Keep your body red-hot but your kitchen cool

It’s summertime — time to enjoy the coolest of foods — and our seven light meals take advantage of the season’s harvest. The variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you go beyond the Five-a-Day goal, and will keep you refreshed and energized. To keep preparation time to a minimum, we used precooked protein sources. Foods like rice and pasta can be cooked in advance, in the cool of the morning or the previous evening.

Peach Soup

• 3 cups peeled and chopped fresh peaches
• 1 tsp. lemon juice
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
• 1 cup light vanilla-flavored yogurt
• 1/2 cup blueberries
• 4 Tbsp light whipped topping

Puree peaches, juice, sugar and cinnamon. Blend in yogurt. Chill in bowls, then garnish with blueberries and a dollop of light whipped topping. Use slightly thawed frozen peach slices for a quicker dish.

omplete menu, including crisp vegetable salad with deli turkey, servers four. Per meal: 500 calories, 42 g protein, 45 g carbohydrate; 17 g fat.

Monday

Crisp Vegetable Salad With Deli Turkey

• 1 English cucumber
• 1 carrot
• 1 zucchini
• 2 tomatoes
• 1 yellow bell pepper
• 4 green onions
• 4 oz. low-fat cheddar cheese
• 12 oz. sliced deli turkey
• 1 head green leaf lettuce
• 1/2 head red leaf lettuce
• 1/2 cup canned or frozen soybeans

Dressing:

• 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
• 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
• 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
• 4 Tbsp. lemon joice
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 2 tsp. brown sugar

The key to creating a great salad is to use a mixture of clean, thoroughly dried lettuce leaves. Tear each leaf into bite-size pieces. Cut other vegetables into a variety of shapes for eye appeal. Layer the salad, with the heavier ingredients at the bottom. Serve in a glass bowl and toss at the table. For this salad, cut English cucumber into rounds. Cut carrot into matchsticks. Grate zucchini and slice tomatoes. Chop bell pepper and green onions. Cube cheese and tear sliced deli turkey Mix in a bowl with lettuces and soybeans. Whisk dressing ingredients together; pour over salad and toss.

Tuesday

Chicken Breast With Mango Salsa

• 1/4 sweet onion
• 1 mango, peeled
• 1 orange, peeled
• 1/2 red bell pepper
• 2 Tbsp. parsley
• 4 precooked grilled, skinless chicken breast halves
• 2 Tbsp. cilantro
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 2 Tbsp. lime juice
• 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• Pepper to taste
• 1 Tbsp. basil

Finely chop onion, mango, orange, bell pepper, parsley and cilantro; combine. Mix olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, pepper and basil. Stir into fruit mixture. Serve over chicken.

Watermelon Snowballs

• 3-4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
• 1/4 cup cranberry juice
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• 1/3 cup sugar

This dish requires preparation the night before, but it’s worth the effort. Puree watermelon in a blender or food processor with juices and sugar. Freeze three hours. When slushy, scoop into balls and freeze on a baking sheet. Dish and serve Menu serves four. Per meal: 480 calories, 28 g protein, 67 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat.

Couscous & Green Beans

• 2 cups cooked couscous
• 2 cups uncut green beans, steamed
• 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
• 4 green onions, chopped
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• Lemon pepper to taste

Cook couscous the night before and refrigerate. Steam green beans in microwave and refrigerate. Before serving, mix lemon juice, green onions and olive oil. Add mixture to couscous. Arrange green beans on a plate; sprinkle with lemon pepper. Serve couscous on the side.

Wednesday

Open-Faced Black Forest Ham On Rye

• 4 Tbsp. fat-free cream cheese
• 4 slices rye bread
• Butter lettuce
• 8 oz. sliced, precooked Black Forest ham
• 4 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise
• 1 tsp. mustard
• 1 Tbsp. horseradish

Spread cream cheese on bread and layer with butter lettuce. Roll three slices of ham and place on top of lettuce. Mix mayonnaise. mustard and horseradish. Add a tablespoon of dressing atop ham to each sandwich.

Garbanzo Bean & Carrot Salad

16-oz. can garbanzo beans
1 carrot
2 green onions
4 Tbsp. wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans. Grate carrot; chop green onions. Mix all ingredients and serve.

Chilled Raspberry & Celery Melange

• 2 celery stalks
• 1 apple
• 1 cup halved red grapes
• 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
• 1/2 pint raspberries
• 1/3 cup fat-free raspberry vinaigrette
• Boston bib lettuce

Chop celery and apple. Combine first Eve ingredients and toss with vinaigrette dressing. Serve atop bib lettuce. Menu serves four. Per meal: 485 calories, 25 g protein, 67 carbohydrate, rate, 13 g fat.

Thursday

Salmon Platter

• 12 oz. boneless, skinless canned salmon (or precooked fresh or smoked salmon)
• Lettuce leaves
• 2 English cucumbers
• 2 ripe tomatoes
• 2 cups broccoli florets
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
• 1 tsp. basil
• Salt & pepper to taste
• 2 green onions, minced
• Fresh lemons

Drain canned salmon. On a large platter, arrange the salmon on lettuce leaves. Cut cucumbers in thin wedges and slice tomatoes. Arrange cucumbers, tomatoes and broccoli around salmon. Mix oil, vinegar, basil, salt, pepper and green onions. Drizzle over vegetables. Squeeze fresh lemons over salmon and garnish the plate with lemons. Chill. Serve with French bread, two slices per person.

Blueberry & Honeydew Melon Cocktail

• 1 honeydew melon
• 1/2 cup blueberries
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• 1 tsp. dried mint

Cube melon, then combine with blueberries. Mix sugar, lemon juice and mint. Pour over fruit and toss. Chill one hour. Menu serves four. Per meal: 530 calories, 30 g protein, 70 g carbohydrate, 15 g fat.

Friday

Shrimp & Pineapple Kabobs

  • 1 lb. frozen precooked jumbo shrimp
  • 1/3 cup pineapple or orange juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • Fresh pineapple chunks

Thaw shrimp overnight in refrigerator. Mix next eight ingredients and chill overnight. In the morning, coat thawed shrimp with marinade. Arrange shrimp and pineapple on skewers to serve.

Rice & Vegetable Salad

• 2 cups cooked rice
• 2 celery stalks
• 1/2 each red and yellow bell pepper
• 3 green onions
• 1 cup chopped mushrooms
• 1/2 cup bean sprouts
• 2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
• 2 Tbsp. peanut oil
• Hot chili oil to tast
• 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
• 1 clove garlic minced
• 1/4 cup cashews

Cook rice the night before serving and refrigerate. Finely chop all vegetables, except sprouts. Mix soy sauce, oils, vinegar and garlic. Combine rice, vegetables, sauce and cashews. Menu serves four. Per meal: 545 calories, 33 g protein, 70 g carbohydrate, 15 g fat.

Saturday

Nutty Chicken Salad On Cantaloupe With Strawberry-Cherry Garnish

• 2 cups cooked barley
• 1 lb. precooked skinless, white-meat chicken
• 2 celery stalks
• 1 cup halved green grapes
• 1 cup halved red grapes
• 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
• 8 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise or salad dressing
• Lettuce leaves
• 2 cantaloupes
• Strawberries and cherries for garnish

Cook barley the night before serving and refrigerate. Chop chicken and celery. Add to chilled barley, along with grapes and nuts. Mix with fat-free salad dressing or mayonnaise. Arrange lettuce on plate. Add wedges of cantaloupe, without rind. Top with chicken salad mixture. Arrange fresh strawberries and cherries around entree.

Menu serves four. Per meal: 505 calories, 30 g protein, 85 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat.

Sunday

Kielbasa & Bean Salad With French Baguette & Nectarines

• 8 oz. reduced-fat kielbasa
• 16-oz. can white beans
• 16-oz. can black beans
• 1/2 each red onion and white onion
• 1 jalapeno
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 1/4 cup orange juice
• 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 Tbsp. sugar
• 1 tsp. cumin
• 1/2 cup chopped parsley
• 2 slices baguette bread
• 4 nectarines, sliced

Slice and cook kielbasa the night before or in the morning and refrigerate. Rinse and drain beans, and mince onions and jalapeno; combine with kielbasa. Whisk together lemon and orange juices, vinegar, olive oil, sugar and cumin. Pour dressing over salad and top with parsley. Serve with bread and nectarine slices. Menu serves four. Per meal: 490 calories, 23 g protein, 73 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat.

CHILL OUT!

Try these suggestions to keep your kitchen and yourself cool this summer:

* Switch from hot coffee in the morning to iced coffee.

* Drink plenty of iced tea and water with lemon.

* Take advantage of the wide variety of Fruits and vegetables in season.

* Buy a new cookbook for salads that includes main- and side-dish salads.

* Buy a raw-food cookbook.

* Use fruits as desserts by marinating them in a bit of sugar and wine. Add a dollop of light dairy topping.

* Serve frosty fruit soups.

* For a quick complex carb, use couscous. It cooks in five minutes!

* Use bulgur, No. 1 coarseness, in tabouli salads. No cooking required.

* If using pasta and rice cook it in the morning or evening and use in cold salads.

* Use your microwave, rice steamer, crockpot and bread machine instead of the oven and stove.

* Use an outside grill and cook double to cover the next night.

* If you’re craving a hot meal, eat in an air-conditioned restaurant.

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