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The entire Midwest, Chicago included, is in the middle of an immense heat wave. Heat indices are not expected to be less than 100 for at least the next few days. Cool recipes are wanted here. I use an indoor grill pan when it's too hot to grill outside.

Cut chicken breasts into tenders, about the size of your finger. Marinate in your favorite Italian dressing. Or you can go Greek by combining olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. Grill quickly, serve warm on romaine leaves, grape tomatoes and black olives with extra dressing. WARNING-do not use marinade from raw chicken on the salad. Always make extra for table use. Sirloin steak works well here too.

Go meatless and Greek style again. Toss garbanzo beans with chopped onions, celery, pitted kalamata olives and crumbled feta cheese. Dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with dried oregano. Cut pita bread into quarters, brush lightly with olive oil and grill quickly. Serve with garbanzo salad.

We've had a few tomatoes from the garden and sometimes we just slice them and eat with Italian dressing for a light and cool supper. Finish with colorful sweet and cool melon balls.

Add halved cherry toms, black olives, salami and mozzarella cubes, and chopped celery to cooked and chilled bowtie pasta. Again, Italian dressing works well or just about any non sweet Italian style vinaigrette.

Even though grilled cheese is great in winter with a bowl of hot soup, they also work well in hot summer fare. Try different cheeses besides American. Sharp cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, or Colby jack all work well individually or combined. Here's another place for sliced homegrown tomatoes. There are few things better than a grilled cheddar, Swiss and tomato! I could eat them every day.

So be a little creative this hot summer and think beyond salad.


Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 8:26 AM by Dean's Team


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