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.
Â Â 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 cansÂ 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 ItalianÂ 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.
Â Â 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.
Â Â 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!
Â Â 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!