Surviving the Southern Summer as a Formal Dinner Loving Grandmillennial

It has been hot the last week here, with temperatures staying consistently above 90° and high humidity. Because of this, I try to plan light dinners that require minimal cooking so as to not heat up the house unnecessarily. Not to mention I don’t particularly want to eat anything too heavy when it’s miserably hot outside. As someone who thoroughly enjoys an elegant dinner when its cold out and cozy inside this is probably my least favorite time of year, but I do find ways to make it as enjoyable as possible.

1. Have Plenty of Salads

I have shifted to making salads 3-4 times a week, because they don’t require me to cook much at all. Usually its either heating up a pan on the stovetop for a few minutes to toast some baguette pieces for croutons or to fry some tortilla strips for my Mango & Avocado chicken salad. I have been using some pre-grilled chicken breasts from Sam’s Club that you can just keep in the fridge and chop right into a salad which makes for a great added protein. I mostly make salads with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, including my version of Charleston’s Spinach & Chicken Waldorf with fresh strawberries and apples. I plan on posting some recipes soon, so be sure to check back for those if you are interested and leave a comment below if you have any salad recipes you have been loving this summer!

2. Shift Dinner to Later in the Evening

This time of year the temperature doesn’t start to cool down until after the sun sets, which at the time of writing this isn’t until almost 9:00 p.m. and won’t start to get earlier until the Summer Solstice on June 20th. Now clearly it would be way too late to have dinner after 9:00 p.m. but if you shift it to closer to 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. you are fighting a little less of that blistering heat beating down. I do this especially on nights when we aren’t having something super light like a salad. Last night I made Allison Roman’s Caramelized Shallot Pasta and served it a little later to compensate for it being a slightly heavier dish.

3. Remember That Summer Isn’t Forever

What I have to do is keep reminding myself that summer will end soon, and I can go back to having dramatic grand dinners with the fireplace lit and multiple cozy warm courses. Plus we do have the benefit of having lots of beautiful fresh local produce available during the summer, which makes it a little less painful to endure. Maybe I am just being dramatic, and the summer isn’t too bad and our air conditioner is just not powerful enough to cool our vaulted ceilings properly. Let me know in the comments below if you love or hate this time of year!

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