No-cook meals provide easy fix to beat the heat

Published 6:00 pm Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beat the heat and the bustle this month with easy and refreshing no-cook meals. Whether you are on the go or at home, mix up your back-to-school routine with these convenient yet nutritious ideas utilizing foods at their peak season.

Quick tips for an easy fix:

• Keep pre-sliced fruits and vegetables, such as different berries, melons, bell peppers, carrots and tomatoes, on hand.

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• Utilize pre-sliced meats and cheeses from your deli counter.

• Have whole grain wraps or tortillas available.

• Stock the cupboards with sandwich fillers such as black or white beans, mushrooms or olives, salsas or sauces and nuts.

• Get the blender out — smoothies make a great addition to any no-cook meal and also allows you to get at least one cup of fruit per serving.

Toss it together — Salads are a perfect meal on a hot night, and take little prep time. Try tossing strawberries and almonds on top of spinach with a dash of raspberry vinaigrette. Add dried fruit and extra veggies for extra flavor and fiber.

Top it off with sliced almonds for crunch. Don’t forget the protein to keep you full – add a grilled chicken breast or salmon fillet for this delicious meal.

Wrap it up — Please the whole family with versatile wraps for dinner this month. Use the low-carb, high-fiber Flatout bread, and load it with the taste of the season. Try layering avocado slices, Di Lusso deli meats, veggies of choice and white beans for a fun family dinner.

Layer freshness — It is peak season for many vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and sweet corn. Use their wallet friendliness and flavor by stocking up and creating veggie-loaded sandwiches this month. Put a spin on the famous BLT by smearing whole wheat bread with mashed avocado and then layering the lettuce, tomato and bacon. Try turkey bacon, or even substitute deli meat for a different taste.

Calorie-saving finish — If you are looking to spruce up family favorites without changing the content, mix up your condiments and save calories at the same time!

• Substitute mashed avocado for fatty, high-calorie mayo.

• Put black beans in a blender or food processor for a high-fiber spread.

• Use plain Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. Add a dash of taco seasoning for a spicy spread or dip.

This recipe will pair perfectly with Strawberry Kiwi Salsa and whole grain pita chips (find that recipe on

Creamy avocado & white bean wrap

Serves 4

Active time: 25 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

All you need:

2 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tbsp Hy-Vee canola oil

2 tsp finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce*

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups shredded red cabbage

1 medium carrot, shredded

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed

1 ripe avocado

1/2 cup Hy-Vee shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

2 tbsp minced red onion

4 (8- to 10-inch) Hy-Vee whole-wheat wraps or tortillas

All you do

1. Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro; toss to combine.

2. Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese and onion.

3. To assemble the wraps, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap (or tortilla) and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.

*Shopping Tip: Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in the supermarket.

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.