It’s HOT here in the Pacific NW today – and it’s about to get even hotter. (We’re literally going to break all-time high temp. records.) And when summer brings the heat, making dinner often requires us to get a little bit creative. (Because let’s get real – who wants to turn their oven on when it’s 100 degrees outside?! Not me!)

When I first started thinking about this post, my mind jumped to all my counter-top appliances. But, because not everyone has an Instant Pot, slow cooker, and an air fryer, I wanted to create a list of dinner ideas that DO NOT require a special appliance. Everything on my list can be made with just your cooktop.

Here’s to beating the heat and still enjoying a good meal. Happy summer everyone!


  • Taco Salad
  • Cobb or Chef Salad (I love adding lunch meats and hard boiled eggs to up the protein.)
  • BLT Salad (Add cooked chicken to make this dish heartier!)
  • Pasta Salad (Use tortellini to add interest and make the dish more filling.)


  • Deli Subs (This is one of our go-to meals. Your local grocery store should have some great deli meat options!)
  • Meatball subs
  • Grilled Cheese (Or grilled ham and cheese!)
  • Breakfast Sandwich (Fried egg, breakfast meat of choice, and cheese of choice!)
  • BLT
  • Peanut Butter and….(Jelly, Fluff, Nutella, Banana, etc!) Who says they’re just for kids?
  • Wraps (Like a sandwich, but throw it in a tortilla and it becomes something new!)

Breakfast for Dinner:

  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Eggs, Breakfast Meat of Choice, and Toast
  • French Toast

Other Ideas:

  • Tacos
  • Quesadillas (Anytime I add meat to a quesadilla, my easy to please family LOVES it and thinks I’m fancy.)
  • Hot Dogs/Chili Dogs (You have to boil them, but it still tastes pretty good!)
  • Nachos
  • Burgers (I’ve made burgers on my pancake griddle and they turn out great!)
  • Stir-Fry/Yakisoba/Fried Rice
  • Spaghetti (or basically any pasta other than Lasagna/Baked Ziti)
  • Sloppy Joes

My Go-To Hot Weather Sides

I am a HUGE supporter of giving yourself a break and letting yourself make EASY sides at all times, but especially when it’s hot. While I never think you “need” to make something fancy, you certainly don’t need to put yourself out when it’s boiling outside. Therefore, I give you my easy-peasy summer sides….

  • Salads of ANY type (Make what floats YOUR boat.)
  • Fruit (Cut-up seasonal fruit is a huge staple on our summer dinner table. SO easy and so delicious!)
  • Veggies (You can’t beat fresh corn and green beans in the summer, but a plate of carrot sticks and cut peppers is perfect as well.)
  • Chips (Yep, right out of the bag.)
  • Cottage cheese (not everyone’s cup of tea, but we like it)
  • Applesauce
  • Baked Beans
  • Jello (Again, not for everyone- but we love it.)