By the time the heat index was over 100 for a whole week, Katie and I were well into our simple, summer suppers.
Weather like this makes you want to slow down. And it’s too hot to cook food. Or to digest it.
Of course simple is good, even when it’s not hot. But in the summer we like healthy and fast. We rarely fix anything that takes over 20 minutes.
Here are some sample simple suppers:
Scrambled eggs with goat cheese.
One or two nights a week we scramble eggs over low heat, with a little goat cheese and cream blended in with fresh garlic, chives or fresh spinach if we have them or feel like it.
On the side we might have a slice of precooked ham, warmed over the eggs as they set. Serve with some sliced cucumbers or tomatoes on the side. And fresh ground salt. It’s simple and easy.
Simple summer salad.
We do this two or three days a week, with endless variations. Shred some leaf lettuce in a medium size bowl (enough to cover a couple of dinner plates, since this is the whole meal.) Then we throw in whatever we got: thinly sliced cucumbers, quartered grape tomatoes, sliced boiled eggs, sun flower seeds, blue berries, sliced strawberries, green onions.
Finally we toss in chopped chicken or thin slices of steak, whatever we kept over from the weekend. We always top the whole thing with lots of good quality Parmesan cheese and our own two-vinegar dressing, which you can find on Forkinit, a recipe site our oldest son and his friends built.
Wally’s chicken salad.
This is one of my favorite unexpected company dishes and it is very easy. Drain and empty a 13 oz. can or two of water-packed premium chicken breast in a bowl. Then add two finely chopped stalks of celery and two finely chopped green onions per can, and mayo to taste and stir it all together. (Finely chopped means “hide-it-from-the-kids” fine.)
Plate it out on a leaf of lettuce, garnish with slices of avocado or tomato, maybe a few berries, and serve it with ice tea. (We buy the Member’s Mark chicken from Sam’s in a sleeve of five cans because it shreds nicely with a fork.)
There are more extravagant chicken salads, of course, but none simpler. Or faster. I’m talking ten minutes tops.
Yes, guys don’t usually like cold soups, but I love this one.
Peel and quarter three cucumbers and, after you slice off the seeds, cut it into chunks and toss it in the blender with three cups of chicken or vegetable broth. After that’s pureed, blend it in a bowl with three cups of sour cream, three tablespoons of cider vinegar and a minced clove of garlic.
And you’re done. Seriously. Even though it is very fast, you have to work ahead on this one since it needs to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. This recipe makes 12 servings, and Katie and I had it three days in a row without me complaining.
Serve with garnishes to sprinkle on top: chopped tomatoes, green onions, parsley and/or cilantro. Even chopped chicken, if you have some on hand and don’t feel like you had a meal if you didn’t have any meat.
Even simplicity takes a little planning. But our whole summer shopping list is pretty much Romaine lettuce, eggs, and whatever veggies are in season, especially cucumbers, celery, green onions, tomatoes and berries when they are available. Fresh toppings are nice to have around, like parsley, chives, or cilantro. And cheese, especially goat cheese and Parmesan.
You can eat like this all week. In this kind of heat these dishes are more filling than they sound. And better for you.
Simple, summer suppers.
What’s your version?
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