While retailers are trying to convince us all that fall is here, and we should be embracing all things pumpkin and apple, I say it is just too hot. Too hot to spend more than 10 minutes cooking, too hot to bake, even too hot to think about food some days.
Even though I have just about exhausted every interesting salad recipe and some nights ice cream sounds like a dinner plan, I have found two simple solutions for supper that really take no more than 10 minutes over a stove. They are also versatile enough that you can make them to fit your own unique needs and tastes and light enough that you won't feel hot and overstuffed after dinner.
My two picks for these ridiculously hot days of late summer and early “fall” are frittatas and tostadas. Think about it. Frittatas rely on eggs to bring together a variety of ingredients in just minutes. Tostadas rely on crispy flat corn tortillas to be a base for a variety of ingredients that can be toasted in just minutes. Both tostadas and frittatas can become complete meals if you add an element of greens or vegetables to top off the dish.
For frittatas, I suggest a quick sauté of chopped or sliced vegetables, finished with beaten eggs and some cheese cooked just until the eggs set.
One of the best things about frittatas is that you can change up the ingredients to agree with the pickiest eaters. You can even make individual frittatas if you are patient enough—but I suggest going with one large frittata to make dinner prep easier.
My favorite frittata is a mixture of shredded sharp cheeses, mushrooms, chopped fresh tomatoes and some onions. I top that with a lightly dressed pile of garden greens and presto! Dinner in less than 10 minutes.
For tostadas, things can be even easier.
I buy my tostada shells and pre-cooked meat at the grocery store, then arrange the toppings my family likes on a platter. I put meat and cheese on the tostadas and toast them in the oven just until the meat is cooked through and the cheese is all melted.
Everybody gets a tostada with meat and melty cheese, and the rest is served family style. If you have pickier eaters, have your family assemble a couple of tostadas with the meat and cheese they want, then toast those under the broiler for a minute or less (just enough to heat the meat and melt the cheese.)
Then, let them all top their tostadas with their pick of cold items and dinner is served!
Here's my recipe for a dinner frittata, which can be served hot or at room temperature and which you can customize to fit your family needs.
1-2 cups of vegetables ready to sauté (sliced mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, asparagus, onions or whatever you like)
2 Tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
6 large fresh eggs
½ cup grated cheese (you may use the cheese you like best, as long as it is hard enough to grate. I used a bit of sharp cheddar and a bit of Parmesan)
2 cups garden greens tossed with a touch of olive oil and vinegar
Optional: Additional cheese for the top as a garnish
Preheat your broiler. Melt the butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet with heat-resistant handle. Place the skillet over medium heat. Spread the prepared vegetables over the bottom of the pan and cook them until they are heated through and softened. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the Old Bay Seasoning and 2 Tablespoons of water until the eggs are all yellow and fluffy. Mix the cheese into the eggs and pour mixture over the vegetables in the pan. Let it cook for 30 seconds, then lift up the sides of the eggs and tilt the pan a little to let uncooked eggs run under the edge of the cooked ones. Do this twice, so that the eggs are just beginning to set. Sprinkle with extra cheese if you'd like. Place the pan under the broiler for three minutes until the eggs are puffy and set on top. Slide the frittata from the pan to a platter or plates. Serve hot or at room temperature, with the dressed greens on top as a garnish.