By Betha Merit
When it’s hot outside, cool food options sound very appealing to everyone; especially the chef. Many fruits are in season, fresh and local, and creative ideas abound. From watermelon pizzas to main dish chicken and fruit salads, the colorful presentations are a visual delight. The ingredients in the following recipes can be prepared ahead, measured and stored in baggies until meal prep time.
Another heat inspired practice is to stay well hydrated. Water is much more fun when you add sliced fruit, veggies, and/or herbs. You can use bottled water, tap water or sparkling water, depending on your preference. Ice is optional. Here are some favorites:
- lemon slices with fresh basil leaves
- strawberry slices with fresh mint leaves
- cucumber slices with squeeze of lime juice
- grapes (red, green, etc., sliced)
- orange slices
- grapefruit slices
Try adding a sprinkle of dried herbs/spices, whole fresh herbs, or even muddle the fresh herbs to make their flavor more pungent. Blend the waters fresh before use or make ahead in jars or pitchers to enhance the flavors.
Curried Chicken and Fruit Salad
- 3 cups cooked, diced chicken or 2 large cans chicken breast
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts
- 1/2 lb. seedless red grapes, sliced
- 8 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Combine mayonnaise and next 3 ingredients; spoon over chicken mixture and toss gently. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. Serve salad over spring greens or sliced cantaloupe wedges.
Savory Watermelon Pizza with Arugula
- One 1/2-inch-thick slice seedless watermelon, rind intact
- 1/4 cup arugula
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
Sprinkle the arugula, feta, and walnuts evenly over the watermelon slice. Drizzle with the honey and then the walnut oil. Slice into pizza wedges for serving.
Fruity Watermelon Pizza
- One 1/2 inch-thick slice seedless watermelon, rind intact in a full circle
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 nectarine in small slices
- 2 sliced kiwis
- 1/2 cup sliced red seedless grapes
Drizzle the honey over watermelon, then layer the rest of fruit pieces in order. Slice into pizza wedges for serving.