Simple, Cool, Healthy and Delicious

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As back to school approaches and families start running in all directions with homework, sports, music lessons, rehearsals and dance, not to mention parents’ work schedules, a cold dinner that can be eaten whenever the troops are hungry has tremendous value.

As back to school approaches and families start running in all directions with homework, sports, music lessons, rehearsals and dance, not to mention parents’ work schedules, a cold dinner that can be eaten whenever the troops are hungry has tremendous value.
What’s not to like?
In addition to the recipes below, a cold soup is a wonderful complement to round out this menu. Cold cucumber or watermelon gazpacho would be ideal.
In aristocratic English circles of days gone by, this type of repast was called a “cold collation” — and was offered to visiting guests when a full dinner was not possible due to staggered arrival times, a major social event or the household staff being given a night off.
This cold collation of dishes covers the food groups and offers a mix of the familiar with the novel. Leftovers are great in lunchboxes, and parents can feel confident that their offspring are well nourished, even on the fly. And if the cast of Downton Abbey pops in by chance, you’ll know what to offer them.
Tuna with a Twist
3 cans white albacore tuna in water, well drained and broken up with fork
1 scallion, sliced, white and green parts
1 carrot, chopped finely
1 stalk celery, chopped finely
¼ cup parsley, chopped finely
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard
Juice of ½ lemon
Generous dousing of salt and pepper
Hot sauce, if desired
Mix all ingredients well, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serves 4 to 6 as part of a cold buffet
Pasta Salad with Peas
1 lb. penne or other short pasta cooked to al dente, according to package directions and cooled
(I used high-protein enriched pasta for maximum nutritional benefit)
1 package frozen peas, cooked, drained and cooled
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate. Serve well chilled.
Serves 6
TBM Salad (Tomato/Basil/Mozzarella)
2 heirloom tomatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces (note: if heirlooms are not available, substitute 2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half)
10 basil leaves, rinsed and cut in ribbons
1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in bite-sized chunks
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a shallow bowl and toss well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Serves 4 to 6
Spiced Watermelon
This is best presented as a “do-it-yourself” arrangement.
I love the sweetness of watermelon fused with the tang of lime, the brine of salt and the kick of chili — but some don’t. My suggestion is to serve the watermelon in a bowl with the fixings on the side, so diners can choose their preferred combo.
1 watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lime, cut in wedges
Coarse salt (kosher, Maldon,
Himalayan, whatever your cabinet contains)
Powdered chili pepper: chipotle, cayenne or ancho
Squeeze the lime over the watermelon. Sprinkle with salt and chili.

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