No-oven recipes

By Holly Clegg

It is hot enough during the summer in south Louisiana. Why make the kitchen hotter by turning on the oven? I’m sharing some of my favorite beat-the-heat recipes that involve little to no use of the oven. With fresh, in-season fruits and veggies available, all these recipes really need is a little rinsing and chopping before making them a part of your nutritious meal. What a cool idea!

Nothing beats my classic Caprese Salad, especially in the summer, as this all-star dish melds together ripe juicy tomatoes, basil and creamy mozzarella. Chopping fresh basil is a cinch when you roll it up and slice it into pieces. Also, to seed tomatoes with ease, simply cut each tomato in half from side to side and gently squeeze it so that the seeds pop out.

My Chicken Lettuce Wraps are sweet, crunchy and savory—flavors all wrapped up in one delightful, refreshing meal. It’s a great way to sneak extra veggies into a dish that kids and adults both like. These wraps are gluten-free and diabetic-friendly, making them a healthy choice that’s fun besides. If you choose lean ground chicken breast over regular ground chicken, per three ounces of meat you will cut your calories by 70, your fat intake by 7 grams and your saturated fat intake by 3 grams.

Sweet treats don’t need heat. Do yourself a favor and serve the Frozen Banana and Cookie Dessert. Simply layer four ingredients to create a dish with gourmet appeal. One thing I love about this dessert is how easy it is to double, triple or even quadruple to feed a big group. And it can be made well ahead of time and frozen for later. You will get requests for this all summer.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Everything in the filling goes into one skillet, creating one of the best lettuce wraps you will eat.

1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger or
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup chopped green onion
Half (8-oz.) can chopped
water chestnuts, drained
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, optional
1 head butter tip or red leaf lettuce

In large nonstick skillet, cook ground chicken, onion and garlic until chicken is done. Add ginger. In small microwave-safe bowl, mix soy sauce, peanut butter, honey and vinegar. Microwave 20 seconds, then stir. Add to skillet, stirring until combined. Add green onion and water chestnuts. Sprinkle with peanuts, if desired, and serve with lettuce leaves. Makes 3 cups filling for 6 (12-cup) servings.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 141 | Calories from fat 22% | Fat 3g | Saturated fat 1g | Cholesterol 48mg | Sodium 301mg | Carbohydrates 10g | Dietary fiber 2g | Total sugars 7g | Protein 18g | Dietary exchanges: 1 vegetable, 12 other carbohydrate, 2 12 lean meatFrozen Banana and Cookie Dessert

Frozen Banana and Cookie Dessert-TWO-ED

Frozen Banana and Cookie Dessert

This trouble-free yet awesome dessertconsists of just four main ingredients. 3 chocolate chunk cookies.

2 Tbsp. coffee liqueur
1 large banana, sliced
1/3 cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
Cocoa or chocolate shavings

Quickly dip each cookie in shallow bowl with liqueur; break into large pieces. Place half of dipped cookies at the bottom of each of two dessert dishes. Layer with half of banana slices and half whipped topping. Repeat layers, ending with dollop of whipped topping. Freeze or refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with cocoa, if desired. Makes 2 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 348 | Calories from fat 28% | Fat 11g | Saturated fat 4g | Cholesterol 15mg | Sodium 129mg | Carbohydrate 52g | Dietary fiber 2g | Sugars 31g | Protein 4g | Dietary exchanges: 1 fruit, 2 12 other carbohydrate, 2 fat

Holly Clegg is the author of the best-selling trim&TERRIFIC cookbooks, Eating Well Through Cancer and Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets to Sizzle at Any Age. For more information, visit or