Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Never Too Hot for a Frugal Meal

Photo by Rooey202
Whew, it's hot here -- after a month of June with temperatures well below normal, summer has announced itself with a rush of heat. My garden is happy, but I'm wilting! What does a frugal family do for meals when it gets so hot you don't even want to go near the kitchen? Resist the temptation of fast food or pricey take out food! With just a few pantry staples, you can prepare "cool" meals even in the hottest weather, for a frugal price! It's as easy as one, two, three (or four)!

Your first option for a no cook meal is salads.
  • Step 1 - Protein. Beans, tofu, as well as the more traditional chicken, ham, salmon, tuna, as well as hard boiled eggs, and cheese (how about feta or cubed sharp cheddar) all work well. Also nuts (toasted walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pecans are great!) are a tasty addition.
  • Step 2 - Veggies! shredded, sliced, chopped... fresh veggies are best (tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, asparagus, onions, peppers -- it's summer time, so you've got lots of choices!), though canned or frozen corn, and frozen peas will do as well.
  • Step 3 - Serve over shredded lettuce OR toss with pasta or rice and top with your favorite dressing.
Another cool frugal meal option is sandwiches or wraps. This is my family's favorite option. The four main components of this are:
  1. a bread: whatever suits your fancy, from sliced bread to sandwich rolls to tortillas to pita bread, 
  2. a protein: sliced deli meats, hummus (make it yourself!), refried beans, leftover meats (chicken, ham), sliced or shredded cheeses, or tofu; 
  3. other filling: chopped or shredded veggies (carrots, zucchini are great!), sprouts, and finally 
  4. a dressing of some sort (plain mayo, vinaigrette, spice it up with some fresh herbs, whatever you prefer)
Get creative and have fun! How about serving your salad in a wrap? Whatever you choose, enjoy your COOL creations!

Need more tips for hot weather cooking? Check out lots of summer cooking tips at Works for Me Wednesday!

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