TOO HOT TO COOK?: Recipes for summer meals and treats

August 5, 2016

Takeout can look awfully tempting these days. Instead, why not take advantage of a rotisserie chicken, summer’s juicy fruit at its best, and the slow cooker for both everyday meals and a party-time treat?

You’ll spend more time enjoying these dishes than you did putting them together, I promise. 

Photo courtesy of Andrea S. Mink

Photo courtesy of Andrea S. Mink


 Makes 4 servings

Pick up a store-bought rotisserie chicken and you can have a tasty chicken salad on your table in no time flat. Serve a scoop of salad alongside your favorite munchable veggies. Or, make a platter of sandwiches or romaine leaves topped with salad.


2/3 cup fat free Greek yogurt

¼ cup light mayonnaise

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

¾ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled between fingers

¼ teaspoon sweet paprika

Make dressing:  Stir dressing ingredients together in measuring cup. Set aside.


2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast, skin removed before shredding

2 medium ribs celery, sliced about ¼-inch thick (about ¾ cup)

1/3 cup shredded carrots

3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

Make salad: 

Stir salad ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.

Pour dressing over chicken. Stir well to combine. Chill, covered, 30 minutes or up to overnight before serving. 

Tip: Scoop yogurt and mayo into dry measuring cups and level off the top with the back of a table knife.

Nutrition information per serving: 170 calories; 7g fat; 0g saturated fat; 55 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 7 g total carbohydrate; 1 g dietary fiber;  3 g sugars; 20 g protein; 35% RDA Vitamin A; 10% RDA Vitamin C; 6% RDA Calcium; 2 % RDA Iron

Photo courtesy of ivanmatee

Photo courtesy of ivanmatee


Citrus Mint Vinaigrette

Makes 1 serving

Lunch for one can’t get any easier than filling a bowl with salad greens then topping it off with chunks of rotisserie chicken and fresh, juicy nectarine slices. The sprinkling of turmeric adds a touch of flavor intrigue. Just multiply the recipe to serve more.


1 tablespoon orange juice

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint

Small pinch cayenne

Use a fork to whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Set aside.


3 cups romaine salad greens

¾ cup cubed rotisserie chicken breast, skin removed

1 unpeeled medium-sized nectarine, sliced into ¼- inch wide wedges

¼ to ½ teaspoons turmeric

To make salad:  Toss salad greens, chicken and nectarine slices together in a serving bowl.  Sprinkle turmeric over the top and toss gently.

Drizzle dressing over the top. Toss.  Serve immediately. 

Nutrition information per serving: 250 calories; 8 g fat; 1.5 g saturated fat; 50 mg cholesterol; 330 mg sodium; 25 g total carbohydrate; 6 g dietary fiber;  15 g sugars; 24 g protein; 260% RDA Vitamin A; 90% RDA Vitamin C; 6% RDA Calcium; 10 % RDA Iron

Artwork courtesy of Inides

Artwork courtesy of Inides


Makes 9 (½ cup) servings

A cross between a cakey cobbler and a fruity spongy cake, this almost magical recipe is a take on the classic French dessert, clafouti.  It’s especially fun to be able to serve a warm, peachy dessert without turning on the oven.

Cooking spray

Coat 5 ½ quart slow cooker with cooking spray


3 (15-ounce) cans sliced peaches in 100% juice, drained well and juice reserved

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Stir peaches, sugar and spices together in the prepared slow cooker.  Add ¼ cup of the reserved juice. Stir well. Set aside.


3 tablespoons trans-fat free soft tub margarine

½ cup white whole wheat flour

½ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup 1% milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

Melt the margarine and set aside.

Whisk the flours and baking powder together in a medium bowl.  Add sugar and whisk well.

Whisk vanilla into milk.  Whisk in the egg, whisking well to combine. Pour over flour mixture. Stir until almost combined.  Stir in melted margarine.

Pour batter over the peaches.  Stir gently to combine the batter and the peaches. Cover the cooker and cook on low heat for 3 hours, or until top of the batter is spongy firm and springs back when you touch it lightly.  Remove cover and set aside.

The dessert is very hot. Let cool, uncovered, about 30 minutes before serving.

Refrigerate any leftovers in a covered bowl overnight. 

Kitchen Tip: Sweeten your iced tea with a little of the reserved fruit juice instead of sugar.

Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories; 4.5 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 150 mg sodium; 36 g total carbohydrate; 2 g dietary fiber; 23 g sugars; 4 g protein; 10% RDA Vitamin A; 6 % RDA Vitamin C; 6% RDA Calcium; 4 % RDA Iron

Cooking questions? Email me at