During the hottest months of our summer, I think of meals that don’t require standing in a hot kitchen to cook. These include assembled meals, which don’t require much cooking. You just put a few good things together and serve.
Such meals give you more time to enjoy the outdoors, work in your garden, or spend time with friends relaxing under a nice big umbrella.
Some of my favorites use eggs as a starting place. If you have been watching your food budget go up and up, eggs are a great and inexpensive source of protein. A dozen eggs give you as much protein as a pound and a half of steak, for about one-tenth the cost. White eggs are as nutritious as brown, so save your money there as well.
Some tasty examples for eggs include making an egg salad sandwich on whole wheat bread, creating deviled eggs for a picnic, or a chopped salad such as a Cobb salad with lettuce, tomato, chicken, hard-cooked eggs, avocado, and blue cheese (minus the salty bacon, which isn’t good for your kidneys).
For a fun assembled meal, try a Niçoise Salad (I never pronounce it right: nee swaaz). Often made with tomatoes, green pepper, hard-cooked eggs, boiled chilled potatoes and green beans, I leave out the salty anchovies and add rinsed canned tuna or salmon instead.
Both these salads are famous for allowing you to add whatever you can find in your refrigerator and pantry.
These lower-cost, quick, high protein, not-much-cooking-needed meal recipes will give you time to enjoy our nice weather while it lasts. We will miss these hot days in February!
Simple Hard-Cooked Eggs
Warm eggs before cooking by rinsing with hot tap water. Put eggs in a pan in a single layer and cover with cold water. Heat the water to a boil, remove pan from heat right away and cover the pot with a lid. Let the eggs sit in the water for about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. Drain eggs in a sieve and rinse with cold water to cool quickly. Refrigerate.
Egg Salad Sandwich Filling
3 hard-cooked eggs, cooled
¼ cup mayonnaise (substitute half sour cream or plain yogurt to lower sodium)
1 stalk celery, diced
¼ teaspoon dried mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Peel and chop hard-cooked eggs. Add other ingredients and stir gently. Use this filling to top a cracker or serve as a sandwich on bread or pita. Add sliced cucumber or a lettuce leaf for more crunch.
Calories: 146, Carbohydrates: 1 gram, Protein: 5 grams, Sodium: 136 milligrams
Katie Huff’s Easy Deviled Eggs
12 large eggs
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1–2 teaspoons curry powder, (optional)
Place eggs in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil until hard-boiled, about 15 minutes. Drain eggs and let cool. Peel the shells off the eggs and cut eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove the yolks and mash in a mixing bowl until crumbly. Mix in mayonnaise, mustard, curry powder. Spoon the mixture into each egg white and sprinkle with paprika for added color. Place in the refrigerator and cool before serving.
Nutritional information (per serving: 2 deviled eggs)
Calories: 110, Carbohydrates: 1 gram, Protein: 6 grams, Sodium: 92 milligrams
½ head romaine or other lettuce
½ pound fresh green beans (or frozen)
4 small new potatoes
2 tomatoes, quartered
1 can tuna or salmon, (optional)
4–5 hard cooked eggs, halved
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
Fresh ground pepper
2–4 tablespoons olive oil
Vinegar or lemon juice if desired
When it’s cooler in the morning, cook the new potatoes in the microwave and cook the eggs (directions above) and green beans on the stove. Quickly boil and then blanch the green beans in ice water (Omit this step if using frozen beans). Chop the fresh herbs and add to the olive oil. Put all in the refrigerator to chill for the day.
Serve on a platter with chilled, canned tuna (Rinse to remove a lot of the sodium), and let folks serve themselves.
Remember you can let the ingredients in your refrigerator guide you as to what you use. Try contrasting colors and tastes: asparagus in place of green beans; chilled beets for potatoes. This salad is great with avocados, red or green peppers, radishes or even a handful of nuts on the side. Serves 4.
Calories: 255, Carbohydrates: 30 grams, Protein: 6 grams, Sodium: 258 milligrams
Contributor Katy G. Wilkens recently retired as a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. The National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition has honored her with its highest awards for excellence in education and for significant contributions to renal nutrition. She has also been awarded the Medal of Excellence in kidney nutrition from the American Association of Kidney Patients.
Eating Well, Living Well classes
Studies show that working with a registered dietitian can delay kidney failure and postpone dialysis for longer than two years. FREE nutrition classes taught by Katy’s former team of registered dietitians are available at convenient times and locations around Puget Sound.
Eating Well, Living Well classes teach people how to eat healthier to slow the progress of kidney disease and postpone dialysis. Learn more at www.nwkidney.org/classes.