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Semi-healthy summer lunches and dinners.

Hi everyone. I'm new to these boards and this is my first post.
Normally, I eat whatever I want and don't think about consequences. But I have to admit I'm not as young as I used to be and it's started catching up to me.

So I'm trying to plan meals for this next week that are semi cheap, semi healthy, and semi quick. LOL.

Grilling is not an option this week sadly. My apartments banned grilling, which is terrible because I love grilled food. Are there any other good options for me? I also have to think about my boyfriend so it can't be so healthy that he won't touch it. lol.

If you have any of your favorite summer recipes to share (that don't involve grilling) I would really appreciate it. Lunch ideas as well.

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  1. Consider a cast iron grill pan.

    I'm eating a lot of zucchini ribbon salads and grilled meats (or grill pan cooked meats,) over salads right now- it's hot and I'm dropping weight like crazy eating this way!

    My honey is a diesel mechanic and he has no objection to eating this way- on occasion, when I think it's not enough calories for him, I'll make an additional side of potatoes, another veggie or side of rice for him. Usually, I just serve him larger portions than I eat.

    1. I make a low-calorie gazpacho that keeps a week in the refrigerator. The recipe makes a lot, about half a gallon. Process in Cuisinart 4 large peeled tomatoes, 1 peeled cucumber, 1 onion, and 1 green pepper. Don't puree them smooth, just chop them coarse. Add this to a 46-oz can of tomato juice. Season to taste with salt, garlic powder, cumin, hot chili pepper, and about 2 tablespoons each of vinegar and olive oil. Serve this ice-cold with crackers or croutons.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Querencia

        Gazpacho was my first thought, too. I like it with an egg salad sandwich on the side.

      2. When I'm sick of grilling, something I really enjoy in the summer is "taco salad". I use either romaine or red leaf lettuce and top it with black beans, cukes, fresh summer tomatoes, fresh corn off the cob, vidalia onion, jalapeno, avocado (and any other veg. you might have available or like)....then I make a cumin lime dressing (about 1/4 cup lime juice, cumin, 1 clove garlic, a little chopped cilantro, 2 tsp. sugar and olive oil to bring it together. Top the salad with grilled (or rotisserie) chicken, sauteed ground turkey or steak. I usually dress the salad individually so the leftovers aren't drenched the next day. Serve with shredded cheddar, sour cream if desired, fresh salsa and good tortilla chips. On a hot day it is such a tasty meal.

        Welcome to Chowhound....it is a wonderful resource!!!

        1 Reply
        1. Honestly, almost anything you make at home is better/cheaper for you than going out to eat.

          I'm typically have leftovers for lunch and make sure to make enough to have them.

          But being it's summer, vegetables, fruit, and salads rule the menu. Like for instance cold soba salad with cucumbers and green onions. Another one would be corn and black bean relish with tortilla chips.

          1. cottage cheese on lettuce w/fruit (think stone fruits right now, or good old pineapple)

            cottage cheese/veggie salad (think sliced radishes, cucumbers)

            cold cucumber soup

            cool refreshing watermelon salad (lots of recipes on net, I don't use feta, I use ricotta salata)

            America's Test Kitchen BBQ mac salad (add chicken to make main dish)

            1 Reply
            1. re: laliz

              Cold cucumber soup so good, as does the ATF barbecue mac salad! I'm going to search for those. Will i be able to locate them on this site?

            2. Tacos, tacos, tacos

              Soft tacos, not the hard shell monstrosities.

              There are so many options and variations that it is impossible to hit them all. In short, all you need is a protein, a few veggies, a sauce and some soft small corn tortillas.

              Cube some good steak and use a stovetop grill to med rare. Add onions (I like them grilled as well) and cilantro, some cubed tomatoes if you want, and maybe some cheese (I do without). Top it with guacamole or slices of avocado. Serve with rice and beans if you want (I buy lard free re-fried bean in a can and boxed spanish rice).

              Fish on the stovetop - salmon, swordfish or tuna work well here - with grated cabbage, fine diced tomato, a little spicy cream sauce and avocado. A little salad would go well on the side.

              Poultry also work well here. I like duck, through I never make it at home. Left over chicken is easy to sub into the steak version. I also like to add sauteed mushrooms.

              1. In a wok or on a griddle cook thick slices of onion, bell pepper, and strips of chicken in soy, Worcestershire, cumin, and chili powder until things begin to caramelize a little. Put it on greens and top with a mixture of low fat sour cream, salsa, and a little lime. That dressing is also good on chalupas.

                1. I love grain salads in the summer - roast vegetables in the toaster oven so you don't have to turn on the big guy, and then toss with some sort of grain, oil and vinegar or lemon juice, and whatever fresh veggie is in season that's good raw, usually tomatoes for me. Add seeds or nuts for protein if it's traveling with you, meat or cheese if it will stay in the fridge until lunchtime. Some favorite combos: barley with roasted zucchini, fresh tomatoes, arugula, pumpkin seeds, olive oil and red wine vinegar; brown rice with wax beans, snap peas, carrots, dressing of peanut butter, soy sauce and ginger; israeli couscous with roasted golden beets, goat cheese or feta, walnuts, fresh shredded spinach; couscous with sundried tomatoes, olives, roasted zucchini, oil and balsamic...Endless possibilities!


                  1. In this kind of weather, we focus on entree salads that include fresh greens, some cooked chicken or shrimp, blanched asparagus or string beans, and a home-made dressing, typically using lemon juice rather than vinegar, to add a zip of freshness. See this link for lots of specific ideas for meal salads: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/848090 (including a recipe midway down that I posted for a shrimp & greens salad dressed with a mayonnaise citrus dressing).