These refreshingly easy recipes are perfect for those nights (or weeks) when you want to give your oven a little vacation of its own. While what classifies as “no-cook” can often to lead a heated debate, for our purposes it means assembling a meal made from ready-to-eat ingredients as opposed to putting something on or in the stove to prepare it.
A well-stocked pantry and the leftovers section of your refrigerator are a great launching point for these dinner ideas. Keep both full of the ingredients needed for the following five recipes or the meals that your family is most fond of.
Monday: Cantaloupe Skewers
This simple dinner couldn’t be easier to make and is even simple enough for the kids to whip up with a minimal amount of assistance. Layer the following ingredients on 8-inch wooden skewers – torn bocconcini, basil leaves, chunks of cantaloupe, pieces of prosciutto and hunks of baguette – and serve with a side of balsamic drizzle.
Tuesday: DIY Crostini Bar (or Bagel Bar)
With this DIY Crostini Bar (also, Bagel Bar and Ice Cream Sundae Bar), you’re essentially feeding everyone miniature toasts, which they can top however they please. It’s perfect for hot and humid summer nights and works just as well for four people as it does for forty. I’m partial to serving this for both a casual weeknight dinner at home with the fam and/or a weekend get together with friends and neighbours.
Wednesday: Fresh Spring Rolls
Fresh Spring Rolls are one of my favourite warm weather dinners. I like that they can be as simple or snazzy as one desires, and can be stuffed with an assortment of vegetables, fresh herbs, and proteins. Follow the tips in our standard recipe but use chopped avocado and pre-cooked shrimp in place of the rice noodles and chicken to make these completely no-cook.
Thursday: Parisian Picnic
Grab a large platter/wooden carving board and fill it to the brim with any combination of the following: breads (baguette slices, mini bagels, biscuits), crackers (wheat, rice, crisps, pretzels), cheeses (brie, cheddar, goat, feta), fruits (berries, apples, grapes, pineapple, melon, peaches, nectarines, cherries), veggies (carrots, cucumber, peppers, broccoli, green beans, olives), meats/proteins (salami, ham, roast chicken, hard-boiled eggs, pastrami, roast turkey, pepperettes), dips and spreads (hummus, tzatziki, preserves, jams, chutneys, babaganoush) and sweets/treats (chocolate, dried fruits, dates, nuts).
Friday: Chicken Banh Mi
Pick up a rotisserie chicken and make this crave-worthy sandwich that’s sure to become a family favourite. If you want to add a little extra authenticity to the dish, toss the carrot and cucumber sticks with 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon kosher salt for 10 minutes to give them a quick pickle.
Recipe: Chicken Banh Mi
½ cup mayonnaise
1 small lime
1 small clove garlic, grated or pressed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 cups shredded cooked rotisserie chicken
1 large carrot, thinly sliced or julienned
1 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced or julienned
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro leaves
Optional: thinly sliced jalapenos
1. Place the mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Zest the lime into the bowl and add 1 tablespoon of lime juice, garlic, and basil. Stir to combine and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Slice the baguette open lengthwise. Spread the inside of the baguette with half of the mayonnaise and cut the bread into 4 equal sections.
3. Add the chicken to the bowl with remaining mayonnaise and toss to combine. Spoon the chicken salad onto the bread. Top with the carrot, cucumber, green onion, cilantro, and jalapeños, if using.