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Too Hot to Cook

 
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annettebrks
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:40 am    Post subject: Too Hot to Cook Reply with quote

What do you do for dinner when it's too darned hot to fire up the stove? At our house sometimes we just do sandwiches and salad. But I hate to feed them lunchmeat too often.

Here's an idea I got from a local restaurant. It is soooooooo good and so doggone easy to make.

Ahead of time, cook up some chicken or use leftover. I like mine roasted in olive oil, but as long as it's some kind of chicken, it'll work! Then stick it in the fridge til it's time to toss the salad. You can use it still warm, but it works great chilled.

Cut the chicken into small enough chunks to toss into a salad. Use spinach for the greens. Add sliced fresh strawberries and sliced almonds. I like to use a nice low-fat citrus poppy seed dressing.

A one-dish meal, extremely tasty, easy as heck, and nice enough to serve to company.
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mtaman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An alternative to lunch meat is tuna salad, chicken salad, or ham salad, or chicken roll-ups. thumbsup
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bruja
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since I adopted the 3 colour rule for healthy eating - try for 3 colours in every meal, and white and brown don't count - our salads have been a lot more interesting. Mixed salads include various colours of sweet peppers, as well as cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, red onions, slivers of peeled broccoli stems, bits of cauliflower, slivers of carrots, etc. And I like to add shredded cheese and slivers of almonds or hazelnuts.

Often the salads are created from whatever I have in abundance. Last week, we had apple and sweet red pepper salad with celery and feta cheese. I use olive oil and fresh lime or lemon juice most of the time, because everyone likes it best, and I know there are no preservatives in it.

Cold soups are popular with the adults in hot weather. I make a few big batches of vichyssoise from my favourite recipe in the fall, when leeks are more plentiful and cheaper, except for the heavy cream. Sealed, it keeps quite well, and in the summer, I defrost a bag in the fridge, then add the cream. Gazpacho and cold cherry soup are good, too. And in a pinch you can keep a can of beef consomme in the fridge, and serve it jellied on a lettuce leaf, with a wedge of lemon. Super quick, and rather elegant.

Even in hot weather, I'm willing to cook a quick pot of pasta. While it cooks, I chop up whatever I have available: celery, peppers, onions, spinach, broccoli florets, etc.and some kind of meat or fish leftover. When the hot pasta has been drained, I add the veg and leftovers, then some olive oil, and shredded or crumbled cheese. The heat from the pasta spreads through the other ingredients in a few minutes. If there are leftovers, they make a great pasta salad. Or do the pasta dish in the morning, and let it chill all day. (We had baked tuna steaks day before yesterday, then pasta with the leftover tuna, plus the above veggies and olive oil, some cilantro and lime juice. My son promptly packed up all the leftover tuna pasta to take to work today for his lunch,)

Spinach salad with mushrooms and bacon bits, plus chopped hard boiled, served with bacon caesar dressing is a favourite. Sourdough rolls on the side.

On cool days, even in summer, I cook a ham rubbed with dry mustard, cumin and nutmeg. Once it's cool, I split it into chunks, and freeze most of it, ready to have with a side salad. Ditto large pot roasts and sometimes whole turkeys. It's much cheaper than eating commercial cold cuts, and better and safer.

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patos
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will make a box of Knorr Mac & Cheese. While the pasta is cooking, I cut up some fresh onion, mushrooms, bell pepper and whatever else stricks my fancy at the time ( more likely, what we have left in the fridge at the time) and then add all that with the sauce. Hubby likes it and so do I.

Or we will make some guacamole with chips.

Or just slice up some veggies on a plate and dig in.

And sometimes I will just have some watermelon because I just love it but don't love eating a lot when I am HOT. And it has been hot here lately.

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DamonDamore
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I try to get up early and get all my cooking done while the sun is down.

So, uh, I pre-prepare things when it's not as hot I guess.

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annettebrks
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know anyone else around where I am who's willing to do any preparing ahead of time. I've never understood that, I'd much rather get the cooking done early before it gets hot out! Then again, I'm not one to use storebought prepared foods much, while everyone around here pretty much lives on that sort of thing. To each his own, I guess!

I have never tried cold soup although I've always been curious about it. The family always seemed to think it such an odd idea that I just never got around to giving them a shot. Some of the fruit soups sound especially nice right now since it's been so hot here.

We do different types of salads a lot, though. I never realized how many things you could throw into one when I was younger. I thought they were all just lettuce and condiments. Dear old mom only believed in iceberg lettuce and French dressing. If she felt like getting fancy, she'd shave in some carrot.

The Italian Oven used to put pasta and cold meat into a green salad, and that's another one that went over well when I tried it at home with the family. I miss that restaurant - I got a lot of good ideas from there. And I REALLY wish I could come up with a recipe for their pizza crust. Best I ever had.

Patos - I'm with you, I never want to eat when I'm hot. Now I have a craving for watermelon since you mentioned it! I'll have to hit the farmer's market later.
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