Behind My Red Door

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The mercury is approaching 100 - what's for dinner?

Happy Wednesday and thanks for stopping in! Yeah - I think the heat wave has broken! The high for today is supposed to top out at 85 and be a bit less humid. I'd prefer 75 and dry, but I'll take it - how about you?

After a long cool spring, it has taken my rusty brain awhile to get back into the summer menu mood. But when DH planned to bring home a friend for dinner, it was great motivation to get my squeaky gears spinning once again. I needed something that wouldn't heat up the kitchen and something that would hold well for a 'not so specific' dinner time. I decided to make a taco salad bar. Who doesn't like tacos?

Looks good doesn't it?

Early in the morning I got out one of my favorite kitchen tools - my Nesco 4 qt oven. It is similar to a rectangle shaped crock pot, but you can actually set the specific cook temp if you want, and it has a circle of heat rather than just on the bottom. I use it often in the cool months and in the warm weather as well. I also own a 6 quart oval one - I make all my stews and spaghetti sauce in that one, and a really big 18 quart one -that has cooked our turkey every Thanksgiving for many, many years and made more batches of chili for the football team than I can count on both hands and feet. Did I say I like my Nesco's?

Early yesterday I put a pound of ground turkey breast in the 4 quart Nesco, put it on low and I walked away. When it was cooked through, I broke it up, added my taco seasonings, masa flour, and some water, turned it on low and walked away again. Perfect taco meat every time. And it does not heat up the kitchen.

And then I began the line up, in addition to the corn chips, I had homemade guacamole, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and Vidalia onions, shredded cheddar cheese (shh - don't tell the guys it was low fat - for that matter - don't tell them it was turkey either!), salsa, sliced black olives and some light sour cream to top it all off. It's a perfect meal for a hot summer day - especially following a cool margarita or a limeade.

Each person can add just what they want and in the amounts they want. I go heavy on the lettuce, tomatoes and onion, and David goes heavy on the meat and cheese of course (hence the lighter versions). It is one of our favorites during the summer months. What's on your table when the mercury climbs too high?? Let us know and feel free to show us as well! After cooking for a family for almost 33 years, I know I can always use more easy healthy quick and cool meal ideas!

Until next time - hugs, Linda