Puttin' on The Mitts: Summer meals that won't heat up the kitchen

We've been lucky so far this summer with the mild temperatures and low humidity (gosh, I hope I didn't jinx us with that statement). To me, there's nothing worse than trying to figure out something to eat, let alone cook, when it's hot outside. S...


We've been lucky so far this summer with the mild temperatures and low humidity (gosh, I hope I didn't jinx us with that statement).

To me, there's nothing worse than trying to figure out something to eat, let alone cook, when it's hot outside. Sometimes nothing sounds good but a bowl of cereal, but that's not the healthiest of choices and won't sustain as a supper meal either.

As a way to get a better grasp on my health and weight problem, I recently joined the Brainerd Weight Loss and Wellness Center, formerly known as the Baxter Lifetime Fat Loss Center. I have had fantastic success on the program since joining in May, losing 50 pounds and 24.5 inches so far. From now until the foreseeable future, my recipes will lean toward a healthier menu as that has become my new lifestyle.

Keeping that in mind and a specific diet I must follow on my program, carbohydrates and starches are really not my friends. I love them, but have learned to live without them. But I began to wonder if there was a recipe out there for a "noodle-free" summer salad.

Turning to the internet as I often do, I discovered this tasty and refreshing recipe for Greek Zoodle Salad on Instead of noodles, it calls for zoodles, which is spiralized zucchini. What a wonderful idea and so very tasty. If you want to make them yourselves, spiral vegetable slicers are needed to turn zucchini into zoodles but a quick online search found several ranging from $10 to $20 with familiar retailers. Additional options include using a julienne peeler or a sharp-bladed mandoline slicer with care taken to avoid getting fingers nicked in the mandoline's business end. For those who are more like me and not this ambitious, you can buy zoodles already made in the grocery stores and at Target.


In my opinion, The Mitts have really knocked it out of the park this week with two great summer choices that won't heat up the kitchen. Not only are they both tasty, but both are low-calorie and healthy as well.

What more could one ask for in a meal?



• 2 zucchinis, spiralized into "noodles"

• 1/4 English cucumber, chopped

• 10 cherry tomatoes, halved, or more to taste

• 10 pitted kalamata olives, halved, or more to taste


• 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

• 2 ounces crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 1 teaspoon dried oregano

• Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place zoodles (zucchini noodles) in a large bowl and add cucumber, tomatoes, olives, red onion and feta cheese.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper together in a bowl until the dressing is smooth. Pour over the vegetable mixture and toss to coat.


Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 10-15 minutes before eating.

Makes four servings, 147 calories per serving.

-- DeLynn

Last week was the summer solstice-the longest day of the year, and the day my tastebuds suddenly crave citrus-y seafood and fresh ingredients of all kinds.

OK, I may be exaggerating for effect, but it's true these foods are a great side dish to warmer temperatures and busier days. Who doesn't want to take full advantage of what our always-too-short summer has to offer? I certainly don't want to spend too much of it inside a hot kitchen, and I'm guessing you don't either.

Instead, I fired up the grill and grabbed a number of things to cook at once-the shrimp I used in this recipe and a bunch of sweet peppers and onions. As long as you've got the grill going, you might as well take full advantage. Now I have peppers and onions to use on sandwiches or grain bowls throughout the week, and shrimp to use however I wish.

This light and refreshing take on a seafood salad ditches heavy mayonnaise for fat-free Greek yogurt-the praises of which I will sing loudly and proudly to whomever will listen. It's an amazing replacement for anything creamy. I don't miss the mayo here, nor do I miss sour cream on my potatoes and tacos. Add the lemon juice and you have a similar tang to what you find with mayo or Miracle Whip.

Shrimp is naturally a low-calorie food, which is wonderful considering it feels decadent when you eat it. The best part about this dish? It's only 88 calories per serving. Seriously. Not kidding. And it sure doesn't taste that way.


I put the shrimp salad on a wrap, but you could put it on a hotdog bun, sandwich bread, crackers or just eat it on its own. Combined with a low-cal wrap and some avocado, it remains a healthy and delicious lunch for the summer or any time of the year.


• 10 ounces peeled, deveined and cooked shrimp, chopped

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

• 1/2 cup chopped cucumber

• 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped

• 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice


• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

• 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

• 1 sliced avocado

• Spring greens or lettuce of choice

• Wrap of choice

In a large bowl, combine shrimp, dill, cucumber, scallions, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Taste for seasoning.

To assemble: place a handful of greens on the wrap and top with 1/4 of the avocado and 1/4 of the shrimp salad.


Wrap and enjoy.

Makes four large wraps. If using fat-free yogurt, the shrimp salad (not including the avocado or wrap) is 88 calories per serving.

-- Chelsey


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