Hot summer days mean simple, efficient cooking.

Summer days mean lazy days in the kitchen. Who wants to cook all the time when it's 100 degrees outside? This summer I discovered a new plan to the summer kitchen. It's healthy, it's efficient and it's delicious.

Each week I choose several of my family's favorite salads such as Mediterranean potato salad, couscous salad with sundried tomatoes or black bean and corn salad. I spend the weekend preparing the salads and making quantities large enough to last several days. We then feast on the salads throughout the week. They make great accompaniments to grilled meat or can serve as a meal alone. Whether it be for lunch or dinner, there's always a tasteful dish waiting.

I also prepare protein salads such as tuna, chicken or egg which can be eaten on a bed of lettuce, served in a wrap or placed on a sandwich roll. This option provides a quick lunch for the kids if I can't be home to assist. One more trick I've learned for summertime eating is to always have a cubed watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe in the refrigerator. My kids devour these lucious melons as long they don't have to do any of the work.