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Quick Cooking Tips to Get You Out of the Kitchen

6 strategies to help you beat the heat and join the summer fun.

4. Slap Together a Sandwich Supper

A sandwich doesn't necessarily require the stove or oven and can be assembled in a minute or two. Can't beat that on a hot weekday night!

If you want to melt the cheese or lightly brown your featured filler, just broil your open-faced sandwich briefly in your toaster oven. This won't heat up you or your kitchen much at all. You can make sandwiches using any of the items listed above in the protein table - or use your imagination!

You can fancy up your sandwich by adding a fun condiment or spread like:

  • Pesto
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Fruit chutney
  • BBQ sauce
  • Flavored olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salsa
  • Honey mustard
  • Olive spread
  • Less-sugar preserves
  • Goat cheese

5. Put Together a Picnic-Style Meal

Think about what you like to throw into your picnic basket or backpack when you are packing lunch for a hike or fishing expedition. Your picnic favorites work well for a cool dinner out on the porch as well as at the park in town.

You can make a cheese and cracker and fruit platter, with assorted cheeses, crackers or sliced baguettes, and some fresh fruit that's easy to eat (berries, grapes, apricots, apple slices and so on). Or try packing some cold oven-fried or barbecued chicken with simple side dishes like green salad, or raw veggies with ranch dip or bread with flavored olive oil for dipping.

6. Sip Your Supper

Drinking your dinner doesn't sound that satisfying, does it? But there are times when a light, cool and refreshing drink or shake might just be what the dietitian ordered. They're quick to make and easy to eat on those hot summer nights when you have a lighter appetite.

If your drink is replacing a meal, make sure you're getting some protein and some fiber along with the carbohydrates. That narrows your options to either a tofu-based shake; a drink with dairy (like an iced latte) plus a fiber source; or a smoothie made with yogurt, frozen dairy products, or tofu, along with fruit.

Invent your own smoothies by using different flavors of yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit, and a variety of sherbets, light frozen yogurts, or light ice creams. If you're thinking of adding raw egg whites for a protein boost to your blended shake or smoothie, try egg substitute instead. It's mostly egg whites, but it's pasteurized, which eliminates the risk of salmonella from raw eggs.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own

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