EZ Cold Plate Lunches for Hot Days
When the scorching summer sun really kicks in, there’s no better time than to fix yourself a cold plate for lunch or dinner. When temperatures stay hot and humid, who wants to slave over a hot stove (not me).
That’s the ease and beauty of cold plates on hot days. Spring through fall gives us a bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits, giving us plenty of healthy choices. It also makes it incredibly easy to put together your own personalized “free-style” cold plate.
The key is to make the plate assorted and interesting. A glob of humus with pita bread on a plate is boring – but add an assortment of other foods with it and it becomes a lunch you’ll look forward to. Grab a large plate or small platter and get started:
WW60 Healthy Cold Plate:
– Pita bread (whole wheat preferred) WITH ANY OR ALL of the following: a mound of humus, baba ghanouj, tabouleh, stuffed grape leaves
– Olives (greek, spanish or any of your favorites)
– Pickled red beets or small pickles such as cornichons
– EZ green bean-potato salad (EZ recipe below).
Arrange small portions of the items above on a large plate – lunch is served!
EZ GREEN BEAN POTATO SALAD:
Lightly boil or steam fresh green beans until slightly tender. Lightly boil and cube your favorite potatoes. When the beans and potatoes are done, chill them in refrigerator for at least an hour or two. For my cold plate I prefer 2/3 part green beans and 1/3 part potatoes.
Mix the chilled green beans and potatoes together and arrange on your plate with the other foods. Top beans-potatoes with slices of hard boiled egg (optional). DRIZZLE the beans-potatoes with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.
OTHER FREE-STYLING COLD PLATE SUGGESTIONS:
Mix and match any of the items below (or above) for your cold plate. Remember, keep it interesting with an array of assorted ingredients. Keep each ingredient down to a small portion. Free-Style it and come up with a few more ideas of your own:
– A small bed of mixed greens topped with cherry tomatoes drizzled with your favorite dressing
– Sliced tomatoes (serve w/just salt and pepper or drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette or olive oil
– Sliced cucumber rounds drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette or just salt/pepper
– A scoop of your favorite tuna salad (home-made or store bought)
– A slice or two of roasted chicken, deli turkey, salami, etc.
– A mix of marinated olives and other veggies
– Marinated artichokes
– Chilled bean salad
– Crusty bread rounds, pita bread or pita chips
EZ DESSERT IDEAS:
TropiGal: Chunks of freshly diced fruit. Mix and match pineapple, mango, orange, banana. Optional: add a small scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
Berried Alive: Store-bought dessert shells, plain sliced pound cake or angel food cake. Top with fresh strawberries or a mix of blueberries, black berries, strawberries. Optional: a touch of vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream.
Old School EZ: Grab a box of store bought sugar cones. Fill the cones with your favorite ice-cream. Make it fun by trying a new flavor you’ve never had before such as: coffee ice-cream, cheesecake ice-cream, etc…..the ice-cream choices are quite endless!
USE LEFTOVER FRUITS in smoothies or as cocktail garnishes. LEFTOVER ICE-CREAM can also be used in smoothies or go old-school with ice-cream floats.
Summer is here. Keep it easy and simple so you can enjoy all that summer has to offer. Why waste a lot of time cooking when you can make EZ cold plates and desserts.