If you’ll allow me to state the obvious for a moment…. it’s hot.

My car thermometer said it was 98 degrees out this afternoon when I was driving to the library with my children. It’s been like this most days for the past week.

It’s hard to get the gumption to really cook when it’s this hot. I’m not saying that I don’t manage to overcome that – I did make Eggplant Parmesan yesterday –  but some days are not worth the extra heat.

A good meal option on those days are “bowls.” If you subscribe to any cooking magazines, especially the ones that bill themselves as being oriented to healthy eating, bowls are not a new concept. They’ve been a fairly major trend for a few years now. I put together the most beautiful, delicious quinoa bowl the other night for dinner, and I wanted to share the methodology.

First, I cooked up some quinoa. I used homemade vegetable stock, which has the benefit of extra vitamins and no added sodium, though you could use packaged stock or water and it’d be fine.

I steamed some summer squash and some peas, rinsed a can of chickpeas, and cut a bunch of cherry tomatoes in half. The ingredients got layered in a large serving dish.

Before adding the cherry tomatoes, I added the dressing. This was partly a choice due to space – I could not have stirred the mixture without making a huge mess after adding the tomatoes – and partly a presentation choice. I used homemade honey mustard dressing. I cannot recommend highly enough this article about making your own salad dressings. It comes with 8 recipes. I’ve tried 2 so far, and both have been winners.

Everything is wonderful about this meal choice. The kitchen isn’t super hot, the meal is a huge protein punch, it’s tasty and colorful, and it’s a kid pleaser! Little Chef currently hates summer squash, so he ate around it, but Littlest Chef gobbled up everything he didn’t end up wearing.

Everything about this recipe is malleable according to your tastes. You could do Italian dressing. You could subtract any of the vegetables and/or add others: red onion, broccoli, cucumbers if you’re serving it cold, etc. Play around; every result manages to look fancy, even though it’s pleasantly simple.

Happy eating!

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