Easy Cool Summer Dishes

August 7, 2014

8 min read


Light delicious fare super easy to make.

Using the grill and easy ingredients here are some suggestions to whip up delightful meals in minutes, helping you make the most of the wonderful, warm summer season.

Colorful Variety Salad

Colorful Variety SaladIn our home every meal starts with a salad. Here is a salad to add some variety to the typical tossed salad. This is made to serve a crowd or to satisfy the salad lovers. Feel free to add some cold cuts on the side for a complete meal.

Everyone can choose their favorites and there is sure not to be any leftovers.

  • 8 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 can (19 fl oz/540 mL) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped red onions
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 1 lb favorite cold cuts (optional)

Line a large platter with lettuce; place next 6 ingredients in neat rows in contrasting colors.

Drizzle dressing and salsa over salad just before serving.

Vinaigrette Dressing

  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • Tip of tsp black pepper (optional)

Pour all ingredients in a jar and shake well. Use in all sort of tossed salads.

Prep Time: 15 min
Makes: 12 servings, 1 cup (250 mL) each

Simple & Friendly Fajitas

Simple & Friendly FajitasMy family loves fajitas anyway they are served- hot or cold. They are easy to take along and enjoy in a jiffy.

Serve up a slimmed-down version of chicken fajitas. Simply sauté the chicken, onions, with red and green bell peppers in canola oil, and wrap the ingredients in a whole-wheat or favorite tortilla. They are a full meal all wrapped in one. Delight your children who are in a hurry to go out to play with this quick dish.

  • 6 whole wheat tortillas (10" diameter), heated
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1 chopped or sliced jalapeno Chili pepper
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced scallions (optional)
  • Sliced cucumber (optional)

In a large nonstick skillet warm the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Test that the juices run clear and no pink remains.
Add the bell peppers, onion, salt, and black pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, for about 4 minutes longer, or until the bell peppers are crisp-tender. Add the tomato and chili pepper. Cook for 1 minute more, or until just heated through.
Open up the tortilla, spread chicken mixture over shredded lettuce and add sliced scallions and cucumber. Wrap tortilla in silver foil and warm up in the oven or on the grill for five minutes for a delicious all in one meal.

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes

Cool Appetizing Chicken Pasta

Cool Appetizing Chicken PastaGreens are readily available in every market. Use your favorite greens or baby spinach and cannellini beans; this pasta is full of fiber, iron, and protein for a well-rounded and filling dinner perfect for a warm summer evening.

  • 6 oz multigrain penne or your favorite pasta
  • 4 chicken breasts, 4 to 5 oz each, pounded to an even ¼" thickness
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cup baby spinach leaves ( 1 cup frozen variety)
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 heaping Tbs diced roasted red pepper spice

Boil 1½ quarts water, drop in the penne, stir, and cook until the pasta is al dente (about 9 to 11 minutes).

WHILE the pasta cooks, sear the chicken in a skillet to which you've added the olive oil, on medium-high (about 4 to 5 minutes per side), seasoning each side with a pinch of salt and pepper as the other side cooks. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.

REDUCE the heat under the skillet to medium. Add the spinach, beans, garlic, rosemary, and bell pepper. Turn frequently until the spinach wilts (about 5 minutes).

SLICE the chicken and toss it with the drained pasta and the spinach-and-bean mixture.


PREP TIME: 8 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 22 minutes

Salsa Chicken Stir-Fry

This filling recipe is a good way to use up extra items in your fridge since you can throw in whatever veggies you have on hand.

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup tomatoes cubed
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp ground red paprika
  • 1 inch piece of ginger

COOK the chicken in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken from the pan.

Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, pepper, and broccoli in the same pan until crisp-tender. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the cubed tomato and stir to coat. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper, if using. Serve immediately.

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 22 minutes

Potato Cauliflower Casserole

Potato Cauliflower CasseroleDelicious and comforting, the cauliflower extends the potato dish without adding calories.

  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups cauliflower, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-4 hot dogs cut in thin rounds

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and boil for 15 minutes, or until fork-tender. Remove to a bowl; do not drain the water from the pot. Add the cauliflower to the pot and boil for 10 minutes, or until fork-tender. Place in the bowl with the potatoes. Mash with a potato masher or an electric mixer on medium speed.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until translucent.

Spoon half the potato mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the hot dogs. Repeat layering to use the remaining ingredients, ending with potatoes.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through and top of casserole is light brown and bubbling..

Prep: 15 min + Cook: 35 min
Total: 50min
Serves: 4

Delicious Upside down Plum Cake

Delicious Upside down Plum CakeEven in summer we cannot neglect the dessert. Summer fruit is available in abundance and they are great fresh or in compotes or desserts. Delight your family with this fruity cake. This recipe is very simple and delicious. It freezes beautifully in the pan, so if you have the time make two of them by doubling the recipe and reserve one for the upcoming High Holidays. It is a real winner. You will be glad to have something ready for Yom Tov!

  • 1 stick transfat free margarine
  • 4 firm very ripe plums, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round deep dish cake pan with parchment paper, or just spray liberally with Pam (non stick oil spray).

  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the plums and 1/4 cup of the sugar and cook, tossing, until the sugar dissolves and the juices from the plums become syrupy, 3 to 4 minutes. Arrange the plums in the cake pan in slightly overlapping concentric circles, starting from the outside. Spoon any pan juices over the top.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  4. With an electric mixer, beat the remaining margarine and 2/3 cup of the sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, orange juice, and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.

  5. Pour the batter over the plums and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 1 hour. Before serving place a large plate over the cake pan and invert the cake onto the plate.

Preparation 20 minutes + baking time
Serves 8

Note: Save a step! You can simplify this recipe by cutting the plums into segments and arranging them tightly in bottom of baking pan. Sprinkle with some sugar and proceed as above starting with #3.

Next Steps