Weekend open thread: Hot weather dinner ideas edition

Most of Iowa continues to experience a relentless heat wave and drought. My sympathies go out to the RAGBRAI riders who are hitting the road tomorrow.

After the jump I’ve posted my favorite dinner ideas for this kind of weather. They won’t heat up your kitchen much or force you to stand by a hot grill outdoors. They are also quick to prepare, since long, hot days can drain your energy.

Share your own suggestions after the jump, or comments on any other topic. This is an open thread.

1. Breakfast for dinner.

Pancakes, French toast, or eggs prepared however you like them make a fast and filling dinner. These dishes involve turning on your stove, but probably only one burner for a relatively short time.

2. Lunch for dinner.

You can probably whip up a good sandwich and side salad (either leafy greens or tomato with soft cheese and olive oil) in 10-15 minutes, without turning on the stove or oven.

3. Pasta with a no-cook sauce.

You’ll need to turn on one stove burner, but probably for only 10-25 minutes, depending on how much water you are boiling and the shape of the pasta you are cooking. If you have time and energy, add some green veggies of your choice to the pot toward the end of the cooking time for the pasta.

Italian-style ideas:

Toss the drained pasta in a bowl with pesto and a little olive oil.

Or, while the pasta is cooking, mix together in a bowl about 1/4 cup olive oil, chopped fresh tomatoes, a crushed garlic clove or two, chopped fresh basil, and some kind of cubed cheese (fresh mozzarella works well, but surprisingly, so does brie without the rind). You can make this sauce a few hours ahead of time if you want the flavors to meld. Refrigerate it if you’ve already added the cheese, or leave covered at room temperature and add the cheese along with the cooked pasta.

Asian-style noodles:

I’ve adapted this sauce from the Moosewood Collective Cooks At Home book. Whisk together the following ingredients in a large bowl while you cook approximately one pound of pasta.

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup hot water (take from pot)

1/3 cup toasted sesame oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

1 crushed garlic clove (if you like raw garlic)

dash hot sauce (optional)

I like to mix in a few green veggies and a diced cake of extra-firm tofu along with the noodles. Sliced scallions and raw, shredded carrots also go well.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil, blend together the ingredients and toss the drained pasta with the sauce in a large bowl.

Alternate Asian-style noodles: make this spicy peanut sauce in a blender and pour over the cooked noodles. That sauce is also good on most cooked green vegetables.

Tags: Food, Recipes
  • Bulgur Tabouli

    1 cup Bulgur wheat                 1 clove garlic, minced

    11/2 cups boiling water           2 tomatoes, chopped

    1 tsp. salt                              1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

    1/4 cup lemon juice                 4 green onions, chopped

    1/4 cup olive oil                

    Pour boiling water over wheat and salt.  Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and garlic.  Cover and chill for at least two hours.  Add onions and tomatoes right before serving.

    Serve over a bed of spinach with some cheese chunks on the side.

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