The weather is warm (okay, we live in Florida, so it’s actually HOT), but still… it’s the summer season and while the sun is shining, and school is out, we want to be out too. Many evenings, we will be found dining al fresco, water still dripping off of the kid’s wet swimsuits as they climb up to join us at the table. Outdoor dining is a favorite of ours, and especially now that we’ve made over our backyard, we like to spend as much time in our newly created oasis as possible, without electronics, without the rush of a full schedule.
Though the days seem to linger on as the sun drifts slowly over the horizon, allowing more time for play, for later nights, for more I-need-a-drink-of-water excuses of delayed bed-times, it seems as though our time for preparing elaborate meals and kitchen cooking is reduced.
Maybe it’s the heat or the desire to avoid creating more of it, but this summer season, I’m looking for easy. Easy meal prep, uncomplicated summer recipes, effortless ways to entertain around our table, painless cleanup and creating moments for ease of conversation, and happily so.
Outdoor tablescape tip: Use a tasseled blanket as a runner or tablecloth to change up the look and add some fun to your decor!
When the evening ushers in a nice breeze, we add to the chorus with our own overhead fan (totally a necessity right now) and set the table with a few items pulled from our home repertoire. Candlesticks from the mantle, an ice bucket filled with our favorite cane-sugared soda, string lights flickering overhead and a delicious dish as the centerpiece to plate from – all making up our own summertime melody of slow and memorable.
Lately, my favorite option is pasta as it allows me to watch a very newly turned two-years-old Aria slurp up each tendril, though left to my own devices, my kids would be tired of spaghetti before the season was even begun. So, options that make it both easy on me, while keeping the flavor big and full of savory, real ingredients are a summertime staple.
EASY SHRIMP SCAMPI RECIPE
I just discovered the new FOOD NETWORK KITCHEN™ Inspirations Meal Kits at Publix that come in four varieties: Tuscan-Style Mushroom Risotto,easy Shrimp Scampi, Spicy Szechuan-Style Chicken & Rice, and Chicken Tikka Masala., It’s such a GREAT way to get chef-level meals, especially in this Florida heat, on the table in less than 30 minutes. Plus, it’s a weeknight dinner that everyone can help with, even my two-year-old, pasta-slurping Aria.
I have our good-ole’, deliciously simple scratch recipe below as well if you can’t find these easy Meal Kits near you, so don’t worry, we’ve got you covered for a tasty and easy Shrimp Scampi!
While kids love to splash in the pool and texts chime in to join friends at the beach, and more, there’s less time for meal planning, shopping and meal prep.
Grabbing a few FOOD NETWORK KITCHEN™ Inspirations Meal Kits off the shelf and quickly seeing what other very few ingredients are needed to create a full-of-flavor dish definitely ticks of the easy part of my summertime, meal-planning checklist. To bring home the flavors of Food Network in this easy Shrimp Scampi summer recipe, all I needed to add was the shrimp and a lemon. To accommodate our large family, I used two Shrimp Scampi Meal Kits to create this delicious spread.
A couple of boxes and a couple of ingredients – along with my purposeful and much needed run for milk and coffee creamer – in my basket and I was on my way. Easy shopping, easy preparation.
For just a few minutes of gathering supplies for the table and stirring up a hot pan of something delicious, it’s a few moments at the table of togetherness; and that is what I see as timeless, as necessary. And though tantrums, spills and he’s-looking-at-me-wrong cries are still somewhat inevitable, these moments of device-free conversation and pasta slurping are priceless.
Because then it’s back to bedtime routines, dish duty and alarm-setting before we begin the day again, with morning stretches out of bed, a new sun to greet, a new set of to-dos and another meal to plan.
- 8 oz of preferred pasta (we like linguini or angel hair)
- 2 tablespoons of butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 lb of shrimp (thawed)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup of chicken broth (or white wine)
- 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- In a large pot of salted, boiling water cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken broth or wine, lemon juice, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper; bring to boil.
- Add the shrimp, cover, and cook until the shrimp are slightly translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
- Toss with pasta and garnish with more parmesan and parsley. Serve immediately.