Valley News -

By Diane Sieker

Cool recipes to make on hot days


Last updated 7/25/2019 at 10:12pm

Emiliano Vittoriosi photo

Grilled Feta-stuffed Meatballs are made on the grill to avoid a hot kitchen in the summer heat.

It is hot outside, and it is hot inside – and too toasty to fire up the oven or stove in the kitchen. These are the days of outdoor grilling, cool salads and simple suppers.

Several local foodies shared their favorite hot weather recipes.

Anza resident Laurie Proctor said she is a healthy food fan, and when hot weather strikes, she is ready with her Chicken Apple Salad. The recipe is simple, yet elegant, she said. There is no measuring, only the combining of ingredients.

"First, grill or fry boneless chicken to your liking, with your favorite seasoning," Proctor said."Then cut that into bite-sized pieces. Peel and cut up a couple crisp Fuji apples, some celery and a handful of halved red seedless grapes. Mix half-and-half mayonnaise and plain yogurt, enough to coat all the ingredients. Serve chilled or room temperature. It's so great for hot days."

Jayme Millslagle from Aguanga does not have a lot of time to cook, she said, with her busy schedule and a teenage daughter. Her go-to cool meal is Cucumber Salad.

"In a bowl combine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper with water. Add thinly sliced cucumber and onions and let this sit overnight in the refrigerator," she said.

No real measuring is required, she said as all ingredients are added to taste. The next day, the flavors will be infused into the chilled cucumbers and onions for a zesty treat.

Carletta Gordon-Stokes, Aguanga Realtor, grandmother and triathlon competitor, said she needs her veggies and protein and doesn't need to make cooking complicated. Her hot weather choice is Bean Salad. 

She said she chooses two or three types of canned beans, such as kidney, navy or pinto beans, drains and empties them into a large bowl. She adds a chopped red or orange sweet pepper, a scallion and a chopped fresh tomato. She said she dashes in lemon or lime juice and olive oil and seasons it with a bit of salt and pepper.

Anza resident Tesse Benson said she has hectic days as a mother and librarian, but it does not stop her from going all out at the grill, while keeping her kitchen cool. She created Feta-stuffed Meatballs to make her family happy.

Feta-stuffed Meatballs

Start to finish: 40 minutes

Serves: 4


1 1/2 pounds ground meat (beef, pork, lamb, chivas or a combination)

1/2 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley 

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind

salt and cracked black pepper

4 ounces Greek feta cheese, chopped into 3/4 inch cubes


Natalie Rhea-Riggs photo

Cucumber Salad can nourish as well as hydrate on a hot day.

Place the ground meat in a large bowl with the onion, garlic, spices, parsley, lemon rind, salt and pepper. Mix gently until fully combined.

Roll this mixture into golf ball-sized spheres. Make an indent in the center of the ball and insert a cube of feta cheese. Fold the mixture around the feta to ensure the cheese is fully enclosed. Place the balls on a tray and refrigerate for 15 minutes. The chilling time helps to make them more solid in preparation to grilling.

After the meatballs are chilled, carefully place them on the grill and heat until cooked through. Test with a meat thermometer. When 160 to 180 degrees is reached in the center of a meatball, they are cooked through and ready to scarf. 

Serve with pita bread, rice and vegetables or grilled veggies.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at [email protected]


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