Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Smart Summer Cooking

Summer is here and with the great outdoors beckoning we want to spend as little time as possible slaving over a hot stove. Saving time in the kitchen is always a priority when the mercury soars! Simple, nutritious meals that are a snap to prepare are the answer – to keep us cool and the kids happy and healthy! Here are 9 quick tips to staying cool and keeping smart over summer as well as some simple summer recipes.

1.Use the freshest ingredients possible as that heat will render fruits and vegetables limp and lifeless very quickly. The fresher they are, the better they taste.

2.Make use of sensational seasonal ingredients, such as tomatoes, basil, mangoes, eggplant and asparagus to prepare delicious salads.

3.Dinner doesn’t have to be a large cooked meal. A huge platter of summer fruits served with some cheese and nuts can be a wonderful evening meal on a hot day.

4.Keep cooking to a minimum and aim to prepare as many raw foods as possible.

5.If possible do some simple preparation early in the day to avoid cooking in the heat of the evening.

6.Barbeque as often as possible. Fresh fish or chicken with simple salads, barbequed vegetables with haloumi cheese and dips. Try corn fritters and vegetable kebabs. Even some BBQ'd bananas with chocolate! Throw on some capsicums and potatoes for use the next day in pasta or salads.

7.When you are cooking, double the recipe and freeze half for another day and use leftovers as often as possible. Barbecued vegetables, and cold chicken are great the next day.

8.Summer makes us naturally want to eat less so take it easy and keeps meals small and light.

9.Remember to keep it simple, fresh and light and be lazy this summer!

These burgers are so easy to throw together and are perfect for a summer barbeque. I have kept them quite plain for young taste buds but can easily be jazzed up for adults. Try adding chilli or fresh coriander, or some grain mustard. Serve in a crusty brown roll with salad for a simple meal that the kids will love. These are also wonderful with tzatziki or hommos.

Makes 12

500g chicken mince
1 carrot, grated
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g fresh breadcrumbs
½ tsp lemon zest
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Olive oil

Step 1: Combine all ingredients except flour
Step 2: Using wet hands shape into 10 patties
Step 3: Roll in a little flour and cook on the barbeque in a little olive oil
Step 4: Serve in a wholegrain roll with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise or chutney