side until ready to use

In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Tip the chicken into the pan and sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Fry chicken until it’s no longer pink inside, turning over each piece until they're brown all over

Mix in roughly two-thirds of the teriyaki sauce so it covers the chicken. Save the rest of the sauce for drizzling or dipping

Next, split up the Romaine lettuce leaves. Rinse and gently and pat dry

Drain the juice from the pineapple and fry in a pan until caramelised (optional)

Now you’re ready to create your wraps: Spoon a piece of teriyaki-coated chicken into one of the lettuce leaves. Garnish with the cheese, spring onions and a slice of pineapple. Top with toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Garlic, Tomato and Prawn Spaghetti

If you want a healthy, quick, no-nonsense summer dish, look no further than this prawn pasta meal. You can make it in a matter of minutes and it’s a delicious pasta dish to enjoy on a summer evening.


INGREDIENTS
250g cooked spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
150g prawns peeled and deveined (roughly 20)
75g diced onion
4 garlic cloves
120ml 100% apple juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes
300g cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
grated Parmesan
3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
kosher salt

METHOD

Warm the olive oil over a medium heat. Combine the prawns in a single layer and add a pinch of salt. Fry until the prawns are bright pink, flipping every minute or so. Shift to a plate

Pour the onion into the pan and fry until onion starts to soften. Sprinkle in the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes. Stir regularly to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn

Pour in the apple juice, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, oregano and red-pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer then tip in the cherry tomatoes. Leave to simmer for a few minutes, stirring often

Coat the prawns in the sauce, then the spaghetti. Scatter over the grated Parmesan and toss gently. Top with fresh chopped parsley and serve right away

Enjoy the best season of the year with the above family-friendly, light summer recipes. They’re quick, simple and incredibly delicious. And all of the dishes will taste even better alongside an iced tea, Margarita or cold beer.