Maybe it’s the warm weather or the fact that our kids are out of school, but there’s something about the summer that makes us totally adverse to cooking. With all of you busy parents in mind who would rather spend extra time with your kids in the backyard instead of slaving over a hot stove, we’ve come up with a bevy of simple summer recipes, the majority of which can be whipped up in 15 minutes or less. From crock pot ideas to homemade pizzas and salads, there’s a little something on this list for every taste bud. Don’t forget to share the love in the comment section below and let us know your favorite summertime recipe.

1. Tired of your go-to jar of pasta sauce? Mix it up and blend up your own homemade pesto sauce. Mix a couple of cups of basil leaves, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over pasta, fish, or meat.

2. Take advantage of the sweet corn by shaving the kernels off the corner and tossing with tomatoes, avocado and sliced red onion. Mix up some red wine vinegar and olive oil and pour over for a fresh summer salad.

3. Your kids are guaranteed to scarf down sloppy joes. The best thing is that besides the meat (you can substitute turkey meat with meat if you prefer), you’re likely to have all of the ingredients already in your pantry or fridge. Check out the easy recipe here.

4. Pan grill tilapia. Season with lemon and your choice of herbs (we use a couple sprigs of thyme). Serve with fresh bread or salad.

5. Serve a casear salad with your own homemade dressing. Simply mix 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup of light mayo, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, and one garlic glove together. Toss with romaine lettuce and chicken, if desired.

6. Coat chicken (thinly sliced, boneless and skinless) with egg, then dip flour, then dip in egg again, and then dip it in bread crumbs or panko. Pan fry over medium heat with a light coat of oil at the bottom of the pan.

7. Grilled flank steak with rosemary is a favorite of Red Tricycle’s editor. Your kids will really like the sweet marinade and you’ll like the easy prep and clean up time. Click here for the full recipe. 

8. Create your own homemade pizza. Many stores (our favorite is Trader Joes) sells pizza dough. Another alternative is to buy some from your local pizzeria. With a $2 dough in hand, top with tomato sauce and any toppings your kids will like. They can even get in on the action and create their pizzas themselves.

9. Make your own taco salad by lining a big bowl with crumbled up tortilla chips, top with a can of black beans, kernels of corn (fresh since it’s summer!), chopped up tomatoes, avocado and lettuce.

10. Grill up your own kebabs. Your kids can help make their own skewers.

11. Omelette — make breakfast for dinner. Your kids will love flip flopping their daily meals and you’ll love the lightning quick prep time.

12. Stir fry a bunch of veggies (you won’t be lacking in choices during the summer months). Mix half part soy sauce and half part sugar (add some water to dilute if desired) for your homemade teriyaki sauce. After the veggies are done cooking, pour the sauce over for an easy and healthy dinner.

13. Got leftover chicken? Make a simple chicken salad. Simply shred the chicken, add some light mayo, salt, and chopped up onions and celery if you prefer. Serve over bread or salad.

14. Take advantage of the crock pot so you can go out and enjoy the summer with your kids. Here are easy slow cooker recipes even the most untalented chef could pull off.

15. Make your own balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing by mixing up a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of spicy mustard, and whisky in olive oil as desired.

16. If you’re tired of drooling over all the fresh summer veggies only to realize your kids will eat none of it? Check out these veggie-ful recipes your kids will definitely gobble up.

17. Throw a couple of steaks onto the grill. Don’t have a grill? The oven or stovetops works just as well.

18. Need something to wash all this good food down with? Check out these summer mocktails that you (and your kids!) will love.

Got an amazingly easy summer recipe to share? We’re always looking for more ideas. Leave us a comment below!

photos courtesy of Creative Commons via Flickr