With summer coming, I try to find ways to make cooking faster and easier so as not to heat up the house and cause cooling bills to soar like temperatures on a hot July day. I start looking foward to grilling outside and doing a lot more salads. I envy those who can afford to have an outdoor kitchen. :)
There are tons of new ideas for cooking outsides like small and large grills that can be bought using either charcoal or gas. I even saw
a website that teaches one how to make a grill but that seems dangerouse to me. :) I see shopping sites selling smokers a lot.
One thing I like to do in the summer is to bring in cooked meat from a grocery store or deli and just serve up a salad or vegetables with it and rolls.
Another way to keep one's cool in the summer is through the use of salads and no bake desserts. I like pasta salads as they are so easy to make. You do cook the pasta but you can easily use lettuce instead or a variety of edible greens. One of the pasta salads I do involves cooking pasta at night. I run cold water over the pasta after its cooked to cool it down. I let it drain for a few minutes. Then I add, to the pasta, onions and cucumbers. I pour a bottle of Italian dressing (the oil based one) over it. Mix it up a little and refrigerate.
The next day, right before serving I throw in tomatoes and a little more dressing if necessary. What's great about this is you can change up the vegetables and add seasonings. I have even thrown in chopped ham and chopped cheese before serving. I would not leave the cheese in the salad for too long as it will start to dissolve.
Dessert wise I like pudding based desserts as you can use instant pudding (no cooking) and they are usually a hit with guests or kids. One recipe I do is a banana pudding. In a large bowl, I combine 8 ounces sour cream, 8 ounces whipped topping, 2 small packages package instant vanilla pudding mix and 4 cups of milk. Stir well. In the bottom of a glass casserole dish or other glass serving dish, I put a layer of vanilla wafer cookies (takes a big box), then a layer of pudding mixture, then a layer of bananas. I use a total 4 or 5 bananas depending on the size of the bananas. I repeat the cooking-pudding- banana layering until I run out of ingredients. Refrigerate until serving. The thing about this recipe some people like to use more cookies or more bananas. I always try new recipes
on family before I serve them to guests. :)
However you cook in the summer be careful with grills and make it a great summer.