While the dog days of summer officially begin in a couple of days (thanks, Google!), there’s a full-on heat wave happening here in New York. With the temperature climbing and lethargy sinking in, the only dinners I feel like making are easy and oven-less. Bright, fresh, summery salads are the perfect antidote to sweltering heat and faulty AC units. This cobb salad is bursting with summer produce – fresh corn, tomatoes, avocado and chives. Plus, it has enough protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied. The only heavy lifting you’ll need to do is grill the chicken and boil eggs.
If you’re looking for more no-cook dinner inspiration, check out my recent article!
Summer Cobb Salad
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons tarragon, chopped
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 package of spring mix salad greens or arugula
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into cubes
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin, grilled brushed with some BBQ sauce at the end and cut into strips
1 avocado, cut into cubes
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chives, minced
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. On a large platter, arrange lettuce and top with rows of the tomatoes, egg, avocado, chicken and corn. Sprinkle chives over everything and season salad with salt and pepper. Pour dressing on top of salad and serve.
A wise man once told me to never discard your beet greens. Shout out to my brother, Andrew. Although these sandy bastards can be cumbersome to clean, the effort is well worth it as the result is nutritious, resourceful and most important— tasty. A tostada is like an open faced taco. Or a gigantic nacho. Smoked paprika, garlic and onions infuse the beet greens with a rich and smoky flavor and black beans add the necessary protein to make this dinner satisfying. Feel free to use any leafy green you like such as chard or kale. This dinner is a great quick and budget-friendly delight. It also helps to live in a Spanish speaking neighborhood where the queso fresco flows like Cristal in a rap video.
Smoky Beet Green & Black Bean Tostadas
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tsp olive oil
1 bunch beet greens, chopped
salt and pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup queso fresco
Heat oven to 425. In a large frying pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 2-4 minutes. Add beet greens, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes or until wilted. Add smoked paprika, oregano and black beans. Cook until beans are warmed through and mash slightly with a fork. Taste and season accordingly with more salt and pepper. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of olive oil on a cookie sheet and place the tortillas on the cookie sheet, flipping the tortillas so they are coated in the oil. Bake for 5 minutes until golden. Top each tortilla with the bean and green mixture, chopped tomatoes, a dollop of Greek yogurt, chopped cilantro and queso fresco. Serve with lime wedges.
Post-vacation depression (PVD) affects an estimated 97% of vacation goers annually. It can occur as early as your last day on the trip and linger for months, sometimes lasting until your next vacation. After returning from my honeymoon in Hawaii, I developed a severe case of PVD. It struck when I least expected— walking through hot bus exhaust set off memories of warm tropical breezes and even a dripping air conditioning unit induced flashbacks of sipping fruity cocktails in the swim-up bar. Needless to say, the transition back to reality has been rough. What can I do to cope? Fish. Taco. Therapy. In Hawaii, I ate
some of the most insanely delicious fresh fish. The fish tacos were particularly unreal. Fresh ono nestled in a flour tortilla with shredded cabbage and served with pineapple salsa. It was a thing of beauty. Unlike beef tacos, fish tacos are more refined and don’t really require as many fixings. Fresh salsa, shredded cabbage and guac is all you really need. He me iki ia (you’re welcome).
Fish Tacos with Pureed Tomato Salsa
PVD set in early…
1 lb tilapia (feel free to use any white flaky fish such as mahi mahi, snapper or cod)
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper
4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro
hot sauce (optional)
shredded green cabbage
Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Heat a frying pan with about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Rub a little oil on your fish and sprinkle with spices and salt and pepper. Cook fish about 3-5 minutes per side, or until it flakes nicely.
Pureed tomato salsa:
Adapted from Bobby Flay
Sautee garlic and onions in about a tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add tomatoes and jalapeño and cook for about 10 minutes. Add cilantro. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender. Add the juice of 1 lime, salt and hot sauce if you’re feeling frisky. Serve tacos with warm tortillas, shredded cabbage, guac, sour cream and a wedge of lime. Alcoholic beverage accompaniment encouraged.
This is a classic soup my mom always made for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Sukkot is a fall holiday, where family meals are eaten in a well decorated hut (re: Christmas lights everywhere) with a roof made of some sort of coniferous tree that also smells suspiciously like Christmas. In Cleveland, eating outside in the fall months can be downright blustery, so a hot bowl of soup loaded with meatballs and thin vermicelli noodles floating in a delicious tomatoey-soy broth was the perfect antidote to freezing your butt off in the Christmas tree hut. Naturally, when the blizz hit this week, my first instinct was to make this festive and satisfying meatball soup. While there are some additional steps to this recipe, beyond just throwing everything in a pot, it’s easy enough to prepare and features simple ingredients that are probably in your pantry already.
Chinese Meatball Soup
1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Pinch of cayenne
6 cups beef broth
1/4 lb thin noodles (vermicelli or angel hair)
Saute onions and garlic in oil until soft. Add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes over low heat. Add soy sauce, sesame seeds, cayenne and broth. Cover and simmer over low heat for an hour. Add meatballs (recipe below) to the broth and place cooked noodles in each bowl right before serving.
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Mix all ingredients together and form petite meatballs. Put them on a broiler pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Add them right to the soup.
The key to non-soggy noodles is to put them in the bowl just before ladling on the broth.
Thighs are better than breasts. There, I said it. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move forward. These chicken thighs are easy to make and full of flavor. Chickpeas, which pack a protein-rich punch, make this a hearty and filling dish. Feel free to use any spices you like, and if you’re not into spices, that’s ok too, you can just go with good ol’ S and P. You could even turn this into a one-pot (and carb-free) meal by adding veggies to the mix. Carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash or zucchini would be great in this. I served the chicken with bulgur wheat, which soaked up all that yummy tomatoey-chickpea sauce. You’re going to want to add this one to your weeknight repertoire, trust me.
The whole gang didn’t even fit in the picture!
Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Chickpeas
Adapted from Bon Appetit
4 chicken thighs
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can of chickpeas
3 tbsp tomato sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper
1 small onion (I used 3 green onions and a little bit of red onion)
2 cloves garlic
Ok, let’s be clear. I didn’t really measure my spices, I just sprinkled a good amount of each spice on the chicken thighs. But it would have been around a 1/4 tsp if I had… Preheat your oven to 425. Season thighs on both sides with all the spices and salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side for another 5 minutes. Remove thighs and put them on a plate. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of shmaltzy goodness. Throw in the chopped garlic cloves and onions and saute for about 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, chickpeas and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Place the chicken back in the pan and finish it in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.