Your Favorite Summer Foods and Recipes

"What do you eat when it's hot?" asks Beliefnet reader, mountain_man. Do you sip on a cold bowl of gazpacho, reach for cubed pieces of watermelon or rely on the ice cream in your freezer?

Our readers share some of their favorite foods to eat when there's a heat wave (including a chocolate cake that's "baked" in the microwave), and the only thing to do is to turn off the stove and raid the refrigerator for whatever is quick and easy.

Read these favorite summer foods and share your own.

Editor's Note: The recipes featured here have not been tested by Beliefnet.

Gazpacho with a Ham Sandwich

Shared by mountain_man
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It's almost 9:30 pm and it just got down to 80 degrees. It was 110 degrees on my front porch (in the shade with no breeze) at 3pm. Then, add to that all the smoke from all the fires around the state. Visibility was about 2 miles. Needless to say, I didn't feel like cooking or eating anything that was even warm.

Usually, I make a big salad with fake crab and Thousand Island dressing. It's cold and filling.

Today I experimented. I took a can of tomato soup I stuck in the fridge last night and mixed it with a can of cold water. Add some chopped onions and some hot sauce, and you have gazpacho. The soup and a ham sandwich made a nice dinner.

Hummus and Crackers

Shared by red_verge
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I like making mezze platters with hummus, baba ganoush, cold beets with cilantro, and Greek yogurt with feta and cucumbers. You can eat all that stuff by themselves or with pita bread, crackers, and chopped vegetables. 

Recently, I've rediscovered Marino's Italian ices, which are good to have in the freezer. Just water and sugar. Delicious, delicious water and sugar.

Now I'm hungry.

Fat-Free Hot Dogs

Shared by ItsAllALie
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If I'm in the mood for something hot, fat-free hot dogs cooked on my George Forman grill works well. It doesn't heat the house up, and you don't have to stand over intense heat like you do with a regular grill.

I also like to keep some boxed pasta mixes in the house. Ranch is my favorite, and I just substitute low-fat Miracle Whip for the mayo so it's really low in fat. Tuna is wonderful mixed into that or some baby salad shrimps or fake crab might work. I have one of those pasta cookers for the microwave, which is excellent on hot days here in central Florida.

Or I use turkey bacon, the precooked kind, and make a BLT on toast. You can also skip the bacon and lettuce, and just make a tomato sandwich on toast with low-fat mayo or Miracle Whip.

Cheese and Good Red Wine

Shared by Evillynnstar
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I'm a fan of cold-cut sandwiches. Fresh tomato, nice cuts of meat, and cheese on a roll, with a spicy mustard.

I'm also a huge fan of cheese, crackers, pepperoni, and a good red wine.

Fresh Fruith Smoothies

Shared by MsCGheartofohio
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Fresh fruit makes a great smoothie, either with a few ice cubes or a frozen banana to thicken it. Sometimes, in the heat, it's easier on the digestion just to go for a smoothie or a milkshake as a meal replacement.

I really enjoy well-chilled tuna or chicken salad with lots of fresh tomato.

There's always that great old standby, a bowl of cereal.

Popsicles and Floats

Shared by taofornow
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Sherbet, Italian ice, freeze pops, popsicles, and floats (not just root beer, but combinations like lime sherbet and 7-Up). 

I also love pasta salads in the summer, if it's not too hot to cook the pasta! For a store-bought variety, one of our local stores has pasta made with small shells, finely chopped celery and red pepper, a little onion, and a dressing that resembles Thousand Island. I stir chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, and shrimp or tuna into it. Total summer comfort food.

Yogurt with Shredded Wheat

Shared by MarleneEmmett5
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In really hot weather, we like to have chopped fruit, a container of peach or vanilla yogurt, and bite-sized shredded wheat.

The fruit comes from the produce department--strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, kiwis, and cherries. Put the desired fruit over the yogurt. Eat with a cold glass of water or iced tea.

Watermelon and Cottage Cheese

Shared by aws720k
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One of my summertime favorites is chopped lettuce with a big dab of cottage cheese and cubed pieces of watermelon and cantaloupe on top. Pair with a few honey wheat crackers, and you're good to go.

I even like to have a couple of green onions with this, just for the bite.

Chocolate Pudding with Cool Whip

Shared by Tamayo
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I've become partial to preparing a small package of Jell-O instant chocolate pudding with about a 3/4 tub of Cool Whip mixed in. It makes a great filling for chocolate cream pie, but it is also great as a regular pudding or mousse!

Five-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

Even when it's too hot to bake, you've got to have chocolate cake....I am told this is wonderful and won't heat up the kitchen, either.

Shared by IreneAdler
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4 tablespoons cake flour (plain flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 egg
1 coffee mug

Mix dry ingredients first in the mug. Add the egg and mix.

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.

Add the chocolate chips (if you're using) and vanilla extract. Mix and make sure all ingredients are thoroughly blended.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.

The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.


Serves: 1 (2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous)

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