Easy Summer Meal Ideas: Fresh and Flavorful Dishes to Beat the Heat

Summer is a season for outdoor fun, vacation time, and lazy, sun-soaked afternoons. It’s also a time when we want light, refreshing meals that don’t need a lot of prep work and no hot oven. In this post, we’re going to give attention to that favorite summertime entrée: pork. Plus, we’ll look at desserts that aren’t too sloppy but just as fun, answer why light meals are best for summer, and tips for meal prep. Let’s dig in!

Why Choose Light Meals in Summer?

When the temperature climbs, our bodies naturally want to keep cool. You may find that you crave light, easy-to-digest meals over heavy, calorie-laden ones in summertime. Eating meals such as salads, grilled vegetables, and lean proteins satisfies our appetite and helps maintain our energy levels. Is there anything worse than eating a big heavy lunch and then having to go back to work? Many summer dishes, such as fruit and vegetable salads, can have a lot of water content in them. These meals can support hydration, which is always important during the hot days of summer. 

Sizzling Summer Meats: Pork

Hot dogs and cold fried chicken are summer staples. Elevate your dinner game with grilled pork chops, skewers, and pulled pork sandwiches this year. Put these ideas on your shopping list for a tasty summer meal. Bonus: They make great leftovers. 

  • Grilled Pork Chops 

Grilling is a quintessential part of summer cooking, and pork chops are an excellent choice. Marinate them with herbs, spices, and some citrus for a refreshing flavor. Pair these chops with a summer salad or grilled vegetables for a light meal.

  • Pork Skewers 

Skewers are perfect for summer, easy to make, and fun to eat. You can thread pieces of pork loin with an assortment of summer vegetables like bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini. A quality marinade will enhance the flavor even more and keep the meat juicy.

  • Pulled Pork Salad

Pulled pork can be a great addition to a hearty summer salad. Use lean pork shoulder simmered until it’s tender enough to pull apart, then pair it with a slaw or mixed greens, corn, and black beans, and top it with a light vinaigrette. Use left over pulled pork for sandwiches.

  • Stir-Fried Pork

 For a fast summer dinner, stir-fry some lean pork cuts with a colorful group of vegetables, including crisp onions, baby corn, snap peas, and red bell pepper. You can use a light sauce of soy, ginger, garlic, and a dash of lime for a bright summery tang.

To keep this light, balance the portion of pork with a generous amount of vegetables and fresh, light sides. Try experimenting with pork throughout the summer and enjoy the results!

Summer Fruit & Vegetable Sides

Summer provides an abundance of fresh produce and the opportunity to experiment with new side recipes and they’re also great to eat right out of the fridge (of course washed first).

  • Watermelon
  • Berries
  • Peaches
  • Cherries

For vegetables, stick to ones that taste equally delicious raw and make for great snacking, don’t forget that summertime favorite, ranch dressing, for dipping. These fruits and veggies are not only delicious but also help you stay hydrated.

  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Carrots  
  • Celery

Delightful Desserts

Desserts are a delicious part of summer dining, but this doesn’t mean they have to be overly indulgent or require an oven to make them. Yogurt-based desserts can be made quickly, with no heat. Many recipes require no sugar, just add berries for the right mix of sweetness. Homemade popsicles with natural fruit juice can be an excellent way to satisfy your sweet tooth without straying from the theme of light and refreshing. You’ll find, when making your own popsicle treats, that there is an endless supply of ideas.              

Tips for Summer Meal Prep

Meal prep can be a game-changer, especially during the summer when you’d rather spend more time outdoors than in the kitchen. 

  1. Prepare your ingredients in advance, including washing and chopping vegetables and fruit. This allows for easy assembly of meals later. 
  2. To keep meals fresh and safe, always refrigerate them in airtight containers and consume them within a few days. 
  3. Shop more often but buy less. This will reduce food waste. Try shopping at a farmer’s market once a week for the best in local produce. 

Summertime and Dinner is Easy

Summer meals don’t need to be complex to be delicious. Choose light, refreshing ingredients, prep what you can, and grill often for perfect hot-weather meals. Now, all you need to do is spread out the picnic blanket. 

For the freshest fruit and vegetables, delicious premade meals, and the best cuts of meats, head to Captuo’s! We have stores throughout the Chicagoland and surrounding area, or you can shop online for extra convenience. And don’t forget to send us an invite!

From Our Family To Yours

The 10 Best Seasonal Foods for Summer

Summer is officially here and you know what that means? Food! Delicious, wholesome, fresh foods that pair amazingly with backyard BBQs, days at the beach, picnics in the park, or simply a fun afternoon with the family. 

But, what are the best seasonal foods for summer? And, is there any benefit to eating seasonal ingredients as opposed to foods that aren’t in season? Well, fortunately, the food-lovers at Caputos have the answers you’re looking for right here. 

We’re breaking down a list of our top 10 favorite summer fruits and vegetables as well as their nutritional benefits, so you can make the best decisions when it comes to your family, your health, and your recipes.

Top 5 Summer Fruits 

Arguably, the best time of year to enjoy fruits is the summer time when the hard-to-get, sweet fruits finally come back into season – and for a great price! In the Chicagoland area, there are tons of exceptional fruit options for summer and we’re here to tell you our five personal favorites and why you should put them on the list for your next Caputos grocery visit! 


Watermelon is THE summer fruit, what with its high water content and large-enough-to-feed-a-family-of-7-deliciousness. High in vitamin A and C, this fruit is as nutritionally-dense as it is beautiful to look at. Rich reds offer high levels of potassium and B6 to keep your heart and eyes healthy.  

Blend up watermelons for amazing summertime margaritas or sprinkle a little feta into your watermelon salad for the perfect combination of salty and sweet.  


Strawberries are beloved by kiddos and adults alike, offering the distinct sweet and slightly sour taste of summertime childhood. These sweet fruits are also packed with fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, which is super helpful for fighting inflammation and keeping your teeth sparkly white.  

Blend Strawberries up for a summertime popsicle recipe or add them to a fresh grilled chicken salad for a boost of color and flavor.  


SpongeBob is not the only fan of this delicious summer fruit. We love pineapples for their sweet, tropical flavor, giving us a taste of vacations in Hawaii (even if we’re just sitting in our backyard). They also help boost your metabolism and reduce inflammation, so you can look and feel your best. 

Add a couple cubes of pineapple to your chicken and pepper skewers or create an amazing Bay Breeze cocktail and impress your friends with a fun, backyard dinner and drink night.  


We think kiwis are the most underrated summer fruit and we’re putting a stop to that now. These colorful and delicious fruits are packed with vitamin A, C, and B6, giving you loads of powerful, inflammation fighting benefits. They also taste amazing and are the perfect, complimentary color to add fruit salad.  

Scoop a kiwi or two and blend with strawberries, yogurt, and pineapple juice for the perfect, refreshing summer smoothie you can enjoy anywhere, anytime.  


Along with watermelon, we think mangos take the cake for the best summertime fruit of all time. These beautiful, colorful fruits pair well with all types of dishes – salty, sweet, umami; you name it and mangos probably pair well with it. 

They’re also rich in fiber, potassium and vitamin A, giving you protection against harmful blue rays that can affect your eyes. We love adding mango to a summertime salsa, for the perfect balance of fresh, sweet, and spicy.  

Top 5 Summer Vegetables 

As much as we love summertime fruits, we might love summertime veggies even more – we know, it’s surprising us too!  

Summer is the best season for producing fresh, crisp vegetables that are as colorful as they are nutritious. You can also cook, chop, roast, boil, and grill these veggies to your heart’s content during the heated months, which means more time for outdoor parties and hanging with friends.  

A win-win in our book. 

Here are our top five favorite summer vegetables to pick up on your next grocery visit.  


Zucchini, also known as the “summer squash,” is like its fall and winter cousins in texture and shape, but delivers a crisp and colorful taste and appearance that is perfect to enjoy during the hotter, summer months. Best part? There’s truly no wrong way to cook zucchini – grill it, sauté it, fry it, stew it; the options are truly endless! 

We love coring zucchini and creating spicy taco boats that pair with a fresh margarita or paloma for the perfect outdoor summer dinner.  


What can’t you pair with a cucumber? You can put them in salads, sandwiches, wraps, or on a delicious veggie tray paired with smoky meats and cheeses. While their versatility is of course a benefit, we also love that cucumbers are rich in water and vitamin K, perfect to keep your hydrated during the hot, summer months.  

For picky eaters, we suggest adding cucumbers to a fruit smoothie! They won’t be able to taste it, but they’ll still get all the amazing vitamins and mineral.  


Is there anything more summer-coded than a grilled corn on the cob? We don’t think so, which is why corn takes our prize for best summer vegetable! Packed with vitamin C, corn is perfect for adults, kiddos, and seniors looking to add color, texture, and flavor to any dish.  

Salsa? Add corn! Chicken and mashed potato bowl? Add corn! Summer salad? Add corn. The opportunities are endless.  


Veggie lovers rejoice! We have the perfect, non-meat option for summertime that is flavorful, delicious, and oh-so colorful. Eggplants are so versatile, making them great for vegans and vegetarians looking for a meat alternative to use for their favorite meals.  

You can grill it, add it in place for chicken for a parmesan, skewer it, fry it, and sauté it. Whatever way you choose to enjoy your eggplant, know that you’re also getting a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help keep you energized and active.  


Finally, we have carrots – our favorite, colorful vegetables that’s easy on the stomach and the eyes (really, the beta carotene is phenomenal). Carrots are also richly packed with memory supporting vitamins and minerals to help keep your brain strong and healthy – even post-summertime.  

Finely chop some carrots and add it into a brownie recipe for the perfect, hidden dessert recipe that even the pickiest kiddos can’t say no to.  

Shop Angelo Caputos For High-Quality Summer Fruits and Vegetables 

Ready to find the delicious, fresh, and high-quality summer fruits and vegetables at a grocery store near you? Shop Angelo Caputos today and be a part of the family that has looked after Chicagoland since 1958.  

When you shop with us, you can trust you’re getting the same reliable, trusted customer experience we’ve been providing for over 60+ years.  

Shop now or give us a call and we’ll help you find the exact produce you’re looking for to create your next timeless recipe.  

From Our Family To Yours

Make a Splash with these Pool Party Ideas

Are you ready to throw the ultimate pool party this summer? No pool party is complete without a delicious spread of food and drinks. We’ll dive right in and give you some ideas for scrumptious and easy-to-make pool party recipe ideas that will make all the right waves. 

Dive Into Pool Party Recipe Ideas 

The amount of food you have will depend on how long and the type of pool party. Birthday parties for children would do well with easy-to-eat foods and snacks, plenty of water, and hydrating drinks. A party that goes for longer may require main dishes, sides, and desserts. Let’s look more at pool party recipe ideas. 

Appetizers and Snacks

The great thing about appetizers is they do well all on their own for any pool party. If your pool party is only for a couple of hours, there may not be a need for a full menu. Appetizers and snacks can be filling to keep the energy up but not too filling to make sitting around in a bathing suit uncomfortable. Kick off your poolside feast with these ideas: 

  • Antipasto trays
  • Fruit skewers
  • Caprese salad on a stick (mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil)
  • Guacamole and chips 
  • Mini Bouchon sandwich platter
  • Charcuterie boards

Main Dishes & Sides

For pool parties that extend into the evening hours, the main course should be both satisfying and manageable poolside. A few ideas for poolside recipes include:

Dessert Foods for Pool Parties

Now, let’s talk sweets. Ice cream sandwiches and fruit popsicles are easy to eat and provide a welcome cool down. Any summer fruit can be a perfect choice for a pool party treat. Watermelon and berries are usually at the top for pool party food. Additionally, baked goods are generally easy to eat with little mess. Instead of a large cake, try cupcakes or mini pies. Further ideas for pool parties include:

  • Italian Ice
  • Berry Salad
  • Cookies 
  • Popsicles
  • Angel Food Cake– all you have to do is pick up a homemade angel food cake from Caputo’s top it with fresh strawberries and your favorite whipped cream!


Hydration is crucial in the heat, so let’s not forget about the drinks! Tropical fruit punch and homemade lemonade are family-friendly options that will quench everyone’s thirst. For adults, a mojito can bring a refreshing twist. Set up an ice cream float bar for a fun and cool treat that guests of all ages will love.

Pool Party Success

Keep food fresh and safe in the summer heat by using ice trays for cold items and warming trays for hot foods. Present your dishes in an appealing way, perhaps using inflatable drink holders for beverages. Remember, the flow of food should be continuous, ensuring your guests have access to snacks and refreshments throughout the party.

Shop for Your Next Pool Party at Caputo’s

Caputo’s has the freshest fruit and vegetables, the most delicious cakes and baked goods, and high-quality meats and deli items. We have stores throughout the Chicagoland and surrounding area, or you can shop online for extra convenience. And don’t forget to send us an invite! 

Even better, you relax and leave the cooking to us, and we’ll create a memorable pool party menu. Contact us today to learn more about our services, hours, and locations. 

From Our Family To Yours