5 No-Cook Dinners That Will Actually Fill You Up

Sorry, oven. We'll see you in the fall.

August 17, 2020

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Kardea Brown’s Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwiches.

Kardea Brown’s Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwiches.

Photo by: Matt


Step into my 1940s kitchen, where the countertops and appliances have been updated, but the old wood cabinets, including tilt-out bins originally used for flour and baking supplies, remain — and the air conditioning is scant. I tell you this so you can picture me staring into the fridge on a typical weeknight in the Southeast, wondering what in the world I'll make for dinner, because it's 86 degrees outside and 80 degrees in my kitchen.

Now, I know it sounds like I'm complaining, and I am — a little. I love the heat; I love summer. Honestly, I could survive no problem in year-round shorts weather. But turning on the oven to roast veggies, broil a sheet pan meal or even, when I get desperate, bake a frozen pizza makes the temperature in the kitchen soar to unreasonable heights. Planning ahead and doing a bit of meal prep early in the day, before the sun is directly overhead, helps (definitely give that a try!). But on the days that time has escaped me, nothing beats a no-cook dinner.

Thank you, Kardea Brown, for showing me how to dress up chicken salad in a way that makes it dinner-worthy. (And who doesn't want a croissant, at any time of day?) Dijon mustard and a couple of hard-boiled eggs elevate the traditional mayonnaise-based dish. Using a store-bought rotisserie chicken makes it an easy no-cook meal.

If you can't eat enough chips and dip for the snack to be considered a meal, I'm not sure we can be friends. Bobby Flay's 15-minute salad, reminiscent of chips and guac, could easily be made into a meal, especially if you don't share with too many family members. Filled with olives, chickpeas, avocado and tomatoes, it delivers fresh summer flavor you can enjoy by the spoonful. Some fans even serve this with more chips, and I fully support that idea!

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Don't worry if you're not into camping. This is the perfect sandwich to throw together in the morning for a seamless meal later; the flavors will meld in the fridge and dinner will be ready when you are. Cold cuts, cheese and a hearty olive spread give this easy dish staying power, and all you'll have to dirty is your food processor.

Photo by: Armando Rafael Moutela ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Armando Rafael Moutela, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Another salad? Yes, another salad! Because when you combine a rotisserie chicken with fresh vegetables and herbs, roasted peanuts and a creamy, honey-infused peanut butter dressing, you get a protein-packed meal that leaves nothing to be desired.

Food stylist: Anne Disrude
Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver,Food stylist: Anne Disrude
Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver


Food stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver,Food stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver

Photo by: Con Poulos ©2010

Con Poulos, 2010

This easy recipe requires little effort beyond stirring. Simply marinate a pound of bay scallops with lime juice, orange juice, salt, shallots, tomatoes and minced jalapeno. Your fridge will handle the rest!

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