Thursday, June 5, 2008

No Sweat: No-Cook Recipes to Help Beat the Heat

Yesterday it was hot, hot, hot. And today is supposed to be hotter, hotter, hotter.

97 degrees, to be exact. (One more degree, and I guess Nick and Drew Lachey would be showing up.)

When it's that hot out, I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen cooking. There's nothing fun about sweating over a hot stove. Then the whole house gets stuffy and you end up running the air conditioner at full blast to cool things down again, wasting energy and money.

So, until the heat wave passes and then a lot this summer once 90-degree temps are an everyday reality, I'll be looking for recipes that require little or no cooking.

One of my favorites is 1905 Salad, a specialty of Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida. My husband and I dined at Columbia several years ago on a business trip/vacation to Tampa, and I fell in love with the salad. So, I was tickled to find the recipe so I could replicate it at home myself.

The salad (recipe available at this link) mixes ham, swiss cheese, Spanish olives, tomatoes and Romano cheese, in a deliciously garlicky viniagrette. You can top the salad with croutons, if you like, but it's perfect without them. And what's more, this is a super-quick recipe. You won't be in the kitchen any longer than 15 minutes and you won't have many dirty dishes to wash.

Another great hot-weather meal is homemade chicken salad. (Of course, you'll have to use some leftover chicken, use canned or spring for a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.) I like all kinds of chicken salad -- grape and pecan, curry , cranberry -- but I also like basic chicken salad.

I don't follow a recipe, really, I just mix shredded chicken with mayonnaise (to taste), celery (sometimes) and sweet pickle relish (or chopped up sweet pickles.) And salt and pepper to taste. This is delicious atop a bed of greens or -- if you want to go old school -- pillowy soft white bread.

Some people like to add hard boiled eggs to their chicken salad, but we don't like eggs at our house. So, I would never put eggs in my chicken salad. But if you like 'em, feel free!

Real Simple magazine also has some great no cook recipes when you're looking to beat the heat and stay out of the kitchen.

As I find other no-cook recipes, I'll share them with you as the summer heats up.

In the meantime, please feel free to share your favorite no cook recipes in the comments section of this post.

1 comment:

  1. I don't like to be cooking even if it isn't hot so thanks for the tips.