What's for Dinner? Summer Recipes That Don't Require an Oven
by Mr Yellow
It's summertime and the living is easy!
We couldn't be more excited about the longer days, time at the beach and a trip (or two) abroad. There is only one thing that is irksome about the rising temperatures - cooking feels like an incredibly tedious chore and your oven will turn your kitchen into a sauna in minutes. However, despair not! We've rounded up some truly scrumptious dinner ideas that do not require an oven but still make for a great meal.
Sweet Potato Feta Salad
We're all familiar with the classic potato salad during the warmer months and the carb mayo combo is certainly one of those comfort foods that takes us back to our childhood summers. However, if you'd like a lighter take on the beloved summer staple, look no further than our sweet potato feta salad.
This yummy salad could not be easier to do - bring a large pot of water to a boil, chop three large sweet potatoes into chunks and let them cook for about 15 minutes or until tender, drain and cool. Once the sweet potato chunks have cooled down, add three tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add crumbled up feta cheese and a sprinkling of your favourite green salad leaves for an element of freshness, and you're good to go!
Apart from tasting delicious, sweet potatoes also happen to be chock-full of vitamins and nutrients so you don't have to feel guilty about taking a second helping of this one.
Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos
Your slow cooker is probably your BFF when it comes to nourishing winter soups so you may not associate it with the warmer months. However, it's time to rethink this - a slow cooker does all the work for you without heating up the kitchen. So, why not let it prepare dinner while you catch up on your favourite series in the comfort of your air-conditioned sitting room?
You can cook anything from a pork shoulder to a big batch of veggies in your slow cooker but our favourite way to enlist the help of this trusty kitchen gadget is by making chicken tacos for dinner. All you need to do is place a kilo of chicken breast in the slow cooker, sprinkle with taco seasoning, add a 500ml jar of Mexican salsa and cook on high for four hours. When the chicken is ready, shred it and place it on a serving dish. Prepare your tacos together with a range of toppings (such as sour cream, guacamole, chopped cilantro, salsa, bell peppers, sweet corn and tomatoes) and let everyone help themselves to their favourite combo.
Crack open a cold one and you've got yourself a feast fit for a king!
Grilled Salmon Steak
Summer is synonymous with barbequing, however, this doesn't mean that you have to grill burgers and sausages every night. So, fire up the BBQ and cook salmon steaks instead. Mix 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup soy sauce, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a tablespoon of lemon juice, pour over four salmon steaks and let them marinade in the mixture for about 30 minutes. Brush your grill with oil before cooking your fish for 6 to 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
Add a few jacket potatoes to the grill with a salad on the side and the meal is complete!
Caprese Pasta Salad
We just love the distinctive taste of a caprese salad but we also love our carbs; so this heartier take on the classic Italian dish is bound to satisfy even the biggest of appetites. Simply boil 300g pasta according to the package's instructions, drain and cool. In the meantime, halve 200g cherry tomatoes, chop some basil leaves and toss with mini mozzarella balls, seasoning and balsamic vinegar to taste. Let it chill in the fridge so that the pasta absorbs all the aromas...easy peasy and full of flavour!
Pizza on the Grill
Here's a dinner recipe idea you probably weren't seeing coming…yes, you can cook pizza on your grill! All you need is a nifty BBQ pizza stone (ask one of the BBQ equipment shops across Malta and Gozo for availability) and you'll be able to transform your grill into a pizza oven. The grill gives a delicious smoky flavour and the stone helps to crisp up the dough quite nicely. So, if you're a pizza buff but you don't want to be slaving over a hot oven during the summer, then this is the thing for you...and no one is going to complain about pizza for dinner!
Summer cooking probably doesn't get easier than foil packets!
The beauty of this cooking method is that you can throw together a variety of ingredients on a piece of foil and before you know it you've got yourself a lovely meal with minimal washing up.
How about combining together chopped zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms with a little olive oil and seasoning? Wrap up the foil packets and cook them on the grill for about 10 minutes.
Serve alongside some lemony couscous and a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio.
Shrimp skewers scream summer!
Visit a trusted fishmonger for some lovely fresh shrimps and make these skewers for a relaxed Friday night dinner, when you have a little extra time on your hands. Toss 500g large shrimps with 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, a chopped garlic clove and parsley and let them absorb the flavours for at least 15 minutes. Thread shrimps on the skewers (don't forget to soak wooden skewers before using to prevent them from burning) and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Serve with a side of rice for a filling (but healthy) meal!
Rice Noodle Salad
Here's the recipe for you if you're partial to Asian flavours.
Stir fry 350g thinly sliced coloured bell peppers and onions with minced garlic, 1/4 soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sesame oil and a little honey. Rice noodles couldn't be easier to prepare since you'll only need to submerge 300g in boiling water for a few minutes before adding them to the vegetable mixture.
Let your noodle salad cool, refrigerate and enjoy!
Tuna Rice Salad
Is it even summer if tuna rice salad doesn't make it to the dinner menu? Every Maltese family probably has its own version of this recipe (and predictably everyone thinks that their mum or grandma makes the best version) with some featuring hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers or sweet corn while others may not. The base, however, will invariably include rice, tomatoes, tuna, a finely chopped onion, olives and capers.
We suggest using 500g rice, two large cans of tuna, 6 large chopped tomatoes, a handful of chopped olives and an onion. This will make a big bowl with enough leftovers for lunch the next day...in fact, we think that the leftovers may taste even better!
A sweet tooth is always a sweet tooth and it will not be dissuaded in summer. So, make the most of super juicy peaches that are in season during the warm months and grill a few on the BBQ. Grilling peaches brings out their natural sweetness and makes them even more delicious. Make sure that the heat is set to a minimum before placing peach halves face down (it helps if you brush them with a little flavourless cooking oil to avoid sticking) and cook for a few minutes until grill marks form.
Serve the peaches warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of honey...simply delightful!
We couldn't conclude this round-up without mentioning the quintessential summer dessert recipe - s'mores. There is no actual cooking involved here and all you'll have to do is assemble three ingredients for an incredibly indulgent dessert. The original rendition calls for graham crackers as the base, however, since these are more of an American thing they can easily be substituted with digestive biscuits. Simply place a digestive biscuit on a piece of foil, layer a piece of chocolate and marshmallow on top before sandwiching it with another biscuit. Wrap up the foil around your s'more and place on the second shelf of your BBQ and grill on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
If you're not firing up the grill, you can easily make your s'mores in the microwave. Just prepare them in the same manner as above but instead of wrapping up in foil, place on a plate and microwave on high for about 20 seconds.
Summer is truly the season to kick back and take things easy. So, why should you overthink what you eat? Choose one of our dinner recipes and whip up a good meal without breaking a sweat.
Keep discovering local with Yellow!