By: Sarah McColl/Shine Staff


Two important things happen during the summer months to affect our usual dinner routine. First, we’re loathe to undo the hard work of our air-conditioner by turning on the oven. Second, and equally important, who wants to get out of the hammock, return from the beach, or stop playing croquet just cause our stomach’s grumbling? But, ah, the grocery store roast chicken is a lazy girl’s BFF and just the thing for a summer dinner makeover. Swoop in, pick up a chicken for less than $6, and with a few pantry staples you’ve got dinner for four in a flash. Easy as pie. Mmm…chicken pot pie. (We’ll save that for the colder months).

The Classic: Carve up chicken in six or eight pieces. Serve with a simple green salad, whole wheat couscous, and sliced peaches and nectarines.

Down-home Style: Shred chicken meat, and toss with your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve on split, toasted buns. Dish up cole slaw or baked potato chips alongside.

Fiesta Ready: Shred chicken and stuff inside taco shells with sliced avocado, cilantro, and tomatillo salsa. Serve with black beans and lime wedges.

Kicky curry: Chop up chicken and stir together with nonfat Greek yogurt, cilantro, halved grapes, red onion, and curry powder. Serve over mixed greens dressed lightly with lemon juice and olive oil.

Greens and grains. Shred chicken. Cook whole wheat couscous with chopped asparagus and frozen peas. Add chicken to couscous and toss lightly with lemon juice and olive oil. Serve with sliced tomatoes.

Chicken caesar wraps. Chop chicken and toss with romaine lettuce, lemon juice, grated Parmesan, sliced garlic cloves, and olive oil. Pile on whole wheat sandwich wraps and roll up. Serve with tomato soup or gazpacho.

Pasta primavera, Asian-style. Cook soba noodles in boiling water. In the final minutes of cooking, throw in sliced red bell pepper and broccoli florets. Whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, and a little bit of natural peanut butter. Toss with noodles and shredded chicken.

Chicken cobb. Chop chicken and toss with romaine lettuce, avocado slices, crumbled blue cheese, halved cherry tomatoes and crumbled cooked bacon. Drizzle with a red wine vinaigrette.

Take a look at Sarah’s other blog, What’s So Wrong With Being Ourselves. This should be a hot topic around the watercooler!