By late summer I can always count on two things: I’ll have a sunburn along the shoulder straps of this year’s mom-bod flattering one piece bathing suit, and I’ll have reached the no-cook zone.
I give up. No more oven for me; it’s too hot, heats up the whole house and mama is done. I cannot stand the heat and would be very happy to get out of the kitchen, thank you very much. And yet, everyone’s still gotta eat dinner. That’s where these no-cook dinner recipes come in. When it comes to kid-friendly no-cook dinners, these ideas never fail (which is more than I can say for my sunscreen).
Keep scrolling for no-cook dinner ideas your family will love.
Crackers, fruit, cheese, olives, fruit roll-ups. Whatever! The beauty of serving a snack board for dinner is that you can include anything your family loves. Just nothing that requires cooking.
2. Shrimp tacos
Grab one of those rings of cocktail shrimp (or rotisserie chicken) and a bag of coleslaw mix from the store. Combine both on a fresh tortilla and dinner is served. Want to make a delicious sauce for kids to drizzle on top (“all by myself!”)? Combine ½ cup sour cream, the zest and juice of a lime, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons olive oil and a dash of salt. Stir and add water if needed.
Think of this as nachos without burning yourself on a cookie sheet while you take a searing pan out of the oven. Kinder, gentler and much cooler nachos! Set out plenty of corn tortilla chips, with a side of sliced bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, then let everyone dip, dip, dip their way through a real happy meal.
What’s better than a combination of two delicious flavors like buttery croissants and creamy chicken salad? Buying both at the grocery store deli! And if chicken salad isn’t your family’s fave, switch it out for tuna salad, egg salad or any kind of spread they like. The idea is to simply scoop out a ready-to-go filling onto a flaky croissant.
Tip: To make store-bought croissants even more splendid, pop them under the broiler on LOW for a minute or two. They’ll rise, the butter will melt and you’ll feel like you just stepped into a Parisian bakery instead of standing at your own kitchen counter.
5. Summer rolls
Move over egg rolls. Filled with crunchy veggies and sauce, these gorgeous little summer rolls are excellent for filling everyone up, but also make a fun DIY dinner night. Bonus, fruit is just as delicious inside these rice paper wrappers.
Salad for dinner can sound skimpy but not when it’s piled high with crunchy croutons! Buy them from the store and don’t be shy. For an even more kid-friendly version, consider adding slices of juicy peaches.
While you do need to bake quiche, you can do it earlier in the day when the heat isn’t as intense. Load it with anything you want! Leftover salmon, roasted veggies, cheese, baby spinach and so on. Just keep your pre-made dinner in the fridge until you’re good and ready to enjoy.
P.S. Skip the oven entirely if you have a toaster oven! These low-tech gadgets can be used on a patio to cook anything from quiche to French bread pizzas.
You technically need to boil some water for this Italian-inspired dinner, but that’s it. End of cooking. All you have to do next is add sliced cherry tomatoes, baby mozzarella balls and enough fresh basil to give it flavor without overwhelming the tiny eaters at your table. (Been there!)
9. Sun Pasta
Or, consider another spin on no-cook tomato pasta that gets help from the sun itself. You combine your tomatoes and oil, garlic and so on, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the sun for a few hours (note: do this during naptime). By hungry o’clock, you get no-cook sauce that’s a gorgeous blend of Italian summer flavors, just begging to be poured over a plate of pasta.
If you can fill a tortilla with rotisserie chicken, lettuce, sliced tomatoes and the tangy zing of store bought Caesar salad dressing, you can have dinner on the table in minutes. Add a handful of chopped veggies to dunk in more dip and everyone’s well fed. Or, try this version.
Balsamic vinegar is the secret star of this no-cook dinner, its sweet flavor making this juicy topping impossible for kids to resist. Be sure to get the thickest bread possible, slice it up and serve with a crispy salad, plus a huge wedge of cheese. Let kids pile their own tomatoes on top or eat with a spoon on the side. Either way, *chef’s kiss*.
This classically cold Spanish soup gets a burst of kid-friendly flavor by adding a wedge of watermelon. Set a buttered baguette in the middle of your dinner table and the full effect is sweet, savory and above all, satisfying on a hot summer night.
Beat the heat without raising temps in your house with this simple technique for cooking pasta and sauce together. A bagged salad is your best bet to round out a meal that makes everyone in my house cheer every single time.
Focaccia bread is thick enough to be split down the center, making it an instant top and bottom of a particularly tasty sandwich. Layer with cheese, tomatoes, pesto (which is a surprising kid favorite at many tables around the world) and more.
P.S. If you want to get industrious earlier in the day, making your own focaccia bread is shockingly simple. This recipe is even easy enough for kids to help.
15. Sandwich Skewers
Is anything cuter than regular food served on a stick? Kids can help cut bread, or thread all the toppings on skewers. Served alongside sliced apples and a handful of pretzels, summer doesn’t get much sweeter.