12 Cool Dinners Recipes For Hot Nights

Cool Dinners Recipes For Hot Nights

Come August, the heat can be overwhelming and so we are sharing recipes for sandwiches that you can prepare for a dinner or lunch on the grill outside, or in the kitchen if necessary. These sandwiches are robust and luscious so no one need feel deprived.

1. Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Onions and Mushrooms

Cool Dinners Recipes For Hot Nights
Cool Dinners Recipes For Hot Nights

The first menu is a grilled chicken sandwich with our “secret sauce” and onions and mushrooms. The salad we’ve pared with it has a bit of ham which you could forgo. For dessert we serve a fresh fruit kebab with lime cream.

2. Red Cabbage and Baby Spinach Salad

Red Cabbage and Baby Spinach Salad
Red Cabbage and Baby Spinach Salad

3. Summer Fruit Kebabs with Lime Cream

Summer Fruit Kebabs with Lime Cream
Summer Fruit Kebabs with Lime Cream

4. Grilled Vegetable and Pesto Sandwiches

Grilled Vegetable and Pesto Sandwiches
Grilled Vegetable and Pesto Sandwiches

Our second meal features a vegetarian sandwich, again using the bounty of the summer season to make an easy but delicious meal. We use multigrain rolls for our sandwich, but for guests you may want to use a rosemary focaccia or crispy Italian bread. We often substitute summer squash in this sandwich as we all know that if you grow this vegetable, you’re always on the lookout for recipes that use them. Asparagus can also be used.

5. Minted Tossed Salad

Minted Tossed Salad With Mint
Minted Tossed Salad With Mint

Whole or sliced portabello mushrooms are also excellent, as are just about any wild mushroom. We serve it with a tossed salad seasoned with summer mint. I. first saw the idea for the mixed salad with mint on Epicurious, a TV show, and tried it that night. This is our slimmed-down version. You can add or subtract mint to your taste. For dessert we offer crème fraîche and fresh summer fruit. You’ll need to make the crème fraîche a day or so ahead. It’s something we always have on hand in the refrigerator.

The sandwich recipe is one of those recipes which takes kindly to changes–grilled lean steak, butterflied leg of lamb, or sea food such as tuna or swordfish could be added to make other meals worth trying. Just watch your exchanges and portion size and enjoy. Also feel free to substitute fruits for your dessert. Papaya, pineapple, mango, and other tropical fruits are also wonderful.

6. Crème Fraîche with Peaches

Crème Fraîche with Peaches
Crème Fraîche with Peaches

7. Torta Rustica

Torta Rustica Recipe
Torta Rustica Recipe

Our third menu features a rustic loaf of bread called Torta Rustica, in which turkey Italian sausage, vegetables, and herbs are baked inside the bread dough. Although the recipe may seem complicated, it actually goes together easily. Even if you’ve not skilled at baking bread, you’ll come up a winner with this recipe.

This stunning whole meal sandwich has been the star at countless picnics, boating parties, and light suppers with friends. Recently it was transported to the local botanical gardens for a picnic at the Symphony Under the Stars. It makes 8 generous servings so invite some friends to share.

A baker friend taught us the trick of using a clean white plastic trash bag as the perfect environment for rising the dough. It eliminates the problem of air conditioning or drafts not allowing the dough to properly rise.

To proceed the sandwich (which, by the way, can be eaten out of hand), we offer plastic glasses or mugs of spicy gazpacho to sip, and follow the meal with a fresh fruit crumble that’s baked in individual 4-inch (10 cm) aluminum pie tins for easy serving at the picnic site. If you don’t already have the pie tins, you can buy them in th e housewares section of most supermarkets. They’re great to keep on hand for making individual meatloaves or shepherd’s pies.

8. Spicy Gazpacho

Spicy Gazpacho
Spicy Gazpacho

9. Plum Crumble

Plum and Blackberry Crumble
Plum and Blackberry Crumble

10. Shrimp Heroes

Shrimp Heroes Recipe
Shrimp Heroes Recipe

Our last menu features cooked shrimp purchased at your market, then transformed into a luscious shrimp salad to serve in a sandwich hero-style. With the Shrimp Hero, we’re suggesting a delicious jicama slaw with just a bite of hot peppers and cilantro. Dessert is a lovely compote of strawberries and raspberries sprinkled with red wine and other flavor enhancements.

11. Jicama Slaw

Jicama Slaw Recipe
Jicama Slaw Recipe

12. Strawberries and Raspberries in Red Wine

Strawberries and Raspberries in Red Wine
Strawberries and Raspberries in Red Wine

If you prefer, you can substitute balsamic vinegar for the red wine with good results. And, if there’s any crème fraîche leftover from your peach dessert (see above), add a dollop to this dessert if you like. This menu is so terrific, you’d better invite guests.

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