Good morning Everyone, and welcome to our newest addition to the Welcoming House repertoire,
~Tasty Tuesday~
I can already hear some of you cheering now.
Makes this little heart smile.


    I have been seeking ways to make meals without either heating up the house, or having to buy something like a sun oven to cook outside. If you got a chance to drop by yesterday, you would have seen that the Handy Hubby rigged together a wood stove cooker for me to bake bread. Didnt see that? Check it out by clicking RIGHT HERE.
   But all that being said and done, the only thing so far I have made in it is honey wheat bread and banana bread, both of which turned out amazing. I also recognize that not everyone can hook up a wood stove to run in their backyard to bake things in, depending on their city ordinances, or even as the dear reader from Memphis, TN said: “Are you sure its not going to get stolen sitting in your backyard?”. Made me laugh only because seriously folks, we almost live in Mayberry. (as in the “Leave It To Beaver” town).
   So instead I am going to give you three of my favorite meals that do not need an oven or for some of them, even a pan on the stove. For the wonderfully encouraging reader who begged for warm weather meal recipes, here you go. This one is for you!
   My first one is Hummus and chips, easily made with homemade or store-bought ingredients. The best part about it is that you can vary the recipe depending on what is in season, and throw more veggies in until your heart is content. Another great thing about it is that I have not yet had a kid refuse it, because it presents as a “chips and dip” kinda meal. I serve this with either homemade tortilla chips, or just plain store bought ones, depending on what I have. It is also excellent with pita chips, or even rice cakes or Matzo crackers. Lots of options, in other words.
The base of this is either two cans, or one home-canned pint jar of chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Next you can add up to three cups worth of veggies. I use one cucumber, one jar of salsa (or one big tomato), one zucchini, a handful of baby carrots (or two big ones), and 1/2 a small onion. To that you add 1/4 cup real mayo, 8 shakes of tabasco sauce, garlic salt, cracked pepper, and curry seasoning. However, you may not like all those veggies per se, and I just want you to know this is kinda a catch-all of what comes out of the garden that day. Take a stick blender, or your food processor, and puree everything up. This tastes better when it is allowed to sit for a few hours before serving.
download2June2012 261

   My second warm weather meal is Italian Pasta Salad. We normally use home-canned chunks of ham, or even smoked turkey, and this is the rest of the meal: Take one small box of vegetable rotini, and cook until al dente, tossing with a Tbs of olive oil and 1 tsp Oregano. To this add two cans  canned mushrooms, one small can sliced olives, one large tomato (chunked up), 1/2 small onion (diced small), 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 container Zesty Italian  Dressing. It is not unusual for me to make this using my own version of the dressing, but for brevity’s sake, that is a great alternative. Toss everything well, adding in 1 tsp of crushed basil, and serve. This is also a great make-ahead meal that you can throw together the night before and serve the following evening. Another optional ingredient is halved pieces of pepperoni, or chunks of mozzarella cheese.

   My Third and final favorite Warm weather meal is done totally on the grill. Simple, easy, and no mess or heat in the kitchen. It can even be done on a Hibachi grill, albeit in stages.

   It is called Grilled Italian Chicken with Buttered Zucchini and Corn.
The night before, take a package of chicken breasts, or legs and thighs, clean well, and then marinate overnight in a bottle of Italian dressing. (Asian Poppyseed is also a fabulous alternative to this if you want a change from the recipe above ~ just be sure to change up the side dishes to something Asian).
When you get ready to grill, make a foil packet of sliced zucchini, summer squash, 1/4 of an onion in rings, and a bag of frozen corn. Top the veggies with butter, and season with lemon pepper, thyme, oregano and basil. Seal the packet up and place on the grill. Chicken should take up to 20 minutes, and the veggies will also be done in about 20 minutes on medium heat. Sometimes we pair this with a simple fruit salad dessert—layer sliced strawberries, top with vanilla pudding, sliced bananas, top with pudding, sprinkle coconut on top and then decorate with sprinkled cinnamon. Very good!

   I hope this gives you some ideas on how to keep the heat out of your house, and yet still have your family eat great! We have been using the wood stove outside and so far we have made Smoked Turkey Quesadillas, Banana Walnut Bread, and then Hobo Stew out there—pretty much every meal but breakfast! Anyways, it is a wonderful addition to our “tools”, and looks like the whole town is talking about it. Which makes me laugh, but also makes me glad to live in a small town. Again.
I hope you have a wonderful day–remember tomorrow is Almost Wordless Wednesday and since today is the day I begin teaching summer piano lessons all day, with two two year olds in the house, we will see if I am able to post every Tuesday or just have to skip due to time constraints (such as actually needing sleep–lol). See you tomorrow!

Many Blessings to you and yours,