Hot weather menus
View from Hickory Heights
With the hot weather last week, I was drawn to the idea of hot weather menus. When it is that hot you really do not think much of eating. Something quick, something cold is the menu of choice. Of course, you get hungry, but the easier the menu the more appealing it is.
Now that I am on my own, I do not fuss much with menus. If I want cereal for supper that is what I eat. It is quick and easy to fix and it is nourishing. Sometimes I eat some yogurt. Eggs are also easy to prepare. They take a minimum of cook time and provide your daily protein. They are not however, as inexpensive as they used to be!
Each week when I grocery shop, I find that the cost of things has increased. As I read the packages, I also find out that the size of the packages has decreased. That causes a problem with some recipes. If it calls for a can of something you must be sure about the size of the can. The same is true if it calls for a package of something. The truest recipes still list the measurements in cups and teaspoons.
I begin my recipes this week with a simple Spinach Salad. We usually enjoyed this as the main course of the meal.
SPINACH SALAD WITH MUSTARD DRESSING
1 bag spinach
1 medium onion sliced
1/8 bag stuffing mix
2/3 c. sugar
2 hard boiled eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp. celery seed
1T. prepared yellow mustard
1/3 c. cider vinegar
1c. canola oil
I begin by roasting my bacon in the oven. I usually do the whole package. I roast it at 375 degrees for about 15 min. I like mine crispy so I do it until that point. Wash the spinach and drain. Dry it with paper towels. Put spinach in a bowl. Top with sliced hard-boiled eggs and crumbled bacon. In a blender combine onion, sugar, salt, pepper, celery seed, mustard, vinegar and oil. When ready to serve drizzle dressing on salad. Top with dry stuffing mix.
This dressing is also good on tossed salad.
I had forgotten about a bean recipe for a cold salad until I went through my cookbook. I found this recipe when I was in college on the can of green beans. It is called Bravo Beans and is just the thing when you need a vegetable and it is hot.
1 can of cut green beans
1 1/2 T. cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 c. sliced celery
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 c. sliced radishes
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 c. sliced onions
2 T. olive oil
Drain the beans. Add the celery, radishes, and onions. Mix in a separate cup the olive oil, the cider vinegar, the garlic powder, the onion powder, and the dry mustard. Pour over the vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste. This is best if it sits overnight, but can be eaten after an hour or so. Chill in refrigerator. The crunch of the vegetables makes this very palatable.
Another nice salad is Ambrosia. I got this recipe when watching Trisha Yearwood’s show. I have varied the ingredients some to make mine more family friendly.
5 or 6 apples (peeled and grated or cut into small pieces)
1 small can – crushed pineapple
1/4 c. orange juice
Handful of coconut
Simply mix and refrigerate. I made this to take to my cousin’s house when I was visiting in North Carolina. If you like it a little sweeter, mix ™ c. sugar. It will depend on the apples you use.
A slice of watermelon (chilled) or a piece of cantaloupe is always a good ending for the meal. If you feel something more is needed you could make Strawberry Chilled Soup. I had chilled soup on many of the cruises that I took. I came home and worked out recipes so that I could enjoy them at home. Incidentally, I always asked my waiter to keep the soup until it was time for dessert. That made a very light dessert.
STRAWBERRY CHILLED SOUP
1 qt. strawberries
4 T. sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
6 T. honey
2T. lime juice
In a blender puree all ingredients until smooth. Pour into dishes. Garnish with a strawberry, a sprig of mint, and a dollop of sour cream.
I seem to be on a roll here. There are many other good recipes for the hot weather. Do not be afraid to experiment. Any time you can cut the cooking chore it makes sense in this hot weather. It was extremely hot this week so I indulged with some of these recipes.
Of course, don’t forget the ice cream. July is Ice Cream Month. Have a cone, a sundae, a milkshake, or a float. I enjoy ice cream any way it is fixed.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.