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Need ideas for summer cooking that don't involve oven or grill

Please help! Need ideas for summer cooking for 1 hungry man and 1 slightly less hungry gal - we don't have a grill yet and we can't turn on the oven in the apt. because it makes it SO hot. I find even the stove annoying but will give in and use that...

We can't afford to go out/bring in every night so wondering if anyone can suggest delicious, filling and simple recipes I can make with minimal heat. We are unfortunately not into cold soups btw and though I eat salad like it's going out of style, he is not much of a fan (though sometimes is ok). We don't eat much red meat and not too much rice/pasta either.

Doesn't have to be a "formal" dinner. The other night we had sandwiches I made with sauted chicken and avocado - was actually quite good.

I know this leaves limited options, but I am not the world's greatest cook so I'm hoping fellow Chowhounder's can help!!


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  1. Wow! Once you eliminate oven, grill, cold soups, salads, red meat, rice and pasta that doesn't leave alot, does it???

    How about chicken or shrimp salad in avocado halves? For about $50 you could get a panini grill. We use ours constantly. There are SO many combos that would work with that. I poach chicken alot for use in things. Got a saute pan? Loads of things can be cooked in that, i.e., chicken, pork, fish, vegetables. Guess you're not so limited after all. I'm sure others far more adept than I can help with more suggestions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      No, not so limited. You're right. I'm just not all that inventive with cooking!!! The panini grill sounds interesting...

        1. re: lovessushi

          The MW is the best for steaming artichokes and other veggies: just a little water and a few minutes. Fish are perfect: drizzle some toasted sesame oil and soy sauce on some salmon fillets, minute and a half, perfect. Potatoes: wash and nuke for about 8 minutes gies you a fine potato to eat as is or to makea mash. I cook dried pasta and sauces on the weekends, and combine and heat in the MW - perfect. Even put together fish soups and MW...perfectly done and not over done.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            We had the potato MW talk before. I agree, I love to start or just make mine in the MW. Perfect everytime. Even just a light cook for chopped onion or peppers work fine too. And artichokes, I do mine all the time in there.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              Corn on the cob in the microwave cooks super fast.

              1. re: Bryn

                and, in addition to being delicious, the corn does not dry out. the microwave seems to intensify the sweetness, too (or maybe it's just my imagination).

                1. re: Bryn

                  I wrap in saran sometimes, other times not. Easy and quick, 1 minute, tender and perfect. I do it often when I am eating something where I am not using the oven or the grill. Not as good as the grill with a few char marks and the flavor, but not bad at all. I did a party where the grill broke so I had to improvise. I did 30 ears of corn in the micro and they were all perfect.

              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Sam, I have never cooked an artichoke in the MW. Always a large, stuffed, Italian-style steamed affair in a pot on the stove for FORTY FIVE minutes. Exactly what size artichokes are you cooking for only a few minutes? I need to know -- because I would eat them much more often if they cooked faster.

                1. re: RGC1982

                  The ones we get here all about five inches diameter, They still take about 30 - 35 minutes steaming. Dana Zsofia and I eat a lot more artichokes since I learned to use the MW for them.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    As a child, my husband didn't like the hearts! His parents loved that. He'd eat the leaves and leave the hearts for them. Not so anymore :)

          2. You can do a lot in an electric fry pan.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sharuf

              I haven't had one of those in some years but you're so correct. They're incredibly versatile.

              How about omelettes? I love them for dinner and the sky's the limit as far as fillings.

            2. i'm into my cold veggie salads, less lettuce, more veggie. light dressings, either vinaigrette or buttermilk-based, with fresh herbs. flavorful, filling.

              bean salads, soycutash salad http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6336... , tortellini salad.

              2 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                I make these constantly -- cucumber-based. One is soy sauce / sesame oil / chili oil / rice wine vinegar, and other I just made up was white wine vinegar / fresh dill / a bit of sweetner. Keeps for days. Very cheap.

                I also make this a lot -- Chickpea Salad with Provençal Herbs and Olives. I vary the herbs, sometimes omit the olives, and just wing it now. Quite easy.

                1. re: Reignking

                  Thinking of salads. I agree, love call summer salads. Sesame noodles, a light dressing, sugar peas, red peppers, some shrimp, water chestnuts (pretty traditional but served cold it really nice.

                  I also love chick peas pan sauted with garlic, onion, chicken, olives and served over fresh tomato slices with fresh spinach and a simple lemon vinaigrette. A combo salad with a warm bean salad.

              2. Crockpot...used mine yesterday (it's 90+ here in SW Florida)...made Indonesian Chicken thighs which turned out very good!!! Soy sauce, peanut butter, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, honey, splash of rice vinegar and lots of dried hot chili flakes. Remove skin from chicken thighs and trim all visible fat...season with black pepper, brown off quickly in frying pan. Combine everything in slow cooker and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Served it over brown rice and had steamed broccoli on the side. There is also a very good Thai Chicken Thighs recipe from janniecooks on this board and I see that a thread "Chicken Thighs in Crockpot" has been bumped so it's great timing. Crockpots are fabulous for summer cooking!

                7 Replies
                1. re: Val

                  great idea! many oven recipes can be adapted for the crock pot.
                  I also have a small round stovetop grill (fits over/around the burner). That might be a good alternative until you get an outdoor grill. It's good for boneless cuts of meat, fish.
                  Or one of the electric grills - like the george foreman - i think some even have several different internal plates, so you could use it as the aforementioned panini press. :)

                  1. re: Val

                    I make spicy honey ginger wings with sesame seeds over sesame noodles. I do this in the pot too. Also a good dish. Actually I do green beans in a parchment pouch right on top of the wings the last few hours in the crock and make the noodles ahead a night. Cold with some soy and sesame oil. Val is right, many good dishes made in the crock. Not my favorite, but for a easy dish, there are some dishes they can be very good. After using my grill pan one night, I did s/p and then grilled until each side was lightly brown. The next morning cut the pork tenderloin into 2" thick pieces and added to a light asian sauce, some onions, carrots and then served over sauted bok choy and some rice. The sauce makes a great flavor over the brown rice. Sauteed cucumbers make a great side dish as well.

                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      sauteed cucumber? is that good? hmmmm intrigued

                      1. re: kubasd

                        i've done it, and it is good. but with the price of cukes, i don't know if it's a good value. now if you have a bumper crop in the garden, try it!

                        (i prefer the fresh cukes seeded, sliced into 1/2" half-moons, then dressed lightly with a little toasted sesame oil and rice wine vinegar).

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Yes sesame oil and rice wine is also very good after being sauteed. There are many recipes for it.

                          1. re: kchurchill5

                            i don't sauté the cukes for the sesame oil cuke salad. i like them raw (but they need to be fresh, sweet and crisp, for my taste).

                        2. re: kubasd

                          Very good. I just saute in butter, then remove and add s/p, some fresh tarragon, and remove from heat and add a little sour cream.

                          You can also just saute with butter, s/p and then top with fresh dill

                          Also you can dredge in a little flour, s/p and then saute in butter and sprinkle with rosemary, tarragon or parsley, also good.

                          There are many different recipes for a simple stir fry and they are all good. I have made most of them. Sometimes adding some scallions to the cucumbers is very good as well.

                          NOTE: I like to cut the cucumbers in half moons and about 1/2" thick, Full slices work is breading, but the half moons works best for me when NOT breading.

                          Great summer side dish

                    2. I had a great summer salad for dinner the other day that involved almost no cooking - halved green beans and sweet corn (boiled 3 minutes), diced beefsteak tomato and shallot with a dressing of: white wine vinegar, olive oil, mayo, water, salt, pepper, fresh tarragon and fresh chives. it really hit the spot!

                      1. Well I love my grill pan. Yes it is the stove but it is quick and doesn't heat up the house much.
                        Also a small grill like the George Foreman grill. Not promoting that one, I don't have one, but something similar to that. Little heat and quick cooking.

                        On a grill pan or counter grill you could make great scallops and shrimp marinated in a light citrus marinade.
                        Garlic; ginger; soy; oil and lemon, or lime juice, a little red pepper flakes for some heat
                        Marinade for a couple of hours and grill. This is also great with fresh fish as well.

                        Couscous is great and can become a whole meal. Add some chick peas, roasted red peppers, scallions, grilled shrimp, olive and you have a complete dinner. It is also a great side dish. Boil the water in the micro or tea pot add to a large bowl with the couscous. A simple quick side. I know you said little rice or pasta but it is very good.

                        Chicken skewers marinated in a chili powder, garlic, paprika, cayenne, onion powder, lime and olive oil makes a great spicy marinade. Grill on the grill pan. Serve with spicy black beans. Use canned black beans rinsed and drained. In a large bowl add a small onion, 2 teaspoons garlic minced, 1 teaspoon cumin, a jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed and chopped. This can be down in the micro, but sauteed stove top is even better.

                        Chicken tacos, buy a rotisserie chicken, cut it up. Mix with a chipolte pepper and add a little of the sauce and heat up in the micro. Now on the grill pan I would grill some onions and peppers, but if really against that, you can cook them in the micro. Just slice and put in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. 2 minutes and they will be nice and soft. Chop some lettuce, tomato, good shredded cheese, and you can make some fresh quacamole and sour cream. Make a corn and black bean salad with a fresh vinaigrette which goes great with the tacos.

                        Crock pot, little or not heat in the house. Make a pork tenderloin, stuff it with some bread crumbs, mushrooms, onions and celery, add some swiss cheese, tie up and put in the crock pot. 8 hours later dinner. Steam some fresh asparagus or green beans, a nice salad and dinner.

                        Tons of soups and chilis too in the crock. I love white bean turkey chili, I lighter approach, with lots of spice, and peppers. I just made a creamy potato soup which I love, Barley soup is great, Fresh zuchinni and spinach soup is wonderful.

                        Stir frys are quick too, Minimal heat from the stove because the cooking is soo quick. If you don't like rice, the chow mein noodles is a nice easy substitution. Some fresh chicken, peppers, onions, water chestnuts, carrots spicy asian sauce over the noodles.

                        I know you said no pasta, but ... angle hair pasta, fresh spinach, grilled shrimp in a light cream sauce. Very simple and easy and quick.

                        Portabello, onion, swiss, tomato and lettuce burgers done on a counter grill or grill pan, potato planks also on a grill pan sprinkled with cumin and chili powder and grilled till crispy.

                        Grilled pork tenderloin slices in my spicy soy and brown sugar glaze done on the grill pan or counter grill, micro waved mashed potatoes 5-8 minutes and decadent, creamed mint peas, also micro or you can do corn on the cob.

                        Swiss steak in the crock pot. Tomato sauce, fresh onions and peppers, slow cooked for 8 hours, tender and served with mashed potatoes in the micro with sour cream and fresh asparagus. I know you said not much meat, but I thought I would throw one in.

                        Sandwiches are key, turkey reubens, lots of grilled veggies, to me lots of soups to go with it.

                        If you want any full recipes let me know. Glad to help

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: kchurchill5

                          Wow - this is really comprehensive!!! Thanks for helping!!

                          I need to get a grill pan... this would help significantly....

                          I have to find the crock pot...

                          1. re: lovessushi

                            I love a grill pan it is quick and easy. One thing with a panini pan, I do love them and have used them, but have found a simple heavy cast iron or any pan on top with a heavy can of soup of just a brick wrapped in foil work equally as good as an expensive panini. I was going to buy one and just started using a brick covered in foil and it works amazing, but it you feel more comfortable with the panini, by all means.

                            Also I make the brick chicken ... I have the butcher, just local grocery store split the chicken in half. Then I season good with cayenne, paprika, cumin, brown sugar, s/p and chili powder. Just rub the seasoning on and let set all day. They grill on the grill pan, Lay a brick on top and cook 15 minutes, flip and cook again. Depending on the thickness it should be nice brown, golden and moist. Serve with some micro potatoes with cheddar cheese and some fresh asparagus, also on the grill pan at the same time, even make potato planks on the grill pan too. Less heat, quick cooking without heating up a lot and still hearty food.

                            1. re: kchurchill5

                              I love my grill pan, too, but I do find that I often use it in tandem with the oven, searing my meat and then throwing it into a high overn to finish.

                              1. re: katecm

                                I love my grill pan!!!! I honestly dont know what Id do without it! No grill at my house, and I also refuse to use the oven when its hot out. But my cast iron grill pan gets me through- I cook everything on it!

                                1. re: katecm

                                  Very true katecm, I do the same. But you can finish on the pan if necessary. I found I use it more and more. Kabobs, seafood, thin chicken breasts or thighs all works well as skirt steak. Thicker items I love to grill to get a head start, especially those too big for my cast iron pans.

                                  I have a smoker, a small charcoal and larger gas. Apt living, but my cast iron and grill pan are my summer companions. But I do a lot of outdoor grilling too. I have a smaller cast iron grill pan I use on the grill all the time for small items , shrimp and scallops unless skewered are hard to be on the grill.

                                2. re: kchurchill5

                                  I agree. A grill pan is a good choice. I use mine for fish fillets which I then make into sandwiches. I also use it for "bacon" and burgers. I also agree about the MW. It makes excellent cooked veggies. I cook my veggies in glass pie plates loosely covered with micro plastic wrap. You don't need much liquid--a T. or so will do. If you don't like plastic wrap, then cover with waxed paper. Don't cover too tight, because steam has to escape.

                            2. Like you, I hate heating up the kitchen. Little things that help cool it down: When finished with a stovetop burner, place a covered pot of cold water onto it. This will absorb the heat. Once the burner is no longer hot, pour the water into your dishpan for washing up, or down the drain. If you do use the oven, the same principle applies.

                              I don't have a panini grill, but I do have a cheap waffle-maker and use that for grilling sandwiches and sliced vegetables like eggplant and zucchini. Waffles themselves can be made with savory ingredients, or plain, and served with meat/poultry/seafood in sauce.

                              According to the Frugal Gourmet, the Chinese developed stir-fry cooking (small, quick-cooking pieces all prepped beforehand) and the wok because many areas did not have a lot of wood or other readily-available fuel. So they needed concentrated heat and brief cooking times. This works for minimizing kitchen heating as well, and you can use a large frying pan instead - indeed, restaurants have special stoves for maximizing wok efficiency. A lot of heat is wasted when using a wok on an ordinary stove because only a small area on the bottom of the wok is in direct contact with the burner.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: greygarious

                                with cooled water, water patio plants.

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  >>I don't have a panini grill, but I do have a cheap waffle-maker and use that for grilling sandwiches and sliced vegetables like eggplant and zucchini. Waffles themselves can be made with savory ingredients, or plain, and served with meat/poultry/seafood in sauce.

                                  I like these ideas a lot, greygarious. Maybe lovessushi could grill a bunch of thinly sliced summer squash at a time, toss with olive oil and eat throughout the week with sliced baguette as a tapas-like dish.

                                  1. re: cimui

                                    cimui, you've seen the thread by scuzzo, "eggplant on a wafflemaker"?

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      I hadn't, but I will look it up. It sounds intriguing!

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        Not sure by why not, just a cheaper panini press.

                                        I can't see spending money on panini pans. I use a heavy pan or brick on my grill and it works great. Never had a bad sandwich. I have 2 bricks wrapped in foil under my sink in a large baggie. I use them all the time for split whole chickens boned and pressed or any sandwiches.

                                        But the waffel iron seems interesting.

                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          I use my panini grill at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also brush bread with garlic infused olive oil, grill and cut up into strips to serve with dinner or cubes for croutons. I don't eat waffles so that would be a waste for me. I rarely ever put it away any more and I HATE clutter on my counters.

                                        2. re: alkapal

                                          here's the eggplant/wafflebaker thread --with so many great ideas!

                                      2. re: greygarious

                                        What a great tip about the pot of water!!! I never knew that..and watering the plants with it as someone said below!!

                                      3. Does your grocery store carry thin-cut chicken breasts? Those make a perfect chicken cutlet. You can pound out breasts super-thin if you need to, but I like the thin-cut because they tend to be so even. Season with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, dredge in egg, then throw into some bread crumbs and panko. Cook quickly on a non-stick pan. It's so simple, and makes a wonderful base for almost any sauce drizzed on top. I love to just make a big tossed salad and serve a huge pile on the side of the chicken with a wedge of lemon. The meat-eating husband really enjoys this. Mix up some couscous with onions and currants, put the breasts on top, and drizzle with harissa. Slice some tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, place the breasts on top, and drizzle with pesto. How about black bean and corn salad with the cutlets and tomatillo salsa?

                                        Honestly, it's a real summer staple for us because it's so versatile. I can't stand skinless boneless chicken breasts, but this is really light and fresh.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: katecm

                                          These ideas sound very good and bf will like how hearty it is -

                                          What's harissa?

                                          1. re: lovessushi

                                            harissa -- north african pepper, garlic, spice condiment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harissa

                                        2. This week we've made salt cured salmon, eaten with roasted potatoes (nuke or boil if you prefer) and quick cucumber pickles. Salmon recipe, here: http://www.recipezaar.com/Freshly-Sal...

                                          Ceviche is another possibility.

                                          Since you love sushi (and I feel sort of terrible about dissuading you from eating UWS sushi)... have you tried making maki or chirashi at home? I wouldn't use fish unless it's cured or cooked in some way, but cucumber, carrots, eggs, avocado and even imitation crab would all be fair game. A rice cooker would be great (not much heat), but not essential. Sushi rice recipe, here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                                          Other quick and easy ideas: hummus or another bean dip with pita chips or sliced baguette, bruschetta, Spanish tortillas (similar to omelettes, but a bit heartier).

                                          As a general idea, you could poach a few chicken breasts or pounds of shrimp, etc... at a time and use it throughout the week. That way you only have to heat up your kitchen once.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: cimui

                                            :-) No, no, don't feel bad! :-) I've never tried making it at home! That would be fun...and be less expensive than eating out! I assume you live in the city but we have a sushi restaurant here in Bergen county which is incredible. The problem is it is too expensive to eat at very often (at least on our budget!).

                                            Silly question...how do you poach a chicken breast? And then you would use it like roasted chicken? Sorry...novice here...

                                            1. re: lovessushi

                                              Not a silly question at all, but luckily very easy. Just bring water to boil in a pot large enough to hold the chicken. Add salt if you like. Drop in the chicken (split breasts cook more quickly, but any cut will do), bring back to a simmer and cook until the inside is no longer pink (about 10 minutes). Once the chicken is cool, slice and toss with dressing or other sauces of your choice for salads, sandwiches, burritos, etc...

                                              1. re: cimui

                                                Oh, I meant to mention: if you poach a lot of chicken, especially if you do it in batches, in the same water, you end up with a lovely chicken broth, which you can serve as a first course. Some people season the water with herbs and spices when they poach, which adds some dimension to the resulting broth.

                                                1. re: cimui

                                                  Thank you! This sounds very easy and versatile

                                            2. re: cimui

                                              Ceviche fits your needs -- let the lime juice do the cooking. No heat, very healthy. Also, you can use squid and other inexpensive seafoods.

                                              1. re: sbp

                                                try a little ceviche variation that i think is delicious: a little minced fresh ginger!

                                            3. Like cimui, I eat a lot of raw (or cured, I suppose) seafood in the summertime. Shrimp and squid cook very quickly, so I might also do quick sears like gambas al ajillo or squid with chorizos, pepper and vinegar or spicy soup like tom yum with a cooling cucumber salad on the side. Laab is also a spicy option that cooks quickly and keeps your head cool in the heat.

                                              Eggplant is also a very filling idea. Usually I grill over a gas range, peel and then turn it into baba ghannouj, salad or tortilla.

                                              I heard cooking chicken tandoori-style at your oven's top temperature was quick (under 30 minutes), but my chickens last night did not cook nearly as quickly as I was led to believe and I ended up super heating my oven (and kitchen) in vain.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                ceviche is my favorite summer dish. I'll make a big batch of it and eat it every day. Cool, refreshing, healthy, and i put a bunch of veggies in mine. I usually use orange roughy, a combo of lime and lemon juice, diced tomatoes, diced cucumber (for crunch), minced jalapenos (or serranos if you want a bit more heat), torn cilantro, s&p.

                                                If you wanna feel fancy serve it in a martini glass and garnish with a couple platanitos (i prefer the chili lime ones).

                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                  Laab is a great idea and I think has a cooling effect when you eat it. Here's a recipe:

                                                  [You'll need to make or buy toasted rice for this: http://www.thaitable.com/Thai/Ingredi...


                                                  Maybe also Vietnamese summer rolls or popiah? (One potential use for poached shrimp or chicken, lovessushi...; you can even run hot water from your tap to use when softening the rice wrapper, instead of boiling water.) Lettuce wraps are a similar, low-heat idea.

                                                  Finally... If you have a public park near you with picnic areas, check and see whether they have a grill for public use. If they do, you might consider using that to grill a big batch of chicken or another meat, taking it home, and then slicing and dressing it for later use.

                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                    Am traveling DC - Colombia today. Will re-post my laab recipe tomorrow.

                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      Please allow me, Sam. Is this the one you're talking about?


                                                      1. re: cimui

                                                        Thank you! That is the version where I forgot to add tripe - fine dice and simmer for as long as you're prepping everything else. Add in at the last. People don't know its tripe if they don't like tripe.

                                                2. A more substantial twist on the cold salad idea -- Antipasto! Layer your lettuce leaves with roasted peppers, dry salame, cooked chicken, olives, capers, anchovies or tuna in oil -- sneak in some quartered tomatoes and even artichoke hearts or marinated mushrooms. Don't forget a few shards of sharp cheese. yum.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: katcraig

                                                    Wow - I don't even know where to begin! Thank you all so much for all the ideas. And btw - pasta, red meat, etc. are not completely off the table we just eat them in very limited amounts. But really, thank you so much. I didn't realize how much feedback there would be. I need to read through all this carefully and start jotting down ideas...

                                                    1. re: lovessushi

                                                      Quick one, skirt steak, the quickest cooking 10 minutes grill pan, inexpensive, very, hearty, healthy, a quick s/p and even a marinade it you want, cut against the grain and it is very tender. Serve with your favorites sides. Steak dinner for nearly nothing. Left overs are great with tacos, quesadillas or on a salad.

                                                      If interested glad to post the recipe. But a salad of warm penne and beef, arugula, and a spicy soy vinaigrette. Hearty salad with a twist. Serve with a nice tomato soup cooked all day in the crock pot. No heat and easy to make.

                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                        On the salad route what about a taco salad made with either ground turkey, fake meat crumbles or even extra firm tofu you mash in your hands. Saute some diced onions in chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, add the "meat" and a little salsa for wetness. Assemble the salad with lettuces, grate cheddar or jack cheese, chopped green onions, chopped red bell pepper, tortilla chips and other veggies (we usually do diced cucumber, shredded carrots and sliced olives). We toss ours in a homemade lime vinaigrette but you could just use a bottled ranch dressing. Oh and sour cream as a topper. If you make enough of the meat you can have burritos or quesadillas for future meals.

                                                    1. re: serious

                                                      nice looking recipe, serious. i'm intrigued by the use of ketchup!

                                                    2. Forgot to add one. Paninis which I am sure you have made. I have a few favorites that are so simple. Pair these with your favorite soup. Tomato, Potato, Vegetable, chili, bean barley, I have hundred of recipes. Chick peas, bacon, spinach and onion is a great lighter bean recipe which has amazing flavor and simple to make. And if you don't want to make your own beans, please ... you can use canned. Not as good, but will same time and heat if your apt.

                                                      I love to use a good chibatta, but any good Italian bread or your favorite will work fine.

                                                      Salmon, a soft cheese and herb spread, smoked salmon, arugula
                                                      Turkey (sliced from the deli, a nice roasted brand), fontina or a good melting Italian nutty
                                                      cheese, even gruyere will work, cranberry, not jelly the sauce and walnuts
                                                      Pork (sliced from the deli, a nice roasted pork brand) some apple slices, gruyere
                                                      cheese, dried apricots and spinach
                                                      Shrimp diced and grilled with some spicy chili powder and cumin, manchego cheese,
                                                      avacado, sliced onions and a spicy chipolte mayo for the sauce
                                                      Roast beef, brie, roasted pears and onions with a horseradish sauce
                                                      All grilled veggie and cheese
                                                      Sundried tomatoes, olives, spinach, and olive tapenade, fresh feta and a little parm and
                                                      a tomato basil oil as a sauce
                                                      Avacado, mango, pecans, brie, mint and chive cream cheese on a sweet briosche

                                                      Ok, just a few, but you can really have fun with what is in the fridge. Don't be afraid to try. For a pressed sandwich, choose a nice bread and then just use a brick. I got 2 at Home depot for 2 bucks. Used the same two for the last 5-6 years, probably more.

                                                      One note: I put double aluminum around the brick and spray with pam each time so no sticking, I wipe clean with a soapy sponge and dry. Don't need to change the foil very often if cared for. Cheap, easy and great sandwiches.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                        Oh my gosh these sound so delicious!!! Thank you for all the ideas!!

                                                      2. As someone mentioned above, ceviche is a great idea. You can make it with just about any seafood or fish.

                                                        Sandwiches are also great obviously. Get some nice bread or buns from a bakery or even some tortillas or other wraps. Cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, etc.

                                                        You can even use some ceviche and make po boys.


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                          A simple 5 minute sear of shrimp on a grill pan makes a great shrimp lobster roll. I just took some to a friends house. A quick mainade for a couple of hours and quick cook and throw together with some mayo and seasoning and what a sammy. A nice Italian roll which makes a great dinner.

                                                          Make a quick warm potato salad. Cook the red potatoes cut in quarters in the micro. Add chopped onion, celery, herbs and a nice simple lemon vinaigrette. Warm simple potato salad which takes minutes in the micro. Goes great with shrimp rolls.

                                                        2. I'm not sure if you'd be interested in these, but I just read an article in New York Magazine called "Your Oven's On Vacation". Maybe it has something that you'd like: http://nymag.com/restaurants/features... .

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: LNG212

                                                            that's some nice looking food porn, there. i have such a ridiculous fixation with reading (if not actually making) recipes, like elettaria's crab salad, which use ingredients like fennel pollen!

                                                            1. re: cimui

                                                              Oh me too. I read through that whole article and the recipes too. But if I make even one or two of those, that would be a lot. I love browsing Food & Wine and other mags for the pix even if I don't make them.

                                                            2. Now that you have some confidence in summer cooking possibilities and suggested equipment, just Google "summer recipes." They won't all work for your particular needs, but some will, and it's relaxing reading. When I Googled "summer recipes" with out the quotation marks, they showed 38,000,000 results. With the quotation marks they showed 640,000 results. If 1% work for you ...

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: yayadave

                                                                Oh my...that's a lot for a novice cook ;-) I definitely love reading them though - something about reading a cookbook or recipes is really relaxing! Thank you again - this is a phenomenal thread..I think I might print it for all it's ideas! :-)

                                                              2. In the hottest part of the summer, I will get up early one morning on the weekend and cook 2 lbs of pasta, cool it, and dress it with some olive oil, then store it in the fridge in tupperware.
                                                                Then on really hot evenings I can pull some out (usually 1/2 lb for me and husband), steam some veggies, toss in a can of chickpeas, add pesto or sundried tomatoes, some cheeses or prosciutto if I have it. Whatever I want. Toss together and serve. No cooking required.

                                                                Also, being from the south, we used to eat at least one "veggie dinner" per week. Typical dinner included: a salad of black eyed peas, corn, green peppers, red onion, dressed with vinegar and sugar. Sliced homegrown tomatoes with salt and pepper, sliced cucumbers from the garden with salt and pepper, white bread with butter, peaches and icecream for dessert. My mom mixed it up and would sometimes do a mexican seasoned pinto bean salad, or a green bean salad, or use blackberries or strawberries with icecream. But the bean salad, tomatoes, and cukes were the staples, and this was really the ONLY night per week that a dessert was served at the table. I still eat this about once a week in the summers.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: hollyd

                                                                  Hollyd, if you never read this post about cooking pasta with less heat, check it out:

                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                    well holy crap grey! thanks for THAT!!

                                                                  2. re: hollyd

                                                                    holly, you wrote ""Typical dinner included: a salad of black eyed peas, corn, green peppers, red onion, dressed with vinegar and sugar. Sliced homegrown tomatoes with salt and pepper, sliced cucumbers from the garden with salt and pepper, white bread with butter, peaches and icecream for dessert"....

                                                                    that is a quintessential summer dinner in the south, isn't it? and everything is so fresh and juicy, and the cukes are ultra-crunchy and sweet as candy. i'd love to have that now. ;-).
                                                                    just beautiful!

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      Yes! I love this dinner. My husband and I have it about once a week in the hot months.
                                                                      Sometimes, if it's a gym night or he wants a little something more substantial, I'll make Paula Deen's corn casserole. Goes great with black-eyed peas!

                                                                      It's funny that the rest of the country thinks we eat bacon and fried chicken every night, right? When in fact we've had this whole organic, grow your own, we don't need so much stinkin' meat-thing down since, well at least since I was a little girl!!

                                                                  3. Jacques Pepin is a wonderful chef and teacher. He did a series of TV shows called "Fast Food My Way." The series has become a cottage industry with DVD's you can buy, cookbooks, and videos you can find on-line. Here's just a sample of what's available.


                                                                    The books with Claudine are with his daughter.

                                                                    1. 1) You can cook a frozen turkey breast in a crock pot. Put it in before you go to bed, at about 10 or 11 PM, and turn it on LOW. Leave it in all night and all the next day. By about 5 PM it will be perfect. 2) Tuna salad; kidney bean salad using canned beans; tabbouleh; coleslaw, no heat needed at all. Back in the days before air-conditioning the trick was to do any necessary cooking very early in the day (eg potatoes for potato salad, boiled eggs to devil etc) then refrigerate. 3) A quick (doesn't keep stove on for long) stir-fry can be made using a package of shredded cabbage that's sold for making coleslaw. Add a cut-up pork chop or some shrimp and anything else that sounds good. Season with a little soy sauce, sherry, and sugar (sounds odd but works).

                                                                      1. Ok, this does involve the oven, but not much time and it is so worth it. This is Paula Deens Tomato pie which is good. I did add some extra garlic and I used parm instead of cheddar, but mostly the same. My friend likes this recipe the best out of the two I make. A prebaked pie crust and only 30 minutes at 350, so it isn't too bad to bake.


                                                                        That with a greens salad, or even some simple baked fish at the same time. Light and very summer like.

                                                                        Now the second one which is a combo of a couple of recipes, but uses a simple bisquick crust, ricotta, fresh tomatoes, basil all summer flavors.

                                                                        First make the crust with 1 1/2 cups Bisquick and add 1/3 cup hot water. Mix and knead of a floured surface and I like to cook mine on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or foil. I make a rustic square shape.

                                                                        Then slice the tomatoes, not too thick in half moons and sprinkle with a little salt and let set. (I use 2 medium tomatoes

                                                                        Then brush a mix of olive oil, oregano and garlic powder on your crust for some flavor.

                                                                        Mix the ricotta (1 cup) NO low fat, I like to add some fresh chopped garlic as well, optional. I add 1 teaspoon of it. And then parm about 1/4 cup.

                                                                        Now top with pizza crust with the ricotta and then sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded mozarella (I prefer shredded rather than fresh for this), 1 medium shallot thin sliced. Then top with the tomatoes. I like to make a pretty pattern with the tomato slices. Top with some pepper, fresh chopped basil and a bit more oregano. Drizzle with evoo and bake at 400 for 15-20 min in the middle rack. It is great summer dish.

                                                                        I think this was in my Summer favorite book which I no longer have.

                                                                        1. Lots of great ideas here. Here's one that I didn't see mentioned (forgive me if I missed it): seared tuna or salmon requires very little time on high heat. Pair w/quick sauteed spinach or green beans (or microwave-steamed) or a cool salad of vinegar and oil- splashed cucumber/avocado/tomato and some bread and you have a quick and elegant meal.

                                                                          BTW, I also use foil-wrapped bricks for chicken on the outside grill, but for "panini" (and kchurchill's right--possibilities are endless), which DH loves any time of year as long as cheese is a component, I make them just as my mother always made plain ole grilled cheese sandwiches--butter or olive oil in the bottom of a hot pan and leaning on the sandwich with a spatula 'til they're squashed thin. For these you don't need a special pan, there's not too much stove time, and you end up with a filling "meal."

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                            Aluminum foil wrapped bricks are the best investment aren't they. Don't laugh but I had some left over craft cement to make my stained glass stepping stones. I filled the leftover cement in a 13x9 aluminum pan and it works great every time. It finally cracked after I dropped it during a rain storm. $5 dollars worth of cement and a used pan I washed out.. Same result

                                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                              When I think of how many $$$ I've spent on "necessary" gadgets when the most useful are right under my nose.

                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                I have very few gadgets too. And yep amazing when I look at why my grandma cooked with and how good her food really was.

                                                                          2. Summer heat cooking makes me think of pasta with a raw tomato sauce. There are tons of receipes out there but I just throw together chopped tomatoes, cubed mozzerella, chiffonade of basile, some garlic and olive oil. Let sit while you cook the pasta and then mix and serve.

                                                                            How about grain salads like quiona, bulger and or wheat berries. You could serve with bought rotisserie chicken.

                                                                            Also I've cooked broiled or roast chicken and or meatloaves in the am when it's cooler and then served cold. I think cold meatloaf is better than hot. There are many things you can cook quickly in the am and eat cold in the heat of the day.

                                                                            I think sesame noodles are great to make in the heat of the summer and will last for a few days. You can supliment with some take out and or use for lunches.

                                                                            There are also plenty of Salads that feel like a meal since there's a main protein like Salad Nicoise.

                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                                                                              Summer is the time to bake your meatballs in mini-loaf pans, muffin tins, or as meatballs, for less oven time. Or, form it into patties and pan-saute over medium-low heat, (about 10 minutes on each side). Likewise, roast your chicken butterflied or as parts. I am not an early bird so I often cook late at night - if it's too late for dishes to cool down enough for the fridge, I set an alarm to get up in a couple of hours. Night-time cooking has the advantage of giving the kitchen heat time to dissipate so the room is cooler by morning.

                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                My turkey meatballs I make and lightly saute on my grill pan and then transfer to the crock pot with some good quality crushed tomatoes, some fresh herbs, a little red wine, garlic, fresh basil, some diced shallot. It isn't glassic but sometimes for summer I like to add some fresh veggies like mushrooms and peppers to the sauce, just breaks up the heavy sauce. Sometimes I don't use crushed either sometimes a mix of crushed and whole cut up a big for some texture. It depends on the type of sauce you are looking for. I let is cook on low for 5-6 hours while working and the meatballs are nice and done. Add some fresh pasta and serve. It doesn't have to be traditional sauce. Sometimes the veggies add a little lightness during summer time.

                                                                                I use the same technique for a more asian style of meatball and cook in just a simple broth and soy sauce and then serve as a side with some sesame noodles which are easy.

                                                                                Either way the crock is a great cooking device for some simple dinner.

                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                  Either way the crock is a great cooking device for some simple dinner.

                                                                                  Right on, KC... Saves energy AND keeps your kitchen cool...am making some cooked chicken right now in my old Rival for a work luncheon tomorrow for bbq chicken in crockpot that everyone at work just loved a few weeks ago....when it's 91 degrees, my oven is NOT the appliance to be using to fight with our a/c!!!!

                                                                                  1. re: Val

                                                                                    Val, my ol' Rival is still going strong, upgraded from my wedding present in 85 and probably 8 or 9 years later got a bigger one. Still going strong. I just gave the smaller one to Mom and Dad and Dad still uses it. LOW, MED, HIGH, nothing fancy but works great.

                                                                                    It isn't gourmet or braised perfectly, but it makes a pretty good dinner. My favorite is some lightly pan seared breasts and thighs and then stuck in the pot the night before, put in fridge. Then in the morning I add some chopped carrots, onion, green pepper I also chopped and put in a baggie and then added soy, honey, a little broth, lots of garlic ginger, some oj and cook. It isn't fancy, but it is definitely good. You can even do the rice in the micro to serve and a fresh salad and a great dinner with little work..

                                                                                    Nothing wrong with that V, lentil soup this week in the pot as I work, I'll sear the beef night before after I cook something else for just a minutes. In the am, add everything else and let it go. 10 hours later dinner waiting and lunch for later this week. Use can also use chicken in lentil soup, I have for a friend who doesn't eat beef and it was fine.

                                                                                    My gramps if he were still with us would probably choose my chicken over rack of lamb with roasted asparagus and a fancy potato dish which he probably couldn't pronounce, lol. God love him.

                                                                                    But yep, good fixins for hot day or even cold nights.

                                                                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                      This is an incredible thread...I can't even keep up.

                                                                                      We got a gril!!!!!!!! So excited!!! It's used (we can't afford a new one) - a Weber - 3 burner - really nice! Had burgers and corn tonight! This opens up a whole world of possibilities :-)

                                                                                      Tips? Recipes? Ideas? Thanks!!!

                                                                                      1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                        Any questions, just ask, my email is listed on my profile or just post here, be glad to post any recipes.

                                                                                        I'm sure you will get hundreds of recipes.

                                                                                        I make mac and cheese on the grill, grilled fruit for a side and for desert. Grilled veggies galore, from foil pouches, aluminum or cast irons pans and just seared to direct grilling. Fish, beef, chicken, skewers or just grilled again, in a pouch or just on the grill. Anything goes.

                                                                                        Grilled pound cake is great with a butter rum glaze and then topped with grilled peaches

                                                                                        Grilled cheese skewers, grilled stuffed tomatoes with cheese and fresh veggies, grilled stuffed zucchini with sausage and vegetables as a main course and grilled romaine lettuce salad.

                                                                                        Endless possibilities.

                                                                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                          That is a FANCY pants grill, lovessushi! I wish you many happy grillings!

                                                                                          1. re: cimui

                                                                                            Thank you so much cimui!! :-) We are very excited! BF knows how to grill but I don't and am learning - I was the one who made the burgers last night! ;-)

                                                                                          2. re: lovessushi

                                                                                            If you can't find threads about this, why don't you start a new one? We grill in the snow and the rain so there's a wealth of info out there.

                                                                                2. Shrimp. Try it in a pan with olive oil, garlic, oregano lemon juice. (Scampi). Also, consider a stove-top grill pan. Sausages, boneless chicken breasts, thicker fish come out great. Learn to use basic terriyaki marinade or your favorite seasonings.
                                                                                  I also like using the stove to cook veggies (red peppers, zucchine and quatered mushrooms make a great trio) and the grill can also be used as a panini press if you buy one of the LeCreuset models that fits a press.

                                                                                  Consider using a slow cooker as well -- very little heat generated outside the appliance.

                                                                                  1. Ok this recipe can be made with chicken (I use the Perdu 1/2 chicken breast pre-packed in sealed packages)-wash chicken and pat dry-coat with flour that has been seasoned with salt-pepper and garlic powder. Brown on both sides in skillet wit olive oil & butter about 2 tablespoons each for 2 mins. Top each with fresh basil,slice of tomato, and slice of mozzerella cheese. Dice tomato and 2 cloves of garlic toss into bottom of skillet. Add 1 cup of white wine or chicken stock or water.Cover cook for ten mins on med till done. They cook fast. That's it! You can use pork cutlets , steak (pounded out), turkey breasts.I've added proscuitto ham or Polish ham to the stack too. Enjoy! Quick and easy!

                                                                                    1. Buy really good bread. You can make all kinds of salad. You can cook potato in microwave. Buy roasted chicken in the supermarket, add your own seasoning and sauce on the chicken.