Welcome. There is no doubt that August is here — the month for hot days, warm nights and finding ways to stay cool.
Summer is the time when we all try to find ways to keep the heat out of the kitchen. Using a crock-pot, grilling out and keeping the use of the oven to a minimum are just a few ways to reduce the heat in your kitchen.
Keeping the menu on the light side also helps as heavy food tend to heat up the body.
Two for one
One of my suggestions for not only a quick summer meal but a way to spread out the budget is with “2 for 1” meals. Visit your local supermarket and pick up a couple of rotisserie chickens which will give you a hot entree without turning on the oven.
Serve it with some corn on the cob and a salad. You now have meal #1. After your dinner meal, take a few minutes to prepare chicken salad for the next night’s dinner.
Start by cutting the remaining chicken in small cubes. To this I add celery, onion, sliced grapes, raisins and nuts. Combine these ingredients and mix in mayo, salt and pepper to taste. (The chicken will absorb the mayo so make sure your salad is very moist.)
You now have the makings of chicken salad. You can serve this salad on a leaf of lettuce on a plate or serve it in a croissant for a great sandwich served with chips and fresh veggies. Tomorrow night you’ll be glad that your dinner entree is ready to eat and meal #2 is ready to go.
New on the shelf
Speaking of mayo, I would like to suggest one of favorite new condiments. I have always used Hellmann’s mayonnaise but have now switched to Duke’s, a product once sold only in the South.
Recently I found it in Kroger and Walmart. It is the best … great texture and consistency and with a wonderful tangy flavor. It costs a few cents more but I found it worth every penny.
One of my favorite grill-out meats is chicken wings. If you are one of those who think BBQ has to be a tomato-based sauce, this is the recipe for you to try.
To create “dry” wings (ribs are great, too) you will need to prepare a dry rub which you will rub on your wings before you grill. Mix up the rub (recipe included below) then dry off in a paper towel. Completely coat the wings with the mixture and rub into the meat. Place wings in a large plastic bag and refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready to use. (Prepare them early in the day for a quick dinner.) Spray grill with non-stick spray and grill to your liking.
These wings can also be prepared in the oven. Prepare as above then place wings on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Cook on 425 degrees turning twice until golden brown and wings are free of red juices (about 20 minutes). Either grilled or cooked in the oven you now have tasty dry-rubbed wings which can be eaten alone or dipped in your favorite BBQ sauce.
Great used on grilled wings and ribs
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
Juice of one lemon or lime
4 teaspoons coarse ground pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2-4 teaspoons salt (depending on your taste)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 – 1 teaspoons cayenne red pepper (depending on your taste)
2 tablespoons canola oil
Mix all of the above ingredients together until completely blended. The mixture should not be wet but should have a slightly damp feel. Add additional oil 1 teaspoon at a time if needed to have that damp consistency. Store mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. When ready to use, liberally coat wings or ribs (refrigerate if prepared early in day) and place on a cooling cookie rack to let set for 15-20 minutes. Grill as per your regular grilling method. Watch wings in the last few minutes as the sugar in the rub will cause them to brown quickly.
NOTE: Make sure wings/ribs are completely dry to help rub cling to meat.
CHERRY COKE SALAD
A tangy fruit salad that goes great with any summer entree.
1 – 15 oz can dark sweet cherries and juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 large pkg of cherry Jell-O
1 cup crushed pineapple (use in juice type)
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup Coke
Bring cherries, water and sugar to boil, remove from heat and stir in cherry Jell-O. Stir in pineapple (plus juice) and nuts. Mix well. Gradually pour Coke in Jell-O mixture. (Stir mixture as you add Coke as it become very foamy). Pour into 9” square glass baking dish. Chill.
Sheryl Sollars, a Clinton County native, is an accomplished cook and homemaker. She contributes her column Welcome to My Kitchen out of her love of homemaking and of sharing her thoughts with her readers. If you have cooking questions or a recipe you want to share, please contact Sheryl at email@example.com.