Beat the Heat!

So here we are in the dog days of summer.  While Sirius no longer rises with the sun to signal the hottest days of the year here in Minneapolis the weather this week has been absolutely miserable!  The weather here in our beloved land of 10,000 lakes lately has most closely resembled that of the Amazon Rain Forest!  How strange when you think that just six months ago we were under several feet of snow wishing for just a little heat to help the melting process along.

When the temperatures rise the last thing most people want to do is eat right?  Those that do want to eat don’t want to be stuck in front of the stove all night.  It is bad enough to be stuck in the heat all day when you have to deal with a hot kitchen on top of things it just makes for a bad combination.  Typically the go to answer to beating the heat is what?  Anybody?  That’s right!  Take out!  Well, that gets expensive, not just for your wallet but for your waistline!  Another of those articles popped up today.  NPR reported a study that found when calorie counts were off in a restaurant 1 in 5 were off by more than 100 calories! Think about that the next time you dial-up the local pizza shop or chinese delivery place!  I know I always add several hundred extra calories to anything I order just to be safe.

So what do you eat or serve your family when it is so hot out?  Grilling out is a great option, if you can do it, but again you are standing in front of a giant furnace!  I find myself eating a lot of salads when it is this hot. I find myself mixing up traditional salads made of different types of lettuce with tomatoes and cucumbers and onions with proteins that are quickly prepped on my Cuisinart Griddler (similar to a George Foreman grill) and more funky salads like an italian hoagie salad.  The Italian hoagie salad is by far my fave of the recent ones I have had.  I shred a head of lettuce down and slice the tomato and onion as if it were going onto a hoagie (sub, grinder, sandwich).  I grab some hot pepper rings and cut up a few pickle spears and add some spices and toss them into the bowl with the salad base as well.  I cut up some lunchmeat, last time it was one ounce of turkey pepperoni and one ounce of ham.  A tablespoon of italian dressing on the side, along with a splash of vinegar and it was AWESOME!  It is I suppose just a riff on a chef salad, but it was TASTY!  Shrimp Cocktail is another quick refreshing easy tasty dinner!

I find myself doing more snacking this tie of year than actual full meal eating.   Some of my go to things are really the easiest things to make and are pretty healthy too!  I just LOVE frozen watermelon and frozen grapes (but the watermelon is my preference!  It is low in calories, so I don’t feel guilty about going back for a second or third helping of it.

One of my fave side dishes for hot weather dinners is a Hungry Girl side dish!  I often take it to potluck parties.  It is a pretty big hit with just about anyone, I mean how can you go wrong when I tell you it contains… BACON!

Hungry Girl Bacon Ranch Broccoli Slaw

  • 2/3c Fat Free Sour Cream (I actually use the Daisy Light Sour Cream,personal preference for taste texture and fewer artificial ingredients)
  • 1.5 Tbsp Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 12 Ounce Bag of Broccoli Slaw (Shredded Broccoli, Carrots, & Cabbage)
  • 1/4 Cup Precooked Crumbled Bacon (I use the Oscar Mayer Bits)

Mix the dressing mix and the sour cream together.   Add to the Broccoli Slaw mix, toss to coat evenly.  Add bacon, toss again to make sure everything is mixed up evenly.  Place in fridge for a few hours.  (This lets the bacony goodness permeate the whole slaw and the spices from the ranch to distribute!)

I put this slaw on top of burgers and serve it with BBQ chicken.  It also is a great stand alone food.  Don’t forget this is a great time of year to take advantage of things like your slow cookers too!  Just because it makes something slow and hot doesn’t mean you have to eat it hot!  Use it to cook off some pulled pork barbecue!  I found a 2-carb bbq sauce that has some artificial sweeteners in it, but if that isn’t your thing you can try Stubbs, which is lower calorie too!  Otherwise use it to cook off some chicken to make chicken salad.  You can keep the cooked meat in the fridge and use it all week!

Do you have any fave summer beat the heat dinners?  How about tips and tricks?  I have been a popsicle consuming machine.  Lots of Mio and water frozen into cups, trying to get as few calories as I can while staying cool and hydrated.

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