By TMoM Team Member Sydney D. Richardson, Ph.D.

It is summer and what a great time to go swimming, walk in the parks, and go on the annual summer vacation! When I think of summer, I rarely think of cooking, but when I do, I think of grilling. A lot of grilling. While we have a grill, we actually do not cook on the grill as often as I’d like. Most of our cooking is done inside of the house. Who likes bugs anyway? This is not bad, but summer time cooking is very different from fall and winter cooking.

In the fall and winter, I love standing over a warm stove and cooking stews, soups, and casseroles. It doesn’t bother me to be in the kitchen for longer periods of time in order to get a hot meal going. However, the summer boasts temperatures in the upper 90s and even 100 degrees at times, which means that cooking needs to be short and sweet.

For me, that means that meals and side dishes need to be ready in 30 minutes or under and have very little prep time. If I can’t cook it in 30 minutes or under, I at least like to prepare something that can be thrown in the oven so that I can walk away from the heat. Therefore, I often go to my handy dandy cookbooks to look for those recipes and then I switch them up a bit to suit my family.

My family (like a few out in the world) has some allergies that make meal prepping a bit difficult. So, I often have to cook meals that eliminate gluten and soy. My family also deals with eczema and psoriasis, so certain foods can trigger those outbreaks. The two recipes below are some of my family favorites, they are easy to make, and taste delicious. Give them a try this summer if you are looking for something different!

Smothered Chicken with Horseradish Dressing by Carla Hall

When I came across this recipe, I had to try it. Chicken, rice, salad with a wonderful dressing, and delicious juice to smother the chicken sounded divine to me. If your family does not like coconut milk (one of the ingredients), you can use regular milk or evaporated milk instead. One family member is also allergic to onions, so I omitted that ingredient from the listing. I often read over recipes and then switch them up to fit my family’s taste buds, so please know that this is not Carla Hall’s original recipe. When you use this remember to adjust it to your own liking.


  • 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs
  • White rice (cooked)
  • Chopped salad (I do romaine lettuce, seedless cucumbers, and tomatoes)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 2 tbsp diced garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ cup of coconut milk

Salad dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp horseradish
  • 1 tsp diced garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper (just a bit)


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Coat the chicken thighs in curry powder, salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin.
  • In a 9×13 dish, cover the bottom with water (about an inch) and add coconut milk.
  • Then, place the chicken in the dish (if using thighs with the skin on, place the chicken skin side up).
  • Cook in the oven for 45-50 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, cook the rice and prep the salad. My family likes a roughly chopped salad, so this takes little time for me. Next, make the salad dressing.

Salad Dressing

This salad dressing is also fun for the children to make because it is quick and easy. In a jar (that has a tight lid), add the mayonnaise, buttermilk, lemon juice, horseradish, garlic, and salt and pepper. Stir gently with a fork. Next, tighten the lid and shake a few times. This is what the kids like to do. Shake until everything is well blended and place in the refrigerator while the rest of the meal is cooking.

When the chicken is finished, serve with rice and salad and enjoy. The cooked chicken also creates a nice juice to go over the rice.

smothered chicken

Summer Potatoes

Another dish to prepare is a nice side dish to go with any summer meal is summer potatoes. Now, I only call these summer potatoes because I remember my mother making these in the summer, but I think they can be made anytime throughout the year. I often make these when we really cookout with hotdogs, hamburgers, baked beans, corn and all of that yummy food. If you want something other than French fries, this is the way to go. Adjust the number of potatoes for the crowd that you are serving.


  • 8-10 yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced, semi-thin.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley for topping
  • Dried dill (for topping)
  • 2 tsp diced garlic
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp olive oil


  • In a large pan, let the olive oil heat up.
  • Add the sliced potatoes, butter, and garlic to the pan and toss until everything is coated over medium heat.
  • Cover the potatoes, but don’t walk away.
  • Every five minutes, toss the potatoes again so that one side does not burn.
  • Do this for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are soft and golden.
  • When done, top with dill and parsley and serve with your favorite dishes.

These are two great summer dishes that will really make family and friends happy. Don’t be afraid to play around with seasonings either. If you’re not into curry, try another mild spice and have fun with it. Enjoy!

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