It’s hard to be inspired in the current heat wave. How is your family coping?
Here we are just not excited about meals. It’s been sandwiches an awful lot, and often it’s simple fillings, with a lot of peanut butter with home made jelly popping up. Cold ham & cheese (we like either swiss or provolone, so it is a jump up from generic yellow cheese food) also appear, with the occasional burger or hot dog courtesy of the broiler. Casserole type meals tend to focus on instant rice with whatever addition. (Can we say broiled chicken breast & sweet onions with cream of mushroom soup anyone?) It’s been a good time to sample freeze dried dinners too (just add boiling water!)
Salads are great too, but we’re tending to keep those simple as well. Rotisserie chickens from the grocery store make good starting points for sandwiches or salads, with spring greens or baby spinach.
Breaded chicken patties make for a quick hot sandwich as well. There is also a wide variety of heat-n-eat meat fillings available at the grocery stores–usually in the meat department. All of these can jazz up dinner when the summertime blahhs hit.
Adding simple toppings to sandwiches besides the typical ketchup, mustard & mayonnaise can also help to make these simple meals more pleasurable. Sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce leaves, even bell pepper strips or rings can be added to sandwiches. Mild pepper rings, dill pickles, or bread & butter pickles are other excellent flavor additions to sandwiches. For condiments, try Italian or ranch dressing instead of plain mayo for some extra flavor.
Desserts are easy when its hot–nobody wants anything rich and heavy this time of year. Simple chilled fruit, served with vanilla yogurt, whipped cream or lightly sweetened cream/sour cream can be a gourmet offering when its hot. Try sweetening sour cream or plain yogurt with some brown sugar and adding a dash of cinnamon to make a delicious apple, pear or peach slice dip!
Raw vegetable platters can also add interest to both meals and snacks. Celery, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet onions, green onions, cucumber, summer squash, and many more can be cut into bite sized pieces and chilled, then served with a dip. To cut the fat, try mixing a package of ranch dressing mix with non-fat yogurt, leaving out the mayonnaise and buttermilk typically used. Its delicious!
What does your family enjoy when the heat hits the meal inspiration and wilts the cook?