Beat the Heat with 7 No-Cook Dinners

No Cook Dinners

 

If you can’t stand the heat, you don’t have to get out of the kitchen. We’ve gathered seven delicious no-cook dinners you can prepare without breaking a sweat. That’s one whole week of staying cool!

1. Lobster Rolls are the quintessential summer meal. In your kitchen or your picnic basket, you’ll want this in your meal rotation.
2. Sesame Lime Chicken Salad combines zesty flavors and textures tossed together for a light, but substantial meal.
3. Chicken and Dill Souvlaki has refreshing cool yogurt and cucumber paired with store-bought rotisserie chicken for a savory, fresh flavor.
4. Turkey Club Sandwiches are tall and tasty crowd pleasers for any age.
5. Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups are cold and crispy and absolutely addictive. We recommend doubling the recipe because everyone will want seconds.
6. Roast Beef Salad is so easy to pull together even on the busiest evenings. High quality deli meat is the key to success with this one.
7. Gazpacho is the official soup of summer. Raid the garden, include all your favorite summer veggies, and pair with a loaf of crusty bread. Delicious!

Do you have a favorite no-cook summer meal?

10 Tips for a Perfectly Packed Cooler

Packing a cooler for a day on the water is both an art and a science. A lunch of  warm drinks and waterlogged sandwiches can put a damper on the whole experience, so use these tips to establish yourself as Master of the Cooler and bask in your glory (and the sunshine) all day!

  1. Use separate coolers for drinks and food. This is the number one tip because your drink cooler will get opened several times all day long, allowing cool air to escape, which can be dangerous for food. The temperature in the food cooler will be easier to keep consistent and safe if it is separate.
  2. Mark your coolers. A strip of masking tape with “FOOD” and “DRINKS” written on it is all you need to keep your friends from opening the food cooler a hundred times looking for drinks.
  3. Pre-chill drinks. Your ice will last 2-3 times longer if drinks are already chilled.
  4. Use crushed ice in the drink cooler. Lay cans and bottles on their sides along the bottom of the cooler and cover with a layer of crushed ice and repeat the process. This allows the ice to touch a greater surface of each drink, and as the cooler gets opened and closed, the ice will melt a bit, which will keep drinks nice and ice cold all day long.
  5. If you have a variety of drinks, have them represented in each layer, so that no one has to dig to the bottom of the cooler for their favorite drink.
  6. Always pack water. Hot sun, water activities and alcohol all dehydrate the body, so make sure to have plenty of water on hand. You can also freeze water bottles ahead of time and use as ice packs in the food cooler for backup water if needed.
  7. Avoid ice in the food cooler. Ice melts into water and water seems to find its way into everything. Use frozen gel packs and pliable freezer sheets to keep foods cool. There will be minimal condensation and no slushy water to mess with. Cool air travels down, so put your cooling mechanism on top of the food and allow it to cool from the top down. If it’s an especially large cooler, add gel packs in the middle and the top.
  8. Pack your food cooler in chronological order. Think about what you’ll need first and most often, and have that available at the top. This will help you contain the cold air and keep you organized.
  9. Keep perishable items in sealed containers and close to a cold source. Meats and dairy products should be stored in an airtight bag or container and placed directly next to a gel pack to prevent spoil and contamination.
  10. Keep coolers out of direct sunlight. All your smart packing and cooling techniques will not do much good if the cooler is baking in the sun all day. A shady spot will make all the difference.

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Recipe: Root Beer Float Pie

Mrs. Fields Secrets Root Beer Float Pie

A root beer float in pie form? Oh yes! This light and creamy pie is simply delicious and perfect for your summer repertoire. No baking required and you can use your favorite store-bought graham cracker crust as a base. In fact, this is a perfect recipe to make with the kids to build some kitchen confidence. Serve it directly from the fridge or freezer on a hot summer day.

Root Beer Float Pie

9 inch graham cracker pie crust
1 carton frozen whipped cream topping, thawed
1/2 cup milk
1 package (1 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup root beer
maraschino cherries (optional)

Directions
In a mixing bowl, combine milk and root beer together. Add pudding mix and whisk for 2-3 minutes, working out any lumps. Fold in half of the whipped topping and pour into the prepared pie crust. Refrigerate or freeze for 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, top with remaining whipped topping and maraschino cherries.

HINT: Use sugar-free pudding and diet soda to make a lighter version of the recipe!

Summer Boredom Buster: Make Greeting Cards

If it’s too hot outside and the kids are getting restless, why not get creative to beat this summer boredom? Open up your arts and crafts closet, pull out your stuff, and have the kids create their own greeting cards for a year’s worth of occasions. The kids can eliminate their boredom with a little creativity and you’ll be thanking yourself again and again during the busy occasions ahead for utilizing this down time! Check out these ideas for inspiration:

1. Turn a handprint into Santa’s beard with this clever holiday card. (Can you imagine the bragging rights you’ll earn if you get your holiday cards made in July?)

2. Transform wine corks into custom stamps to create these handmade valentine cards.

3. Pick some flowers from the yard and use them as stamps to create a delicate design for an anytime card.

4. Create designs with a white crayon on card stock, then use watercolors on top to create a beautiful reverse design.

5. Cupcake liners from the kitchen cupboard paired with tissue paper and fuzzy poms transform into colorful birthday cupcake cards.

Do you have a favorite boredom buster? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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DIY Temporary Tattoos

Summer skin is the perfect place to showcase a new tattoo, but there’s no need to commit to permanent ink. We’ve got a fun way to create your own temporary tattoos that look totally legit with just a few household items (and maybe an artistic friend). Follow these directions for a tattoo that will last approximately one month with normal wear.

DIY Temporary Tattoo

Sharpie marker
baby powder
hairspray

1. Wash and dry skin surface.
2. Use a Sharpie marker to draw image directly onto skin.
3. Sprinkle a generous amount of baby powder onto the tattoo and gently rub in a circular motion.
4. Brush off excess powder.
5. Hold hairspray can several inches from tattoo and spray the area for about 5 seconds, or until coated.
6. Allow hairspray to dry and set for about 10 minutes before washing the tattoo.

HINT: Use a variety of Sharpie colors and tips to create all sorts of intricate art. The sky is the limit! (Although, we’re partial to cookie tattoos.)

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Recipe: Cinnamon Stuffed Scones

Mrs. Fields Secrets Cinnamon Stuffed Scones

Before you buy another scone at the coffee shop, give this recipe a try. No mixer needed, just a few wholesome ingredients (butter and sugar are wholesome, right?) and before you know it, you’ve got this delectable treat coming right out of your own oven. The cinnamon layer is sweet perfection, oozing out just enough to get your mouth watering. One recipe makes eight servings, enough for a brunch with friends or a week’s worth of morning indulgence.

Cinnamon Stuffed Scones

for the dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 egg white
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons milk (reserved for brushing)
coarse sugar (reserved for topping)

for the filling
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

for the glaze
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, combine the filling ingredients to form a paste and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, prepare the dough by whisking together the flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. In a small bowl, stir the yogurt and melted butter together, then whisk the egg white in to completely combine. Add the yogurt mixture to the dry mixture and stir until dry and clumpy. Using your hands, knead dough for 1-2 minutes, or until it is consistent in texture. Divide dough in half. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Form each half of the dough into a flat, circular disc, about 1-inch thick. Place one on the prepared baking sheet. Spread cinnamon filling evenly over the top of the first disc, then top it with the other. Mold the outer edges together with your fingers to prevent filling to spilling out. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into eight even wedges, but do not remove them from the circle. (This will make cutting and serving easier after it has baked.) Brush the outside with milk, then generously sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven to cool. Prepare the glaze by mixing powdered sugar and milk together to create a thick, but pourable drizzle. While still warm, drizzle glaze over the top of the scones. Cut into pre-scored wedges and serve.

How to Revive Your Dingy Outdoor Furniture

If your patio furniture has lost its luster, don’t toss it out. A little elbow grease along with the right tools can turn your dingy patio furniture into like-new lounge areas. Here’s what you need to bring your furniture back to life:

  • White Resin Furniture: Use a bleach/water solution (1 part bleach to 5 parts water) along with a fine steel wool pad to easily scrub away the grimy gray film on your furniture (as pictured). Don’t forget a pair of gloves.
  • Aluminum Furniture: Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing soap with a gallon of warm water. Dip a sponge in the solution and scrub the furniture. Rinse with a hose.
  • Wrought Iron Furniture: Use a broom or bristled brush to remove dirt and debris from crevices, then hose it down thoroughly. Add a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to a gallon of water and gently scrub the iron, then rinse thoroughly. Wipe furniture down with a towel.
  • Teak Furniture: Use a soft brush to clear dirt and dust away. Then, use a mild wood soap solution with a damp rag to clean the wood. Rinse with a hose and allow to dry.
  • Wicker Furniture: Use a hose vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the tight weave, then dust with a dry paint brush. Mix 1 teaspoon mild wood soap with 1 gallon of warm water and use a soft rag or sponge to wash the furniture. Rinse with hose and wipe down with a clean towel.
  • Canvas Cushions: Mold and mildew can build up on the edges and underside of canvas fusions. Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent with 1 teaspoon Borax in one quart of warm water and fill a spray bottle. Thoroughly saturate the entire surface of the cushion, especially in the creases, crevices and edges. Allow the solution to sit for 15-20 minutes, then using a garden hose with a jet attachment, spray the cushions to release the solution and the grime. Stand the cushions on edge and allow to dry in a sunny spot until just damp. Then spray with a fabric protector to prevent future mildew. Allow to dry thoroughly in the sun.

NOTE: Always test in an inconspicuous area before treating an entire surface!

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15 Genius Summer Party Ideas

Get your next summer party on the calendar with these genius ideas that will transform you into the host with the most. From decorations, to cooking tips, to thoughtful details that make your guests feel comfortable, these ideas will change the way you par-tay!

Clip flowers from your yard and place them under glasses with votive candles on top.  This will create a gorgeous, colorful display that takes you from daylight to night light.

 

Terra cotta pots lined with foil and filled with hot charcoal make great centerpieces and tiny s’mores stations!

Large leaves make colorful coasters for drinks.

Provide outdoor necessities your guests may have forgotten, like bug spray, sunscreen, extra sun hats or scarves.

Put glow sticks in balloons and scatter them across the yard for an illuminating display.

 

Think outside the box for serving containers. Fill a kiddie pool, wheelbarrow, or bird bath with ice and turn it into a cool drink station.

Fill water balloons and freeze them for colorful, functional ice blocks to keep food and drinks cool.

Keep bugs at bay and out of your cocktail by popping a cupcake liner on top of your cup!

Grilling burgers? Have guests write their meat preference in ketchup on their bun.

Cook kebabs more evenly by using two skewers instead of one. It will keep items from spinning or falling off.

A mini marshmallow in the bottom of an ice cream cone prevents drips!

Use colorful pots or vases to hold utensils and other party necessities. Always inventory your own stuff before buying anything new.

Tea lights inside empty jars transform into summertime lanterns. This is an incredibly simple and affordable way to add ambiance to a party. Place them on tables, along paths, and anywhere you need a little twinkle of light.

Serve summer salads or appetizers in strawberry crates. Cute, recyclable, and a perfect way to control portions.

Transform your hampers into trash and recycling bins at your party. So much prettier than regular garbage cans.

Do you have a favorite outdoor entertaining tip? Share your ideas!

Recipe: Watermelon Pie

Mrs. Fields Secrets Watermelon Pie
Everything you love about summer is contained in this delicious pie. It’s a sweet, cool, refreshing reprieve from the hot summer sun. No artificial watermelon flavoring found here, this pie is made with real watermelon juice, which gives it the most amazing authentic flavor. It’s a light summer dessert you’ll enjoy again and again. Pair it with your favorite crumb crust, a bit of whip cream, and put your feet up for a while to enjoy. Better yet, find a hammock.

Watermelon Pie

2 prepared pie crusts (graham cracker or vanilla wafer)
5 cups pureed, strained watermelon juice (approximately half of a large watermelon)
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (1 oz. total)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions
Separate two cups of watermelon juice into a microwave-safe container and pour the gelatin packets on top. Allow the gelatin to bloom for about 2-3 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining three cups of watermelon juice with lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and cream. Whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. Place the gelatin/juice mix in the microwave and heat for two minutes on high, stirring midway to help dissolve the gelatin entirely. Slowly whisk the warm gelatin mix into the other mixture. Once combined, pour into the prepared pie crusts and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Serve chilled with whipped cream.

Sweet Ideas for Store-Bought Nibblers

Have you picked up a box of our fudge-dipped Nibblers Cookies at your grocery store yet? These crave-worthy cookies are delicious right out of the box, but we’ve thought of some other great ideas to transform these snacks into some of your favorite desserts!

  • Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches: A little scoop of ice cream in between two Nibblers Cookies is both delicious and adorable.
  • Pie crust: Add two tablespoons melted butter to one box of loosely crushed cookies, then press into an 8″ pie tin. Fill with your favorite cream or pudding filling.
  • Brookies: Our Nibbler Cookies are delicious baked inside of a brownie using our Brookie Pan.
  • Push Pops: Layer Nibbler Cookies with cream and chocolate layers in your favorite childhood push container.
  • S’mores: Squish a freshly roasted marshmallow in between two Nibblers Cookies. The fudge will melt to make an ooey gooey easy s’more.

Grab a box and get creative!

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