FOOD

How to Simplify your Summer Dishes with Chef Megan Mitchell

June 30th, 2020

Welcome to Dining In—a series that takes you into the homes of Thrive Market employees and brand partners to share what cooking in our own kitchens really looks like. Today, we’re talking to Megan Mitchell, a chef, food stylist, and the host of Prep School with Thrive Market. Her easy and approachable cooking style keeps things light, fresh, and always delicious. She’s sharing how she’s freshening up her recipes and staying cool with summer in full swing.

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What does dining in look like for you?

Dining in for me is usually just me and my husband, but we do love having friends and family over for home cooked meals. I find cooking to be more fun when I have people to share it with.

What advice can you give others in a similar scenario?

When I cook, my husband does the dishes and vice versa. We can all get a little burned out on cooking all the time, so I’d say take turns making each other dinner so it doesn’t seem like a chore.

How are you spending your summer while social distancing?

My husband and I reside in Los Angeles, and after three months of quarantine we decided to get a change of scenery and came down to our family’s home in Key West. Sun, frozen drinks, and lots of fresh fish to cook with.

How do you make meal-time feel special?

I cook for a living, so sometimes all I want is something simple I don’t need to think too hard about—but other times I really want to go big. I love to grill and my husband loves to use a smoker, so we cook together outside as often as possible. I always like to try new things and test them out on friends and family. A glass of wine or a cocktail always helps, too.

What’s your go-to meal when you don’t feel particularly motivated?

I love a one-pot meal where I can add everything and then walk away, or a meal that’s ready in under 30 minutes so I don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen. I actually made one of my favorite easy dinners for Prep School, My One-Pot Turkey Pesto Stew, and we probably have it once a week.

How has Thrive Market made Dining In easier?

The nice thing about Thrive Market is I know I will always have something in my pantry or freezer that I can use to make a great meal/snack/dish. When I order I make sure I get two or three times what I need so if I’m stuck or don’t want to go to the store I have something on hand to make a great, healthy meal.

As the weather heats up, what are the top three recipes you’re looking forward to making this summer?

Like I said, I love to grill so grilled pizzas will be happening often along with ribs, burgers and my favorite Grilled Eggplant Dip. I also have a garden, so I’m excited to whip up dishes featuring the produce I’m growing such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, blueberries, cucumbers, and herbs.

What are your go-to recipes for days when you don’t want to deal with a hot oven or grill?

I’m a big fan of store-bought organic rotisserie chicken. I add it to salads, soups, pasta, or to my macro bowls. I’ll make a big batch of hummus at the beginning of the week to pair with veggies and chips when I don’t feel like cooking. I also love a raw, shaved fennel and radish salad with my simple Herb and Tahini Dressing.

What are your favorite summer drinks?

Love me some rosé but also a big fan of margaritas. I’ve been making one with reposado, the juice of a lime and an orange, a little maple syrup for sweetness and a splash of elderflower liqueur. It’s so light and refreshing.

What are your must-have fresh ingredients and pantry staples for the summer?

Limes and lemons are always on hand no matter the time of year. I try to take full advantage of summer produce so tomatoes, berries, squash, stone fruit, sweet corn, watermelon, and eggplant. As for my pantry, that pretty much stays the same all year long. I always have canned coconut milk, jarred marinara sauce, harissa, ghee, various flours, canned beans, dried pasta, and oils and vinegars on hand.

What are two to three ways to lighten up or summer-fy recipes?

I love to use citrus to brighten up dishes and add fresh herbs. I’ll often grill or quickly sauté something instead of frying or braising during summer months as well. I will sub in summer produce for winter veggies like: zucchini or yellow squash instead of Brussels sprouts. Fresh heirloom tomatoes instead of canned. Or do lighter dishes like riced cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.

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Kendall LoweryKendall Lowery is a current college student and a lifelong food enthusiast. When she’s not studying, she spends her time playing the flute, finding her next great bite, and working at Thrive Market as the Creative + Content Intern.

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