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  1. With states being shut down yet again, and the heat of summer upon us, I thought I might share some of the summer heat recipes I use a lot....keeping the kitchen a bit cooler to lessen the strain on our old air conditioner is a priority for us when the temps get over 85 degrees! Im sure I am not the only one that grew up pre-air-conditioning and learned to cook this way as a matter of course....(remember sleeping on the porch??) So for those of us not lucky enough to have a summer kitchen here are the things I do: BASIC TENETS 1. Use the grill as much as possible (naturally) 2. Cook in the morning when it is cooler, and refrigerate until dinner time 3. Keep iced water & treats (freezer pops are cheap) on hand for cooling snacks 4. Crock pot recipes really shine in the summer....as do recipes for electric frypans. This way you heat the pan, not the room! SOME OF MY BASIC GO-TOS 1. Macaroni Salad: mine is a basic one, cooked macroni elbows, miracle whip, minded green peppers, celery, onions, and pickle relish if you have it (or chop up a pickle) Add whatever you like to jazz it up - leftover cooked meats are great. 2. Potato Salad: potatoes, dressing of choice (I like hald sour cream, half miracle whip or mayo) chopped celery & onions. Add eggs for protein. The men I make this for on occasion like chopped bacon (for them bacon is a separate food group!) or bacon bits. This is sturdy enough to satisfy as a main dish 3. Baked beans, chili, butter beans, etc in the crock pot. Hot or cold these are relished (yes even cold chili). 5. Cooler corn: Husk corn, boil up a large pot of water. Do this in the morning. Put the corn and the boiling water in a cooler (Make sure it will not be ruined by the hot water, styrofoam might not work, but an igloo type should). Close it up. It will cook and be ready in a couple of hours, for lunch. You might have to reheat the water if waiting for dinner, depending on how much the cooler cooled down. This is a variation of haybox cooking (older than dirt) popular for large corn feasts, as a cooler can hold a lot of corn. Again I remember eating corn as a main meal, with sides of baked beans and pickles. We ate what was plentiful in the garden, and this time of year it was....corn, with watermelopn iced down in a washtub for dessert. If tomatoes were overrunning the kitchen a "fire and ice" salad (tomatoes, sliced onions, dressing). Good for large family reunions. 6. Soft tacos or quesadillas: put whatever you like in it. Grill the quesadillas on the grill. For soft tacos, just fold over (easier than wraps) and chow down. 7. Cold cut roll ups: nice for those watching their carbs. Lay out slices of cold meat, layer with cheese slices, smear with mayo if you like it in there. Some folks use a pickle spear to roll around in the middle, others don''t. Pretty on a cold cut tray with pickles. 8. Grilled cheese sandwiches (with whatever you have around to put inside). With an electric frypan the heat is more direct, like on a grill, and the kitchen does not heat so bad. (heck, take it outside with an extension cord & cook on the picnic table!) We use grilled cheese with ham, or bacon, or chiken cold cuts, or even fried eggs. Nice with fresh tomatoes, but a little messy to eat. 9. Pizza on the grill. 10. Devilled egg plate (my DHs favorite in the summer): devilled eggs, well chilled, with cheese fingers, and assorted garden veggies cut for eating by hand, with a dressing to dip in (he loved ranch). Arrange restaurant style in a circle on a plate. (Add a hot cup of coffee if you are one of those folks like me who does not feel they "ate" without something hot, LOL. ) Im sure there are many more hot weather meals I have not thought of. But with our wonky economy right now, keeping the air conditioning bills down is a real help with stretched budgets, and the old timey summer recipes are helpful once again.
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