Sometimes you just want a meal that keeps you cool during the heat of August. It’s nice to savor a plate of freshly cut fruit or devour a bowl of ice-cream, but I wanted to round up some substantial meals/snacks that are filling and nutritious, yet won’t weigh you down on a hot day.
Roasted Chicken Salad (Alexys)
A classic for summertime! Chicken salad can be whipped up in a hurry and made to taste. You can use left over or freshly baked/boiled chicken that has been cooled (even canned if that’s what you have). Some people might like to keep the chicken plain to let the condiments and other ingredients shine, but I prefer chicken that is already well seasoned so that the mayo and other add-ins enhance and add more flavor! You can use any cut of chicken you have, and while darker meat or bone in will give more flavor, I prefer using skinless to avoid the soggy/chewy texture it can have after it cools. This is inspried by the sonoma chicken salad from Whole Foods. The measurements are forgiving because the ratio of ingredients vary depending on taste.
- Half or whole shredded chicken: I like to use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (or whatever is leftover), but you can also bake whatever cut of chicken you have. You can boil the chicken, but I prefer to bake with some olive oil and nice spices.
- Mayonnaise: I like to use Primal Kitchen. You can even use greek yogurt. The yogurt is definitely thicker, but it gives a delicious creamy result.
- Thinly chopped celery
- Grapes, cut n half
- Honey of maple syrup: You can omit the grapes and use this instead or add this for some extra sweetness (goes well with the mustard too)
- Mustard: If you want to keep it savory, this adds a nice burst of flavor.
- Nuts of choice (optional)
I decided to make a personal size chicken salad, about enough for two sandwhiches: 1 cubed chicken breast, cooled overnight (baked with olive oil, salt, lemon pepper seasoning, rosemary, and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan in 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes), 2tbsp mayonnaise, 1 celery stick, and a small handful of grapes.
Put chicken in a mixing bowl and mix in mayonnaise until well combined, then stir in grapes, celery, and other add-ins. You can enjoy this with some crackers, a toasted piece of bread, or a yummy chicken salad sandwich.
Anything Salad (Alexys)
This is what I used to make at the salad bar in Whole Foods. You pretty much top some lettuce with any vegetables you have, so no need to buy anything for this recipe. Just add or take out what you like/don’t like.
Ingredients (what I used):
- 1 head of butter lettuce
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 small carrot, shredded
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- Half a cucumber, thinly sliced
- Several cherry tomatoes halved
- Olive oil
- Splash of lemon juice (can also use lime juice, ACV, or regular vinegar)
- Salt & pepper to taste (i like to use flaky salt)
- Deli turkey (or cooled protein of choice)
- Toasted bread (optional)
Wash and chop lettuce and other vegetables, add to a big bowl and mix before adding the dressing. Drizzle enough olive oil to lightly coat everything, then add lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste. Toss until evenly coated. You can chop and add your protein or put it on the side like I chose to do. I also wanted something crunchy so I toasted a piece of sourdough bread in the oven with butter.
Parmesan Crusted Roll-Ups (Alexys)
This is such a great snack or meal! I use flour tortillas and they end up flaky, almost pastry-like. So yummy!
- Medium size tortillas
- Protein of choice (deli meat works well, tofu, etc)
- Produce of choice (I used the leftover anything salad)
- Mustard or ranch (can also use hummus, mayonnaise, or any spread you like)
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, add equal parts butter and olive oil to the pan. Spread an even layer of mustard on the tortilla, add protein and vegetables (don’t overfill, make sure you can roll it). Roll tortilla and place into hot pan. Once warm on one side, flip and grate cheese, let it melt, then turn and shred some on the other side. Once the cheese is toasted to your liking, take off heat and enjoy.
* To keep with the “cold” theme, be sure your pan is extra hot so the cheese forms a crust quickly (usually only takes a minute or two), but doesn’t overheat the inside.
Mom’s Cream Cheese Party Roll-Ups (Alexys)
I always looked so forward to my mom making these up when I was a kid. This is a flavorful quick snack or simple (and cost-effective) hors d’oeuvre. It only takes about 5 minutes to make and creates minimal mess.
- Medium or large tortillas
- Onion and chive cream cheese: you can use plain cream cheese and add some garlic powder, onion powder, and chives to taste.
- Deli turkey (or protein of choice, make sure it is rollable)
- Fresh scallions
Spread cream cheese onto a tortilla (about 2 tbsp for a medium sized tortilla), evenly lay turkey and scallions then roll and cut into circles.
Cooled Pesto Ramen (Taryn)
I got the idea for this recipe from David Chang’s restaurant Momofuku (RIP) where I had something very similar. It’s a perfect summer dish that comes together in 15 minutes. You can also use a more authentic pesto recipe, and just add a teaspoon or so of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. The pesto ramen is good by itself, but I like to add fish, shrimp, or a soft-boiled egg to it. Serves two people.
- 3 cups of spinach, baby kale, or arugula
- 1 cup of cilantro, about half a large bunch, use both stems and leaves
- ¼ cup of walnuts (cashews or pine nuts also work)
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tbs of white miso paste (if you don’t have, 2-3 tbs of grated Parmesan will work)
- 1 tsp of rice vinegar (lemon juice or apple cider vinegar also work)
- A pinch of red pepper flakes, or more if you like heat
- ¼ cup of good olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 portions of quick-cooking protein, like shrimp, salmon, or soft-boiled eggs
- 2 packages of instant ramen (save the seasoning packs for a different dish), or about 6-8 oz of another medium-thick noodle
- Garnish with sesame seeds
In a blender, coarsely chop spinach and cilantro. Add in nuts, garlic, miso paste, vinegar, and red pepper flakes and blend until fairly smooth. Slowly add olive oil into the blender and blend until the mixture turns into a bright green, cohesive paste. Salt and pepper to taste, then put in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest. Bring pot of water to a boil and cook noodles until they are about a minute from being cooked through. Drain noodles and transfer to a bowl, toss, and refrigerate for 5-10 minutes until slightly cooled. Prep, season, and cook your preferred protein as you like. Toss pesto and noodles together, plate, and top with protein and sesame seeds.
Crushed Cucumber with Sesame Oil (Taryn)
This is a simple recipe that’s even better the next day. Even if cucumbers aren’t your favorite vegetable, the way this recipe is prepared makes them taste next level. The key ingredient is sesame oil. If you don’t have any, you can use olive oil or grapeseed oil, but it definitely won’t have the flavor. I love eating this as a snack or as a side paired with an Asian recipe, like kungpao chicken or broccoli and beef.
- About 1 lb of cucumbers. I prefer smaller ones grown for pickling, but any will do. Scoop out most the seeds if using larger cucumbers
- 1 tsp salt + more for prep
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, very finely minced
- 1 tbs rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp of fish sauce (you can use soy sauce, but the fish sauce makes it taste more authentic)
- ½ tsp or more of something spicy, like red pepper flakes, chili oil, or sriracha
Slice the cucumbers in halves or quarters long ways, depending on thickness, then cut them into 3-4 inch pieces. It’s okay if they aren’t all even, it actually gives them a better texture. Using the side of a large knife or a muddler, press on the skin side of each cucumber and smash until the skin slightly breaks. Discard any large segments of seeds. Put cucumbers in a bowl with a pinch of salt and set aside for about 15 minutes. Using a towel, pat down cucumbers to extract moisture. Add salt, sugar, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce, and spice to the cucumbers and mix well. Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but a few hours is better. Sprinkle sesame seeds or crushed peanut on top before serving. Lasts 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- 1 lb cooked shrimp, chopped
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 roma tomatoes diced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno seeds removed and diced
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 3 avocados, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate
- Eat within 48 hours
- If avocados are too soft place in freezer for 5 minutes before peeling and dicing
Corn Salsa (Bethany)
- 1 ½ cups corn
- 1 small poblano, seeded and chopped
- 1 avocado, diced
- ½ red pepper, diced
- ⅓ cup red onion, diced
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate
- Roast the poblano beforehand over a flame on the grill or stovetop
- Best served with blackened chicken or white fish
Chicken and vegetable pasta (Bethany)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb chicken, diced
- 1 tsp each salt, pepper, oregano
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 1 yellow squash, sliced
- 4 cups kale
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups rotini noodles
- Cook the rotini and set aside
- In a skillet over medium high heat add 2 Tbsp olive oil and diced chicken and season with salt, pepper and oregano and cook about 10 minutes. Take out and set aside.
- Add carrots, zucchini and squash to the pan and cook about 5 minutes.
- Add kale, garlic, 2 Tbsp olive oil, a pinch more salt and pepper, toss with vegetables and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add in the rotini and chicken and mix.
- Can be served immediately or refrigerated and served cold. (perfect for lunch meal-prep)
I hope you get to enjoy some of these summer recipes! What are the foods/meals you like to keep around during the warmer months?