What do you do when it is getting close to dinner time but you just don’t feel like cooking? Maybe it has been a week of very hot weather or you had a tough day at work. Canned foods, deli ingredients, frozen fully cooked meat, such as chicken breasts, turkey cutlets, cooked shrimp and fresh summer produce can all be used to make excellent no-cook meals.
Of course, there are always salads and adding a few new ingredients will make them exciting again. Going a step further in using summer’s fresh produce means making gazpacho or other chilled soups — very refreshing plus easy to make. Don’t forget about other raw foods as well. This is an ideal time to explore all the ways you can avoid heating up the kitchen.
Here are some ideas on what to fix on those days without heading to the nearest fast food restaurant.
Tuna-Nectarine Salad with Pita
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
- 12 oz canned tuna in water, drained
- 4 ripe, yet firm, nectarines or peaches, pitted and diced
- 1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- 2 whole pita breads, quartered
In a bowl whisk together Greek yogurt, buttermilk, mayonnaise and garlic powder until smooth. Stir in chives.
Add tuna and nectarines to the yogurt mixture; toss gently to combine. Spoon tuna mixture onto salad plates; sprinkle with pecans. Serve with pita bread.
Cucumber Soup With Prosciutto Sandwiches
- 2 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped cucumber (about 2 medium)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup chopped shallot
- 1/4 cup fresh chives or basil, plus extra for garnish
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 4 slices Italian country bread
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
In a food processor combine 1 1/2 cups of the cucumber, the buttermilk, yogurt, shallot, garlic, crushed red pepper and lemon-pepper seasoning. Cover and process until mixture is smooth.
Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the chives, balsamic vinegar and the remaining 1 cup cucumber.
Chill until serving time.
Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chives or basil.
Drizzle bread with olive oil and top with the prosciutto, dividing evenly. Serve sandwiches with the soup.
- 1/2 pound lump crab meat or chopped cooked shrimp, defrosted if frozen
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 4 radishes, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons celery leaves
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 4 hot dog buns, split
- Pickles and low salt sweet potato chips, for serving
In a medium bowl, combine the crab, mayonnaise, radishes, celery, celery leaves, apple, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Dividing evenly, fill the buns with the crab mixture. Serve with the pickles and chips.
Roast Beef Salad
Serve with bread sticks.
- 2 small heads Boston (tender) lettuce, torn into pieces
- 12 ounces deli roast beef, sliced into thin strips
- 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and black pepper
Divide the lettuce, roast beef, tomato, onion, and blue cheese among four salad bowls.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle over the salad. Serve.
Serve with with fresh seasonal fruit.
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/2 pound Provolone (or cheese of choice) cheese, sliced
- 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1/2 cup mixed Italian olives
- 1/2 small loaf Italian country bread
In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, roasted peppers, parsley, scallions, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Serve with the cheese, prosciutto, olives and bread.
Seasonal Fruit with Orange-Ricotta Cream
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup vanilla low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier), optional
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup quartered strawberries or whatever fruit is in season
- 2 whole strawberries
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Spoon cheese mixture into a small bowl; cover and chill for 3 hours.
Spoon 1/2 cup quartered strawberries or other fruit into each of 2 small dessert dishes and top each with 2 tablespoons cheese mixture.
Garnish each serving with a whole strawberry or other fruit.
July 17, 2015 at 7:43 am
Some lovely ideas. We’re cooking your lentil and fennel dish for 100 people on Sunday, it’s going to be 34oC but just warm should suit everyone.
July 17, 2015 at 10:46 am
Oh wow, that is so nice to know. I agree warm will be just as good.
July 17, 2015 at 10:52 am
It’s for a jazz association we run. When we’ve finished our third season (next summer) we’ll be doing a cook book of all the meals we’ve cooked for each concert and will of course give you credit.
July 17, 2015 at 8:46 am
Oh yum – most of these have me licking my piggy lips. I’m sure you can guess which ones I’ll bypass – snorts. XOXO – Bacon
July 17, 2015 at 10:44 am
Thank you Bacon – it is ok to skip a few.
For the Love of Cooking
July 17, 2015 at 9:55 am
All of them look like terrific – keep the kitchen cool – options.
July 17, 2015 at 10:43 am
Yes that is the idea – AC won’t run as much. Thanks Pam.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
July 17, 2015 at 10:48 am
All of the recipes are terrific — I love Italian canned tuna — tonno and your antipasto salad looks scrumptious — yummy! Right now blueberries are in season and I can see doing to them what you did to your strawberries. Thank you for sharing!!
July 17, 2015 at 10:54 am
Oh I agree – blueberries would be perfect with the ricotta. I also prefer Italian tuna especially for salads – it has much more taste. Thank you Marisa.
Amanda | What's Cooking
July 17, 2015 at 4:26 pm
This is how I love to eat in the summer. That cucumber soup is amazing. Crab is a given. And that doggie!! So cute!
July 17, 2015 at 6:33 pm
Thank you Amanda. All refreshing dinner choices.