(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Consider refitting chili with a lighter wardrobe of ingredients for summer.
A big pot of chili is the perfect poolside patio meal after a long day of warm-weather activities. Favorite summer ingredients lend themselves well to the no-fuss dish. Give these some thought:
--- Vegetarian hot dogs: You could grill them first over aromatic wood for a smoky flavor before slicing them to add to chili.
--- Grilled corn-on-the-cob: After it cools, shuck it right into the chili for a memorable vegetarian version.
--- Accompany the corn with other summer chili-compatible produce, like tomatoes, zucchini and spinach (greens like this pack the dish with nutrients).
--- For an additional seasonal twist that just deepens the flavor and texture even more, consider tossing in a few hearty-flavored seasonal fruits, such as a fistful of blueberries or a few segments of orange or grapefruit.
--- Beer or non alcoholic beer or sugar-free root beer: They are all refreshing on a summer day, but are also invigorating adds to your chili. Dark beers, like stout, make extra lean ground beef taste even beefier. Light beers add more of a sparkling flavor.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, economical, fun - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare.
The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since there are no right or wrong amounts.
These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you - or your kidlet helpers - choose to use can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests. QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Those who run the National Watermelon Promotion Board
want you to know that, although it has many qualities of a fruit, watermelon is technically a vegetable and it's a good seasonal ingredient to cool down fiery foods while adding extra nutrients. For instance, just before serving either homemade or takeout chile-filled Chinese kung pao shrimp, they say, try lightly stirring in some small cubes of watermelon.Lisa Messinger
is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes
(Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet
(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.