As I sat down this morning to plan our dinner menu for the coming week, I noted the upcoming forecast — hot, hotter and really hot. Couple that with warnings of possible rolling blackouts as Californians strain the state’s power grid, and it seemed like a good week to plan some cool meals.
I turned to Facebook for inspiration, as I often do:
COOL DINNER SUGGESTIONS? Since we’re staring down the ugliest, hottest week of the summer, what are your favorite cool dinner ideas – minimal cooking time, easy to eat when it’s this hot, etc.?
Bonus points for ideas that can be made without power, since we may also face rolling outages due to the stress on the power grid.
The responses were so varied and inspiring (56 comments so far!) that I thought I share here for others.
Lots of friends had varied salad suggestions, which could be main courses or sides:
- Watermelon salad
- Chef salad
- Pasta salad
- Tuna salad
- Chicken salad
- Greek chicken salad
- Shrimp salad
- Green salad
- Caprese salad
Others suggested grilling a variety of meats early in the day, then using them for meals throughout the week.
One friend suggested doing chicken breasts in the crock pot for a shredded chicken taco bar (on the menu for Wednesday!).
Other random suggestions:
- Sushi or deconstructed sushi rolls
- Deli sandwiches (doing that this evening)
- Cucumber avocado gazpacho soup
- Shrimp cocktails
- Turkey roll-ups
Several people mentioned incorporating shredded rotisserie chicken into various meals as an easy way to add protein without heating up the oven. That’s already in my playbook — I get one every time we go to Costco, divvy up the meat (usually four portions per bird) and keep it on hand in the freezer.
And of course, a number of the suggestions were to order takeout, which is definitely part of the plan.
After seeing so many great suggestions, I got the shopping done early, then came home and prepped. I made a batch of pasta salad with salami, kalamata olives, red onion, red pepper, tomatoes and feta.
I cut up a sweet ripe cantaloupe for a cool side dish or treat. And I prepped a batch of tuna salad for lunch sandwiches.
We are ready for the heat. Bring it on.
Meal plan for this week:
- Saturday: Sub sandwiches, salami pasta salad, Fresno State sweet yellow corn
- Sunday: Marinated chicken breasts (usually we grill these, but I’ll probably do them in the toaster oven tomorrow), more sweet corn
- Monday: Stir-fry cashew chicken and veggies
- Tuesday: Na’an personal pizzas
- Wednesday: Slow cooker chicken breasts for taco bar
- Thursday: Dinner with Mom
- Friday: Takeout