Easy Eats: Summery Suppers

22 Jun

Supper or dinner?

Where I grew up – it was always supper. Round these parts people say ‘dinner’ and I’ve taken to calling it that. Same way with trash and garbage. Growing up it was always garbage. As in “Take out the garbage.” Which I never did. Round here its “Take out the trash.” Which I still never do.

None of this has any relevance. It’s just that I said Summery Suppers and it made me think of it.

Moving on.

It seems like all winter we ate heavy, hearty meals and these days I’ve been all about light and fresh. It’s healthier, goes better with the 110 degree temperatures and makes trips to the farmer’s market more fun. So here are some fun summery supper ideas for ya.

Chicken Salad That Isn’t Gross

I do not eat Chicken Salad, Ham Salad or Tuna Salad. Gag. But this here Chicken Salad is seriously awesome, easy and adaptable to your own preference. It’ll make a huge bowl too – we got no fewer than 8 servings from this. Serve it on croissants, thin bagels, salad, whatever.

1 whole Cut Up Fryer Chicken
2 cups (to 3 Cups) Grapes, Halved
½ cups Miracle Whip
½ cups Sour Cream
A Small (very small) Handful Of Fresh Dill, Minced
1-2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1-2 Tablespoon  Brown Sugar
Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste

Cook your whole cut up fryer chicken. It’s easy. You just put it all in a pan and boil it. Boil it rapidly for a minute or two then turn it down to a slower boil and let it go for an hour, longer if needed. Once its cooked, let it sit for a bit, then pull all the meat off. Do not include any bits of rubbery or fatty chicken substance. This will induce gagging. Or if you’re in a hurry and find no shame in paying for convenience, go ahead and get yourself a rotisserie chicken, pull it apart and get on with the assembly so you can eat earlier.

Cut up the grapes.

Make up the dressing. We liked it with the dill. I’m told its also good with a bit of Italian dressing mix. You could also spice it up. Whatever you like! Fold the chicken and grapes together with the dressing, let it chill and serve it up however you like it.

I think it would be good with a handful of chopped pecans thrown in, but I’m too cheap to buy pecans. You can also add chopped green onion and/or chopped celery. But don’t expect me to eat if you do.

ChickenBeanCornSaladStuff in a Pita

This one I got from a magazine, but I didn’t like half the ingredients so I removed them and replaced them with ones I did like. Then I changed the name. You eat this cold and its fab-u-lous. And healthy. We ate it wrapped in a pita. It would also be good over salad greens or scooped up with tortilla chips. This also made a huge bowl – 6-8 servings for sure.

4 Cups of diced up chicken (cooked and cooled) 
1/2 can of corn (drained)
1/2 can of black beans (drained)

Dressing:
6 TBSP lime juice (or just all the juice from 2 limes)
6 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP honey
4 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground black pepper

Ready your chicken – either buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and tear it apart or cook your own chicken breasts and then dice them up. I suppose if you’re going healty – the self-cooked white meat is the better option. But we just use a whole rotisserie cus we’re busy and it takes about 5 minutes to pull it apart and uses no pots or pans.

Put the chunked up chicken, corn and black beans in a large bowl and stir it up so its mixed well. Feel free to add some diced up peppers or onions or whatever you like. I like very few things, hence the lack of ingredients.

Make the dressing in a small bowl. Now, this dressing isn’t unhealthy but if you’re really working at the health thing, cut it in half. Truth be told, I doubled it. The regular amount was fine, but a bit dry and blah. The doubled amount (shown in the recipe) is way good.

Pour the dressing over the salad mixture and toss/stir to coat everything well. Chill it for a bit so the flavors mix and everything gets nice and cold. Serve it up in a pita, on top of salad or eat it with chips while standing at your kitchen counter.

Lemon Pasta

This is a PW steal. Its very different and very good! And it comes together pretty quickly with minimal dishes. Really, that’s all I require in a dinner.

1 pound Spaghetti
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Lemon, Juiced And Zested
2 cups Sour Cream
½ teaspoons Salt, Or More To Taste
Plenty Of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Flat-leaf (Italian) Parsley, Chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente.

In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over low heat. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.

Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (I think next time I’m going to cut that bake time way down because I would have liked it creamier so decide how creamy or baked-like you prefer it and back accordingly!)

When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley. Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Happy Summer!! Happy Eating!!

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