Beat The Heat

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

There’s nothing worse than turning on the oven when the temp in your car reads 111 F.  There are so many ways to make a great meal without using the oven.   I love preparing stir-fries and pastas with the fresh vegetables and herbs.   And what a great time to dust off the Panini Maker.  Enjoy salads, wraps, sushi and of course, dining out.


Chicken Caesar Sliders

recipe from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts (I used Chicken Breasts)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite Caesar dressing (I used Brianna’s Asiago Caesar)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons of dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 12 slider buns or 4-6 regular sized hamburger buns

Place chicken in a 3-4 quart slow cooker with 1-2 cups of water, cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.
Remove chicken from cooker using a slotted spoon and drain the water from the slow cooker. Place chicken on a cutting board and pull chicken into shreds, discarding any fat.
Place chicken back in the cooker and pour dressing, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper over the top. Stir until mixed evenly. Cover and cook on high heat for 30 minutes or until mixture is hot.
Spoon 1/4 cup mixture onto each slider bun if you are making sliders or more for regular sized buns. Top with extra shredded Parmesan cheese and lettuce to serve.


Strawberry Turkey Panini with Basil & Brie


  • 1 (8-oz.) Brie round
  • 8 Italian bread slices
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper jelly
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Garnish: strawberry halves


  1. 1. Trim and discard rind from Brie. Cut Brie into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Layer 4 bread slices evenly with turkey, basil leaves, strawberries, and Brie.
  2. 2. Spread 1 1/2 tsp. pepper jelly on 1 side of each of remaining 4 bread slices; place bread slices, jelly sides down, on top of Brie. Brush sandwiches with melted butter.
  3. 3. Cook sandwiches, in batches, in a preheated panini press 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish, if desired.
  4. Note: For testing purposes only, we used Braswell’s Red Pepper Jelly. To prepare sandwiches without a panini press, cook in a preheated grill pan over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden.


Lemon Risotto with Peas, Tarragon, and Leeks


  • 1 cup fresh green peas
  • 4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped leek (about 2)
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 cup uncooked Carnaroli or Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. 1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add peas; boil 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Bring Homemade Chicken Stock to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  2. 2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and shallots to pan; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 30 seconds or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup stock; cook 4 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Stir in cheese, rind, juice, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat; stir in tarragon and butter.


Creamy Jalapeno Dip


  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 16 oz. Sour Cream
  • 1-2  Japapeno, chopped and seeds removed
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1 Roasted Garlic Dip Mix from Annie’s Gourmet

Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until well blended.  Refrigerate dip 2 hours before serving.  Serve with your favorite vegetable, chips or crackers.


Method:  GRILL

Grilled Shrimp and Arugula Salad


  • 1 pound easy-peel medium shrimp, peeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 slices crusty Italian bread
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bunch arugula (about 3 oz.), washed and dried
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges and halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prepare grill. Toss shrimp with 1 Tbsp. oil. Transfer to grill and cook, turning, until charred and firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer cooked shrimp to a large salad bowl.
  2. Brush bread with remaining oil and then grill, turning it occasionally, until toasted on both sides, about 5 minutes. Rub toast slices with garlic clove. Transfer toast to a board and cut into cubes; add cubes to bowl with shrimp, followed by vinegar, lemon peel and salt. Toss mixture well. Add arugula and tomato, season with pepper, and toss again.

Remember to drink lots of water and limit sun exposure during extreme heat.   We like to catch up on the latest movies- double feature please and the large popcorn.

It’s a Wrap!




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