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Summer Entertaining--No Grill, No Oven

It's that time of year again....when my apartment is way too hot to have the oven on and I'm reminded once again that I don't have a grill (unless you count my George Foreman, and I mostly don't).

Yet I like to have people over for dinner! My go-to main dishes are usually seared scallops over some sort of corn/tomato/basil salad, or sauteed shrimp and chorizo seasoned with smoked paprika, then I build from there.

Any other suggestions? I love the idea of using my crock pot, but can never think of anything that doesn't sound too heavy.

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  1. How about cold soups, like pea and avocado with mint and coconut milk , or vichyssoise , or gasp scho followed by a gorgeous composed salad of seafoods and vegetables.

    1. I would roast veggies (and sweat it out) the day before, and serve cold or room temp. Also, if you can buy some cooked flank steak or london broil from your market, make a great salad with greens, some good blue or goat cheese, beets (which you can roast with the veggies) and avocado, with the meat sliced on top. Olives and cheese to start, fresh strawberries and peaches with whipped cream to end.

      1. I make an ersatz salad nicoise that my guests love. Make a batch of tuna salad, seasoned the way you like it. Layer a platter with lettuce leave and mound tuna in the center. Around the salad add your choice of cold veggies-roasted beets, olives, red onions, sliced tomato, haricot vert, etc. Dress the greens/veggies in a light vinaigrette and then serve with crusty bread and a nice Rose.

        As a starter you could do as magiesmom suggested and serve a nice cold soup-melon is another good one.

        Dessert could be as simple as a bowl of berries topped with whipped cream.

        Also if you have microwave take advantage of it to steam veggies and fish

        The crock pot is great for making soups that are good hot or cold like carrot ginger or borsch. Google cool summer soups and there are so many to choose from and when served with good bread and/or salad can be a wonderful summer meal.

        2 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          There was a nice cold soup thread here too.

          1. re: foodieX2

            Seconding the ersatz nicoise idea only I use chicken breasts that have been marinated and then grilled in the Foreman.

          2. Chinese cold noodles.

            Set it up as a cold noodle bar (a la taco bar), with chilled noodles, julienned vegetables, various sauces (e.g. sesame, soy sauce, peanut butter miso, etc.), various sliced or julienned meats like chicken, beef, pork, etc., and other garnishes like chopped peanuts, scallions, etc.

            All cold, and the only thing you really have to cook are the noodles and the meats.

            1. Do you have an outside area? If so, you may want one of these electric roasters:


              An excellent cook friend of mine in Sacramento uses one and is very pleased with it.

              I was just posting elsewhere that I do an uncooked pasta 'sauce.' Chop tomatoes, capers, a little raw onion and garlic if you like (I don't), basil and any other herbs you like, oo, and s&p. And grated Parm. Cook the pasta, dump and eat.

              1. I made this seafood salad recipe from the NYT a few weeks ago, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/din...
                Very summery, made entirely on the stove top, cooked ahead and served room temperature. The next time I make it, I think I will substitute pasta for the rice and cut back on the mustard in the vinaigrette, but that is mainly because we are more fond of pasta than rice and my husband does not liked pronounced mustard favors. You also could add in a few more varieties of vegetables, such as olives and julienned red pepper.

                1. Instead of seared scallops use them for a ceviche. Or use your george foreman to grill your shrimp for tacos and heat the tortillas, make a veggie slaw with a lime vinegrette and black bean corn salsa side.

                  1. Make tomato soup in your crock, serve in cups w\sour cream &basil chiffonade, line a platter w/lettuce and make a chicken salad w/green grapes and almonds and mound on platter, serve a platter of veggies @room temp. (squash, zucchini, corn, etc). Have sliced ham &cheese, rolls, bread, condiments, and serve cookies and ice cream for dessert,

                    1. Summer pastas work well too. When tomatoes are really ripe, you don't even have to cook them. You might saute a little garlic in oil....cook the pasta....and combine with fresh chopped tomatoes and basil. I usually chop up the tomatoes and let them sit for a while with oil and basil. Then combine when the pasta is hot. Add a little of the pasta water....and you've got a great fresh dish. Top with some freshly grated parmesan. Add a salad. Some great bread. Good to go....

                      1. I make a no cook pasta sauce that's killer. One pint of grape tomatoes, one clove garlic, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pine nuts, dozen basil leaves, grated parm, 1 cup evoo. Make like a pesto in the food processor, pour over freshly cooked pasta and toss add more grated parm.

                        1. Summertime means potato salad and coleslaw in our house. And you could grill some brats or other sausage type meats on your George Foreman or use a cast iron pan.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Berheenia

                            Why not just go to your local deli and get a bunch of cold-cuts and salad things and make up a big platter of 'finger food'?
                            Make a big cold sea food salad with cooked shrimp/scallops tuna etc etc.

                          2. Tomato-basil-mozzarella salad, which is only worth making when truly ripe summer tomatoes are available anyway.

                            1. Make a bun! Vietnamese noodle salad.

                              I like a bun with lots of mixed greens and herbs dressed with traditional table sauce, a layer of cool rice noodles, then topped with a nice piece of fish or marinated meat. More sauce for the top. One big dish per person, chopsticks.....add a nice summer cocktail and everyone stays cool :)