Country Kitchen: Quick Summer Recipes

Country Kitchen: Quick Summer Recipes
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During the busy days of summer my daughter and I look for quick recipes we can prepare without turning on a hot oven or make without effort after a day at work. This is a season of barbecuing, too, so the kitchen isn't so hot.
I think back to those years of childhood when Mother cooked and canned over a woodstove in the kitchen. How did we manage during the heat of summer? No wonder she often asked Father and the hired man to carry the large kitchen table outside under the trees.

We children delighted in this picnic aura. Also, it was much cooler here to prepare foods for canning....snipping beans, cutting corn from the cob, shelling peas. Usually a slight breeze wafted across the yard as our natural fan.

We'd not heard of air-conditioning in those days, so took it for granted that summer would be hot. Even though we don't have air-conditioning in our home today, we do use a multitude of fans when days are hot.

Simplifying Summer

My daughter and I also simplify summer dining by using paper plates and cups. Since we have to watch our well if there's not much rain, this is another excuse to cut down on the dish washing.

Simpler recipes include salads, foods cooked over the grill, bread made in the electric bread maker, foods prepared in the slow cooker, a larger quantity cooked when you're preparing meals so the next day you can eat cold meats or foods warmed in the microwave.

Youngsters are home throughout the summer, so we have lunch to prepare which they usually ate at school. How do we keep these meals interesting, even though a grandson would eat grilled ham and cheese sandwiches every day all summer?

Summer Recipes

Our granddaughter enjoys preparing MINI PIZZA. Toast English muffins. Place on a cookie sheet. Spread with pizza sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese has melted and sauce heated.

Variations can involve using pepperoni, minced onion, sliced mushrooms, diced green and red pepper, black olives, bits of ham or bacon with the sauce and cheese.

Prepare a PIZZA-PASTA SALAD as my daughter does. This is a nice "make ahead" dish.

In a large bowl, combine one pound cooked and drained macaroni (you can use regular, spiral, or shells) with 1 pound cubed cheddar cheese, 3 ounces sliced pepperoni, 3 medium diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, if desired.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup vegetable oil or olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, oregano and garlic powder, if desired. Pour this over the macaroni mixture.

Cover and set in refrigerator for several hours or overnight to allow flavors to mingle. Just before serving, top with seasoned croutons if you wish.

FRUIT SALAD DESSERTS - Using whatever fruit is in season, cut into a large bowl. Chill and serve topped with ice cream, vanilla pudding, or whipped topping. Sometimes you might like to place the fruit in sponge cups or on a slice of angel food cake.

(C) 2003 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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