Too Hot for the Stovetop? Try One of These Fresh Summer Dinners Instead

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Too Hot for the Stovetop? Try One of These Fresh Summer Dinners Instead

Lisa Wright · Aug 16, 2022

Some say summer is the best season for its warm weather, gloriously long, lazy days, and sunny skies that seem to never end. Unfortunately, soaring temps also make cooking a hot, sticky, and sometimes downright uncomfortable chore. So what’s the secret to creating a great summertime meal without turning your kitchen into a sauna?

Creating delicious summer meals is all about preparation, and finding that perfect balance between light food and fresh, filling favorites that are just right for warm nights. These recipes strike that balance beautifully, and without fuss. By using some simple tips and tricks, anyone can have a sumptuous summer meal on the fly, no oven time required.

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

Herbed Chicken-and-Rice Salad

A store-bought rotisserie chicken is a super summer staple for quick and easy meals. These two recipes are just a few of many that feature the grocery store mainstay as the star of the show.

Herbed Chicken-and-Rice Salad (Serves 4)

  • One (8½ oz) package microwavable basmati rice
  • ¼ cup mixed herbs (parsley, dill, chives, or whatever you have on hand)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • ¼ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • About 1½ cups shredded rotisserie chicken (feel free to add more or less)
  • 1 cup halved multicolored cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup (¼-inch) sliced celery
  • coarsely chopped celery leaves
  • coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, dill, or other tender herbs

This recipe comes together in a jiff. Just microwave the rice and let it cool completely for 15 to 20 minutes. Place herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Starting with the chicken, add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl with the rice. Toss it all with the dressing and garnish with more herbs before serving.

Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches

Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches (Serves 4)

Your fave salad — on a bun!

  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (from 1 chicken)
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about ⅓ cup)
  • 4 mini baguettes (or 1 French bread baguette cut into 4 portions), split and toasted lightly (optional)
  • Mayonnaise for spreading (optional)
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves

Process anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in food processor or blender until smooth. Add olive oil gradually and continue to pulse. Stir in the parmesan cheese and toss it all with the chicken. Lightly spread mayo over baguette bottoms (if using), add chicken mix and romaine leaves, and cover with bread tops. Bon appétit.

Slow Cooker Superstar

Why not let your slow cooker do the work while you’re chilling in the AC?

Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos

Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos (Serves 6)

  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • ¾ cup lower-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice from 1 orange
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Warm corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, diced avocado, shredded Mexican or cotija cheese, and lime wedges for serving (feel free to add/customize toppings)

Add pork, chicken broth, orange juice, garlic, pepper, and salt to slow cooker. Cover and cook it on a low setting until pork is tender, about 8 hours. When it’s finished, shred pork in the slow cooker and transfer it to a serving platter. Serve with tortillas and all the toppings.

If you’re feeling ambitious, the original recipe calls for broiling the pork before serving to crisp it up, but that would require turning on the oven.

Wraps are a Snap

A rotisserie chicken isn’t the only thing you can grab pre-cooked. In the recipe below, store-bought shrimp and pesto gets a lift from a few fresh, simple ingredients for an ideal summer meal.

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps (Serves 4)

  • 1 pound medium pre-cooked shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, grated (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • ½ cup thinly sliced radishes
  • ½ cup thinly sliced matchstick carrots
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus leaves for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest plus 1 teaspoon fresh juice from 1 lime
  • 16 large butter lettuce leaves or Bibb lettuce leaves

Toss shrimp with vinegar, garlic, ginger, and one tablespoon of the soy sauce. Cover and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine radishes, carrots, salt, and sugar, then set aside. In a separate bowl, combine mayo, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, and remaining soy sauce. Remove shrimp from sauce, then assemble lettuce “wraps.” Put on a plate and top with mayo mixture, shrimp, and pickled vegetables. Garnish with cilantro. For a more filling meal, add the mixture to a pita or wrap.

Recipes adapted from Southern Living

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