3 Ways to Keep the Easy Summertime Cooking Going into September

I have been meaning to share my many make-ahead salad recipes with you all summer, but it seems that I have just been spending time enjoying summer fun, cooking, entertaining and soaking up time with my family and friends during this fabulous summer.  Even though it’s Labour Day already I know summer isn’t over yet! We’ll still have some warm days, nights and weekends to enjoy throughout this month where you can still revel in some easy summertime cooking on your own or with family and friends. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am a big fan of meals that I can prepare ahead of time.  Make ahead meals seem to come to mind more quickly in cooler months when we tend to do casseroles, slow cooker recipes, and soups. But, you can also prepare things ahead to keep summer cooking easy and be less tied to the stove. And, if you do this into September, you’ll keep that summer vibe going for a little longer!

Here are 3 ways to keep that easy summertime cooking going:

  1.  Make a meal plan for the week and shop for the produce and meats you need all at once, at least a day ahead of your meal prep day
  2. Make one grain salad and one vegetable salad that will last 3 to 5 days (see below)
  3. Marinate your meat, fish or chicken before freezing it and you’ll be all set to go on the day you need it (see July 15, 2018 post for more summer cooking tips)

My secret weapon for easy summer cooking is to make salads ahead that can last for 3 or 4 meals.  We tend to think of things such as pasta salads, potato salads and coleslaw for potlucks and picnics, but why not incorporate them into your weekly summer meal planning?  I have been doing this for many years now and it helps us eat nutritious and delicious food all week long. And it takes the guesswork out of what to make each night. I usually do a pasta, potato, rice or other grain salad each week and also do a marinated vegetable, such as coleslaw, marinated green beans, tomatoes and cucumbers, etc.  With two of those choices prepared to last for 3 to 5 days, all you have to do is pull those out of the refrigerator and throw one of your pre-marinated meats on the grill – and voila…you’ll have a nutritious, fun summer meal in no time at all. These dishes last for days and in many cases, the flavour improves as the marinade sinks deeper into the grains and vegetables.  

The salad I’m sharing with you today is particularly good in the late summer as our local tomatoes are at their best.  This is yet another fresh tasting favourite from my childhood that my Mom made frequently in summer. It’s a hit whenever I make it.  You can serve it right after making it, but if you let it sit for at least 30 minutes, the flavours will combine better.

For more summer make-ahead recipes, have a look at my posts from last summer.


Tomato and Cucumber Salad

  • Servings: 10 to 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

tomato cucumber

A fresh and juicy side dish for your summer meals!  It can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for 4 or 5 days.  Flavour will intensify each day. Use Roma tomatoes if you can.  They have a great meaty flesh that’s perfect for this salad.


  • 12 medium sized ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 1 and a half English cucumbers
  • ½ of a sweet onion (Vidalia) sliced thinly
  • 10 to 12 fresh basil leaves


  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Slice and cut the tomatoes into bite sized pieces (4 pieces per slice usually works well)
  2. Peel and slice cucumber into bite sized pieces 
  3. Roll and slice basil leaves thinly (‘chiffonade’)
  4. Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and basil in a serving bowl and set aside while you assemble dressing
  5. Mix dressing in a measuring cup or jar.  Whisk or shake to combine. Pour over tomatoes and cucumber mix and toss well.

recipe by: everydayhomegourmet.blog/ 

3 thoughts on “3 Ways to Keep the Easy Summertime Cooking Going into September

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