Quick and Easy Summertime Recipes
Cool, Tasty and Satisfying
Keep Cool With Quick And Easy Summertime Recipes
There are five main dish salads on this page that will keep your house cool in the summer. This is your opportunity to serve your family food that not only helps them defeat the heat, but is also good for them, and they won’t even kick about it. Plus, with the help of a few ready-made ingredients, you can keep your cool too.
Hearty and Satisfying Salads
Often we think of a salad as something we eat alongside our main course. But salads needn’t be just a crunchy accompaniment, they can also be a hearty meal. The key to making them more satisfying, is to use protein in whatever form you prefer. These recipes on this page all contain meat, but if you’re vegan you will know how to substitute those protein sources you use.
Cool Tips: Keep a cool head…along with the rest of you.
A Few Tips To Make Summertime Easier.
One of the best things you can do in the summer heat, is to make it as easy on yourself as possible.
- Decide the recipe you plan to make before going to the market, and make a list of the ingredients needed.
- Buy a roasted chicken or sliced beef from the grocery Deli, or buy pre-cooked chicken strips in the bag.
- If you would rather cook the meat yourself, do it early in the day and refrigerate it. By dinner, the house will be cool.
- Buy as much as possible that is already done such as bagged salad greens.
- Some stores even carry hard-boiled eggs, take advantage of that.
- Shop for your selected extra ingredients such as beans, cheese, tomatoes, wine vinegar, etc.
- When making your salad your main dish, use meat, cheese, fish or your selected source of protein as the main ingredient.
Check out five of my favorite main dish salads below. Remember, the key is to keep that range and oven turned off, and yet still have enough satisfaction from your meal. Happy Summer!
Italian Tuna Salad
Healthful and Delicious
This Italian tuna salad does not contain mayonnaise, but a dressing made from wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, all of which are better for your body. Make it early in the day so all the ingredients have time to marinate well. Serve on cold lettuce leaves with crusty Italian bread, and it’s a delicious, satisfying meal.
Prep time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: 2-3 servings
- 1 large can albacore tuna, water packed, drained and flaked
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 purple onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- ¼ cup wine vinegar
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar, and minced garlic.
- Chop all vegetables and mix with flaked tuna.
- Pour olive oil and vinegar mixture over salad and mix lightly. Refrigerate and serve cold on lettuce leaves. Add salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve with crusty Italian bread.
Chinese Chicken Salad
Keep Cool Chinese Style
Here’s my recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad, made with chicken, cellophane noodles, fresh cilantro, lettuce and a soy-based dressing. I adapted this recipe from one I had eaten at a restaurant years ago, which is no longer in business. I longed for this salad so much, that I kept working at it at home until I felt I had it close enough to the flavor I’d enjoyed so long ago. This recipe is the result and I’m quite proud of it.
Prep time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: 4-5 Servings
- 2 cups chicken breast, shredded
- 1 package lettuce salad, ready made or fresh
- 5 green onions, sliced
- ½ bag cellophane noodles, fried according to package directions
- ½ cup poppy seed dressing
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- Combine soy sauce with poppy seed dressing.
- Combine all meat and vegetables.
- Serve on salad plate lined with fried cellophane noodles
- Drizzle with poppy seed/soy dressing.
Mexican Beef Salad
South of the Border Flavor
To keep the heat in your house down, get your sliced cooked beef from the grocery deli. Once you have that, the rest of the preparation is a breeze. Of course, Cumin provides the South of the Border flavor, but the twist here is the Italian dressing. The two flavors bond very well, and this Mexican Beef Salad has that distinctive flavor of Old Mexico.
Prep time: 10 min
Ready in: 10 min
- ½ cup Italian dressing
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 4-ounces (about 2/3 cup) lean beef, shredded, roasted
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans or black beans, rinsed and drained
- ¾ cup (3 ounces) Monterey Jack Cheese with peppers, shredded or cubed
- 1 (11-ounce) can Mexican-style corn, drained
- 1 ½ cups (about 4 medium) plum tomatoes, finely chopped
- 4 lettuce leaves
- Combine dressing and cumin in a large bowl, stirring well.
- Add beef and next 4 ingredients, tossing gently to combine.
- Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 8 hours, if desired.
- To serve, arrange lettuce on each of four individual serving plates.
- Spoon salad evenly over lettuce. Serve with warm tortillas.
Color and Nutrition Go Together
Science says one of the best things you can do for your body is to eat a wide variety of colorful vegetables. Every color seems to have an ingredient that is necessary to our health. When you eat a salad, with many different vegetables, you’re insuring your intake of healthful vitamins and minerals.
Fruity Chicken Salad Pitas
Remember, the object of this page is to keep you cool while providing you and your family with nutritious meals. Buy a roast chicken from the deli in your supermarket so you don’t have to cook. The part of the chicken you don’t use can be saved for another cool meal, an economical use of a prepared ingredient.
Prep time: 15 min
Ready in: 15 min
- ¹/3 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups chicken breast, chopped cooked
- 1 cup red grapes, halved seedless
- 2 Tablespoons pecans, toasted, chopped
- 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges
- 6 lettuce leaves, small green
- 3 (6-inch) whole wheat pita bread rounds, cut in half
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well.
- Gently stir in oranges.
- Place 1 lettuce leaf in each pita pocket half.
- Spoon ¾ cup chicken salad into each pita half.
Always Wash All Salad Ingredients
Always wash your salad ingredients before using, including bell peppers, avocados, onions, etc. Wash the greens that say they are pre-washed, because you can’t be too careful, when it comes to the health of your family. Once you’ve washed the greens they need to be dried, because otherwise the dressing doesn’t cling to the ingredients. The easiest way to wash greens and have them dry and ready to eat is with a salad spinner. If you’ve never used one of these, when you buy one, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it. It’s a lot easier and less time consuming than drying each leaf with a paper towel as I used to do!
For More Super summer dishes
Heating the house with cooking just makes no sense, when it’s so hot outside. Not only that, but your air conditioning will run endlessly and so will your power bills. Make things that don’t require a lot of cooking on a hot day. This book provides even more recipes for beating the heat in the summer.
Salad Serving Plates
Now that you’ve got these marvelous cool recipes for the summer, let’s make sure they’re served on plates or bowls that will do them justice. As you probably know by now, people also eat with their eyes, and food seems to taste better when it’s presented beautifully. Try special plates to set off your salad creations. Here’s a colorful set from Rachel Ray.
Serving Salad With Style and Convenience
Salad tongs make serving salads easier and cleaner than trying to scoop lettuce up with a spoon. Try one and you’ll love the convenience they provide, as they make dishing up salad so much easier. I like the wooden ones because they don’t bruise the salad ingredients like the metal tongs do.
Now keep cool and enjoy your summer!
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