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
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
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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
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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
I'm also a huge fan of cheese, crackers, pepperoni, and a good red wine.
Fresh Fruith Smoothies
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
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
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
I even like to have a couple of green onions with this, just for the bite.
Chocolate Pudding with Cool Whip
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.
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 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)