17 January 2012

What to Make for Dinner When It’s Too Hot to Cook

What is worse than the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner”? In the summer, it’s the thought of turning on the stove or oven to make dinner. I thought it would be good to share some great summertime dinners everyone in your family will love. Not only do they not require any cooking, but they are healthy and delicious as well.

In the summer many families enjoy some wonderful salads. Here are a few of favourites. Of course you can incorporate whatever ingredients your family prefers.

Not your traditional tossed salad: A traditional tossed salad is awesome and easy to make, but sometimes as a standalone meal, it may not fully satisfy those hungry appetites at dinner. To enhance a traditional tossed salad try adding some of the following ingredients for extra flavour and protein:

  • Chunks of cubed cheddar cheese
  • Slices of lunchmeat, like turkey, chicken breast or ham
  • Leftover chicken breast
  • Zucchini slices
  • Yellow squash chunks
  • Crumble some leftover taco meat, tortilla chips and salsa for a taco salad
Chef’s salad: Basically a chef’s salad is an upgraded tossed salad. Just add hard boiled eggs, chunks of cheese and sliced ham, turkey, chicken breast and roast beef and voila, you have a chef’s salad. Hearty and yummy!

Spinach salad: Made with yummy spinach leaves or baby spinach leaves, a spinach salad is cool, refreshing and yummy! I like to add grated cheese, slices of ham, turkey and roast beef, cucumbers, pickles, black olives and for added zest some jalapenos! I top mine with an Italian dressing or balsamic vinaigrette.

Sandwiches: Another great meal idea you can create without cooking is sandwiches. Yes, sandwiches for dinner. When it’s too hot to cook, some cool sandwiches are the ticket. Not only are they easy and heat free, but they are also less filling than a big huge dinner! Some great summer sandwiches are:

Chicken salad: I love chicken salad and love to have a batch made up for last minute, easy on the go meals. I use cooked leftover chicken, sliced celery and mayo, whizzed in the food processor until it comes together. Serve some on a pita or flat bread, in a tortilla or in a croissant to change things up a bit.

Deli style sandwiches: I love to sink my teeth into a yummy, thick sandwich filled with all of the fixings of a deli. Pile on the salad, add a little meat and cheese and  you'll have a sandwich fit for a king! Some of my favorites are:
  • Ham
  • Turkey
  • Roast Beef
  • Chicken Breast
  • Corned Beef
  • Salami
  • Alfalfa or Bean Sprouts
  • Cucumbers
  • Pickles
  • Tomato
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Capsicum
  • Grated carrot
  • Shredded beetroot
  • Grated cheese
  • Sliced onion
  • Baby spinach
  • Cos lettuce
  • Coleslaw
Serve on thick wholegrain bread with mustard, if you like, and mayonnaise.

Dinner doesn’t always have to be a huge 3 or 4 course cooked or baked meal. A hearty salad or sandwich will satisfy your kids, hubby and guests, while keeping you cool at the same time.

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