A dish of chicken salad sits on a blue-patterned tablecloth
Grab-and-go foods like this curry chicken salad from Tea Bar & Bites make busy summer meals a cinch. (Photo: Tea Bar & Bites)

Hello, summer. We’ve missed you.

Memorial Day is nearing and that’s the start of summer fun. Weekends at the lake. Trips out of town. Camping. Picnics and so much more.

Summer can also be incredibly hectic, especially if you have a lake house or do a lot of traveling. You get off work, scramble to get groceries and hit the road. Well, here are some foods to help ease your stress and add some deliciousness to your life.

Harter House on Eastgate

Head to the Harter House deli and order a pound or more of the cranberry chicken salad. It is made from fresh chicken breasts that they smoke in-house and it’s always a hit. It’s mixed with just a hint of mayonnaise, so it’s not creamy like other chicken salads (but that also means less fat). Serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips or crackers.

Another delicious option is their smoked salmon dip (in the refrigerator case near the deli). Harter House uses fresh smoked salmon filets and cream cheese, so it’s smokey and creamy at the same time. Both items are available at the Eastgate location.

Trays of chicken salad in a deli case
Harter House on Eastgate has delicious chicken salad that can be served as an appetizer with tortilla chips or crackers. (Photo: Harter House)

Find it: Harter House Eastgate, 1625 S. Eastgate, Springfield; 417-883-1650; or visit their website

Tea Bar & Bites

Some of the best curry chicken salad in town is made by Colleen Smith, owner of Tea Bar & Bites, a charming Rountree restaurant. The curry chicken salad is famous here and you can order it by the pound to go. It has a creamy dressing with a pronounced curry flavor and is accented with sweet pecans and crunchy celery.

Smith also sells tuna salad in a creamy dill dressing with Fuji apples, as well as a lime and thyme potato salad, which is a wonderful unconventional potato salad. Of course, buy some cupcakes or cookies and you’re sure to make everyone smile.

Find it: 621 S. Pickwick Ave.; 417-866-7500; You can also email Tea Bar & Bites, or visit their website


Hy-Vee has a huge variety of foods that are perfect for the lake. Their chicken grillers come in a variety of flavors and are ready to go on the grill or bake when you get home (350 degrees for 35-40 minutes). They also sell shrimp skewers that are heat and eat, so super quick.

The sushi selection is expansive and is some of the best grocery store sushi in town. Grocery store sushi has come a long way in recent years. The cheese case is impressive, and their bakery boasts delicious rustic loaves.

5 rows of shrimp skewers sit on a blue plate
These heat-and-eat shrimp skewers from Hy-Vee are super quick and perfect for the lake. (Photo: Hy-Vee)

Neighbor’s Mill

If you want fresh-baked cinnamon rolls when you wake up, then order a half-dozen take-and-bake rolls from Neighbor’s Mill. They must be ordered 24 hours in advance. There’s nothing like the aroma of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and these will not disappoint.

This bakery also has a variety of fabulous breads, from savory to sweet. If you like sweetbreads, the strawberry pecan is a must!

A tray of cinnamon rolls
Enjoy fresh-baked cinnamon rolls without all the work. You can order order a half-dozen take-and-bake rolls from Neighbor’s Mill in Springfield. (Photo: Neighbor’s Mill)

Find it: 1435 E. Independence St., Springfield; 417-720-4162; or visit Neighbor’s Mill’s website


If you want a quick charcuterie board and plan to build your own, this is the spot. Aldi has some of the best cheese prices in town and their crackers are also reasonable. The entertainment variety pack has an assortment.

There’s a nice selection of meats and pre-sliced cheese for a board, but be sure to pick up the smoked gouda and some goat cheese. Those are lovely additions. They also sell killer sea salt chocolate-covered caramels that are a great addition to a charcuterie board (the chocolates, in general, are good and less expensive).

A hummus sampler in a plastic container
Aldi sells a hummus sampler that makes an easy appetizer for your summer picnic or trip to the lake. (Photo: Juliana Goodwin)

Aldi also sells a hummus sampler with four types of hummuses — the cilantro jalapeno is wonderful. Their dill tzatziki is some of the best store-bought you will find. Serve it with pita chips and carrots for an easy dip, or spread it on grilled chicken. It should be a summer staple.

Homemade Delivered

Ziploc bags filled with zoodles, noodles made of zucchini
Homemade Delivered is a meal prep and delivery service in Springfield. They offer main dishes, fresh juices and more.

This requires advance planning, but no more effort than ordering online.

Homemade Delivered is a local meal prep and delivery service owned by Denise LeBolt. Here’s how it works: the menu changes weekly and is posted on Sunday. You must order Thursday for delivery the following Wednesday (so when you are ready to head out Friday, it’s already in your fridge). Meals are prepped and delivered between 3 and 7:30 p.m. If you’re not home, they can leave it at your door.

The ready-to-bake quiches are fantastic and feature organic, local eggs. There are four flavors, from Lorraine to smoked gouda and roasted red pepper. You can also request a gluten-free sweet potato crust. This business prides itself in catering to people with dietary restrictions and creating healthier fare.

The chicken salad is also good. You can order main dishes, fresh juices and more. LeBolt supports local growers, which is awesome.

Horrmann Meats

Summer wouldn’t be summer with brats and beer. And Horrmann Meats Farmer’s Market has some of the best brats in town. There are more than 30 to choose from, including chicken brats. The best-sellers are jalapeno and cheddar, bacon pepper jack, and big kahuna — a  pineapple brat.

Aside from the amazing brats, they have a nice selection of local summer sausages, traditional cuts you love and less common meats, like goat or bison. If you want to elevate your deli sandwiches, they sell amazing ham off the bone. It’s more pricy than traditional ham, but the flavor is so worth it. It makes great sandwiches for the boat.

Packages of bratwurst sit on a counter
What’s summer without brats and beer? You can find a wide variety of bratwurst at Horrmann Meats in Springfield. (Photo: Horrmann Meats)

Find it: 1537 W. Battlefield Road, Springfield; 417-886-6328; or visit the Horrmann Meats website

Angela’s Kitchen Creations

Angela Penland creates new dishes every week for Angela’s Kitchen Creations and posts the menu on Facebook on Thursdays. Orders are typically picked up, but delivery is available for $5 in Springfield or $10 in surrounding cities. Pickup is the following Tuesday-Friday.

Penland’s lasagnas are very popular and available in individual sizes, 8-by-8 and 9-by-13. She has a traditional option made with Italian sausage, homemade sauce and a mixture of ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Or try the chicken alfredo lasagna: the filling is made with chicken, spinach and mushrooms. It’s layered with the same ricotta mixture as the traditional lasagna and a homemade Alfredo sauce.

A salad in a green bowl
Salads from Angela’s Kitchen Creations are a summer hits. Owner Angela Penland offers options like Cobb or Greek bowls. (Photo: Angela’s Kitchen Creations)

Salads are summer hits and include Cobb or Greek bowls. For anyone on Weight Watchers, she includes the points value. When you order, ask about gluten-free or keto options.

Find it: (417) 379-5707; you can also email Angela and see the menu on Facebook

Price Cutter

A frozen take-and-bake Shakespeare's Pizza
Shakespeare’s Pizza, a beloved Columbia institution, is available at Price Cutter in Springfield. (Photo: Juliana Goodwin)

There are several places you can score take-and-bake or frozen pizza, but did you know Price Cutter sells Shakespeare’s pizza? Yes, that beloved Columbia institution is within reach.

Some Shakespeare’s pizza and a cold beer is a great way to kick off the weekend and makes for an easy dinner.

Hit the salad bar to create a salad to go. For the best grab-and-go meal options, head to the larger Price Cutter stores on Battlefield or Republic Road. These offer better cheese selections, meals that you can reheat, dips and products like bacon-wrapped asparagus and twice-baked potatoes that make dinner a cinch.

Find it: There are multiple Price Cutter locations in the Springfield area. You can find a list on Price Cutter’s website

Juliana Goodwin

Juliana Goodwin is a freelance journalist with experience covering business, travel and tourism, health, food and history. She is a former Food and Travel Columnist for the Springfield News-Leader, a former business reporter for The Joplin Globe, and has written for USA Today and Arkansas Living Magazine, among others. More by Juliana Goodwin