Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Quick and Cool Meals - Don’t Slave Over a Hot Stove When the Weather is Hot

Fit & Healthy Kids Guide
When it gets warm outside, no one wants to stay in the kitchen. Also, the heat diminishes the appetite for heavy foods. Give that stove a rest and turn to lighter meals that are quick and easy.

During the spring and summer, farmer’s markets and grocery stores are teeming with fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are simple yet healthy foods. Most need little preparation to make them yummy.

Use these items to fashion meals for your family. Very little prep time is involved and everyone gets a cool treat. Use spices to add zest to the meal instead of heavy sauces and marinades.

Salads are big when the weather is warm. Lettuce comes in a variety of shapes and tastes. It can be used as a base or as a part of the salad.

If lettuce is an integral part of your salad, don’t drown the taste with too much salad dressing. Purchase or make your own oil and vinegar dressing for salads. Oil and vinegar gives a light taste and you can add spices to the dressing for different flavors.

Lettuce can also be a platform from which to build another type of salad. Macaroni, chicken, turkey, shrimp, and potato salads are popular meal ideas when it gets hot. The salads include meat, vegetables, and starch for a complete meal.

Most meats can be purchased already cooked. For potato salad, you can buy it from the store or boil the potatoes yourself. If you choose to boil them, make sure that you boil enough for several salads.

Macaroni salad is a lunch (with fruit) or dinner (alone) choice that is filling. Begin by boiling the macaroni, depending on the size of your family, six to eight cups of macaroni should be enough for a large salad. While the macaroni cooks, chop up boiled eggs and drain two cans of chunk tuna in water. Boiled eggs are another food that can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you need them.

If you like onions, mince a half to a whole medium onion. Set all of these things aside. When the macaroni is cooled, add the chopped eggs, onions, tuna, and relish to the macaroni. Finally, add a cup of mayonnaise (can use light or fat free) and half a cup of mustard to the bowl. Mix thoroughly and chill.

Good meals don’t have to be made in a hot kitchen using the oven. Ingredients for quick meals are as close as your grocery store and take little time to prepare. Your family will be happy, healthy, and asking for more.

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