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Since it is so hot outside, the only thing to do is try to keep it cool inside. Whether you have air conditioning or not, it can get very hot in the house when cooking. I have a few ideas of some very easy and cool meals to prepare for your family, simple, but cool meals in more ways than one.
My husband and I love tuna fish, so I frequently make tuna fish salads for lunch or supper. Not the typical sandwich, but an all out cool summer salad. I give you:
Cool Summer Tuna Salad
2 cups cooked pasta, cooled (I used tri-color pasta)
2 (6-ounce) cans tuna, drained
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup corn (I used leftover, refrigerated corn cut off the cob)
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tsp. mustard
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. lite mayonnaise
2 tsp. salmon and seafood seasoning
Mix all ingredients together. Serve over a green salad or make a salad plate with salad greens, the tuna salad and fresh fruit. Serves 4.
Another meal I prepared was a really delightful baked chicken, but I did not do it in the oven, I used the crock pot.
I give you:
Crock Pot Pesto Baked Chicken and Stir-Fried Vegetables
1 whole chicken
New potatoes, as many as you need for your family
1/2 cup fresh basil
2 whole cloves garlic
1-2 tsp. olive oil
Process in food processor or blender until finely chopped. Remove from processor and place 2 tbsp. of mixture into a separate bowl, refrigerate remainder for another use. Place 1 tsp. of Kosher salt into pesto mix.
Place whole chicken in crock pot; rub pesto and salt mixture inside cavity of chicken and all over outside and under skin of chicken. Cover with lid and cook about 4-1/2 hours on low. At this point, add in your potatoes all around chicken. Cook another 1 to 1-1/2 hours. The best thing to do is use a kitchen meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is cooked properly.
I served this with stir-fried vegetables. When the chicken was done, I turned the crock pot on warm. I placed 1 tbsp. of olive oil in my wok (a skillet works fine); heat oil until hot. Add in the following;
1 whole small cabbage, cut up
2 cups fresh green beans
1 onion, sliced
Sauté these until slightly softened, then add:
1 zucchini, sliced on the diagonal
1 yellow squash, sliced on the diagonal
2 cups asparagus, cut in 1-inch lengths
Continue to sauté until all vegetables are al dente (crisp tender). This gives you a wonderful crunch to your vegetables that goes so well with a baked chicken.
We cannot forget dessert:
6 cups fresh peeled and sliced peaches
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup Splenda or sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp. melted butter
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix gently. Place in an ungreased 2-quart micro-wave safe bowl. Top with the following crisp mixture.
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts, optional
Mix all together. Set aside. Bake fruit mixture in microwave, covered, for 4-7 minutes. Sprinkle topping over fruit, microwave, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes.
Stay cool and enjoy.
Lonnie Sundermeyer is a retired professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.