Well, maybe a little more than a minute, but this week we’re talking about suppers that can get you out of the kitchen very quickly. It’s summertime and no one wants to spend extra time in the kitchen when they could be outside enjoying the beautiful mild weather we’re experiencing. While many people take advantage of the long evenings to cook their meals outdoors on a grill, some still prefer to prepare dinner indoors. But summer meals all have one requirement — speed! No one wants to heat up the kitchen and slave over a hot stove for hours. The need for ease and simplicity is paramount.
To that end we’ve come up with a selection of recipes that will get you out of the kitchen in less time than it takes to read this column. We’d also like to cut down on your shopping and clean-up time, so most use only a few ingredients and none require more than two pots. You’ll also find these recipes to be economical and many ingredients are already in your pantry.
Grilled Chicken & Nectarine Salad
Summertime is also the right time for salad dinners. All-in-one suppers that are salad-based are light and flavorful without lots of work. The chicken in the salad can be prepared on a grill pan indoors or on your gas or charcoal grill outside. If you’re really in the mood to cheat, you can pick up 2 grilled chicken cutlets at your local deli!
1 pound chicken cutlets, either breast or dark meat
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons apricot preserves or jam, divided
4 ripe but firm fresh nectarines, halved and pitted
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 8-ounce bag romaine or mixed greens
Preheat grill or grill pan to high. Pound or butterfly cutlets to an even thickness. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Grease the grill rack or pan with a piece of oil-dampened paper towel.
Grill the chicken, turning once, for 10 minutes. Brush the chicken with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145°F, 2 to 5 minutes more.
Grill apricot or nectarine halves on the cooler part of the grill, turning occasionally, until tender and have developed grill marks, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken and apricots to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon preserves, vinegar, shallot, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.
Cut the fruit into wedges and the chicken into slices. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and add the sliced fruit and chicken. Add the nuts. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Pasta with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 pound fusilli or other medium-sized pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
1 pound chicken breast, cut in 1/2 inch strips
8 to 10 garlic cloves, crushed in a press
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup fresh parsley, checked and minced
salt and pepper to taste
Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, and set aside to soften for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large covered pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (“firm to the tooth”).
While the pasta cooks, in a small pan on low heat, heat the oil and add garlic. Sauté until golden. Add chicken strips and sauté until just cooked through. Set aside and reserve oil with garlic. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, reserving the soaking liquid. Cut the tomatoes into thin strips.
When the pasta is done, drain it and place in a serving bowl. Add the cooked chicken and garlic oil, sun-dried tomato strips, toasted almonds, and parsley. Toss well. Stir in some of the reserved sun-dried tomato soaking liquid to moisten the pasta, if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
The hot and cold combination gives this salad a unique taste experience! It’s satisfying enough to be a light dinner on a steamy August day.
2 cups sugar snap peas
1/2 cup regular or light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon yellow or Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoons fresh dill, checked and chopped
1 bag romaine lettuce
8 ounces smoked turkey breast, cut into strips
6 slices pastrami, cut in strips
In a pot of boiling water or in a microwave-safe dish, cook peas, covered, for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
In bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar and dill. Either in a microwave or small skillet, heat turkey breast and pastrami slices until heated through.
Arrange romaine lettuce on 4 plates. Add peas, turkey strips, and pastrami slices. Top with dressing.
One should consult a Rav regarding checking of problematic vegetables and herbs for infestation.