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story.lead_photo.caption Chicken, Tomato and Corn Salad takes advantage of rotisserie or leftover chicken for an easy supper. Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Summer has arrived with a vengeance. Temperatures are in the 90s. Humidity is up. And you never know when a thunderstorm is going to pop up and zap your power.

There are few worse dinnertime calamities than having a meal in the works on the stove or in the oven when the power goes out. If you have an electric stove, you're at the mercy of the power company. But even those of us with gas stoves can't use the oven without power and will need a match to manually light any burners.

The following recipes rely on some of our favorite cooling foods — cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes. These moisture-rich foods are especially refreshing on a hot day and when paired with prepared proteins — rotisserie chicken, canned tuna, frozen peas — they are the building blocks of some of our favorite summer meals that are sure to fill us up without breaking a sweat.

Many vegetables that we are accustomed to eating hot don't need to be cooked at all or require very little heat to be palatable. In fact, most fruits and vegetables don't need to be cooked. The exceptions include potatoes, rhubarb leaves, beans (including green beans) and eggplant.

Dilly Tuna Salad on multigrain bread with side of fruit makes a light no-cook meal. Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Dilly Tuna Salad

2 (5-ounce) cans oil-packed tuna, lightly drained

3 tablespoons mayonnaise or to taste

1 to 2 teaspoons grainy or Dijon-style mustard

1 rib celery, diced

¼ to ½ cup diced dill pickles

1 handful shelled pistachios or chopped pecans

1 green onion, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

1 to 2 sprigs fresh dill, minced

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine tuna, mayonnaise, mustard, celery, pickles, nuts, green onion, dill and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes about 4 servings.

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Cups

½ cup mayonnaise OR plain Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons sambal oelek or Chinese chile-garlic sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil

3 cups shredded cooked chicken, leftover or rotisserie

⅓ cup diced celery

2 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

12 Bibb or iceberg lettuce leaves

1 Hass avocado, peeled and cut into 12 slices

Chopped peanuts OR cashews

Lime wedges, for serving

In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise or yogurt with the sambal oelek, mustard and sesame oil. Stir in the chicken, celery and green onions and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the chicken salad into the lettuce cups and top with a slice of avocado and chopped nuts. Serve with lime wedges.

Makes about 4 servings.

Watermelon Gazpacho topped with a drizzle of olive oil and diced avocado is light and refreshing. Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Watermelon Gazpacho

5 cups cubed watermelon

1 cup chopped, peeled, seedless cucumber

¼ red onion, chopped

½ jalapeno or Fresno chile, seeded, if desired

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Olive oil, for drizzling

Diced avocado, cooked shrimp or other seafood, croutons, and/or for garnish

In a blender or food processor, combine watermelon, cucumber, onion and chile; process until smooth. Stir in salt and vinegar. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Drizzle each serving with olive oil and top with desired garnishes.

Makes about 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living

Ham and Pea Salad

3 cups fresh or frozen shelled green peas; thaw slightly if using frozen


½ bunch green onions, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

½ cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese

¼ cup mayonnaise OR sour cream OR plain Greek-style yogurt, or more to taste

Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)

Ground black pepper

½ cup diced ham

If using fresh peas, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and the peas. Cook peas in boiling water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer peas to bowl of ice water. Once cool, drain well.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Makes about 4 servings.

Adapted from Food and Wine

Chicken, Tomato and Corn Salad Photo by John Sykes Jr.

Chicken, Tomato and Corn Salad

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons sugar or honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (leftover, rotisserie or canned)

Kernels from 1 or 2 ears fresh corn OR 1 to 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed (see note)

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

2 pints mixed red and gold cherry and grape tomatoes, halved

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons (about ½ ounce)

Baby spinach, optional

Crusty bread, optional

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, corn, red onion, tomatoes and basil. Add vinaigrette and mix well. Serve over baby spinach or with crusty bread, if desired.

Makes about 4 servings.

Note: A quick and easy method to cook corn-on-the-cob is to cut off the stalk end of the corn a couple of inches from the bottom, leaving the husk intact. Microwave on 100% power for 2 minutes. Using a kitchen towel or oven mitt to protect your hand from the steam, hold the ear by the pointed end and gently shake. The ear will slide out of the husk with only few stray silks.

Artichoke, Basil and Salami (or Roast Beef or Turkey) Sandwiches

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered OR 1 (10-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

8 slices preferred bread

Sliced green olives, optional

4 ounces thinly sliced fontina, mozzarella or provolone cheese

4 ounces thinly sliced hard salami, roast beef or turkey

In a food processor, combine artichokes, basil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and red-pepper flakes; pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; pulse briefly to combine. Serve on a sandwich or with crackers or crudites. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Spread half of the bread slices with artichoke mixture. If using, sprinkle some sliced green olives over the spread, then layer with cheese and meat. Close sandwiches. Serve immediately, or press sandwiches lightly to compact and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate sandwiches for 4 hours and up to 1 day.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Recipe adapted from

Food on 07/03/2019

Print Headline: No heat required

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