As we welcome summer with its longer days we start to make the most of the lighter evenings that stretch out before us. It’s one of the true joys of the season to be able to enjoy some sunshine after a working day by going for a walk or a quick dip in the ocean.
The last thing you want is to have to cut those fun times short because you haven’t thought about what you’re doing for dinner and you need to get back to the kitchen to figure it out. If you already know what you’re cooking and know that you have all the ingredients ready to go then you can take an extra half an hour to enjoy that beautiful sunset without feeling guilty or pressured.
So to help streamline your summer eating I’ve created a six-week meal planner suggesting easy and delicious dinners five nights a week. All the recipes you need are in my new summer annual Annabel Langbein A Free Range Life: Endless Summer.
We assume you'll go out or eat takeaways or leftovers a couple of nights a week, so each weekly planner suggests five meals that you can use on whatever nights that work for you. Feel free to mix up the weeks to suit your plans or suit the appetites you're feeding – you might prefer to choose your favourite few weeks and repeat them!
Most main dishes serve four, but some serve six or more, leaving leftovers for lunch the next day or another meal another night.
I've also put together some menu suggestions for when you want to pull out all the stops and make a special meal for family and friends. There are ideas for all kind of gatherings, from a Tex Mex-themed party to a romantic meal for two. For those who are cooking for people with special dietary needs there's a vegetarian degustation menu and also a menu that's entirely suitable for gluten-free guests.
To make life even easier I’ve created a shopping list for each week’s menu plan and each of the entertaining menus. Scroll down to see the, or click the links below to download printable pdfs to take to the supermarket.
Please note the quantities given are sometimes rounded to allow for easy shopping – for example when 2½ lemons are required in one week the shopping list will call for three lemons.
We assume you'll have a few salad greens and vegetables on hand to round out your meals, and that you'll have a few Storecupboard Basics, such as oils and vinegars, sauces, herbs and spices. Scroll down to see a checklist of Storecupboard Basics or download a printable pdf (741KB).
I'd love to hear your feedback about how you use the meal planners and entertaining menus, what you enjoy the most about them – and anything you don't like too! Please let me know on my Facebook page.
Weekly meal planner shopping lists:
Week One – Download a printable pdf (806KB)
Week Two – Download a printable pdf (745KB)
Week Three – Download a printable pdf (777KB)
Week Four – Download a printable pdf (833KB)
Week Five – Download a printable pdf (787KB)
Week Six – Download a printable pdf (860KB)
Entertaining menus shopping lists:
Make-Ahead Dinner Party – Download a printable pdf (641KB)
Tex-Mex Party Menu – Download a printable pdf (657KB)
Seafood-Lovers' Gourmet Feast – Download a printable pdf (668KB)
Vegetarian Degustation – Download a printable pdf (638KB)
Gluten-Free Guests – Download a printable pdf (617KB)
Romantic Dinner a Deux – Download a printable pdf (617KB)
Feed a Crowd on a Budget – Download a printable pdf (636KB)