Everbody Eats: What to make when the oven dies

We’re eating a lot of sandwiches at my house. I wish I could say it’s because it is July, and it is too hot to cook, but the truth is my oven is on its last legs.

It started slowly. I went to bake a pizza one evening and 30 minutes after I turned the oven to 350 degrees, it was barely warm. With some experimentation and not-suitable-for-print language, I learned that if I must bake something, the oven will work if I heat it up in 50-degree increments — and yes, I feel like I’m living in an episode of “The Middle” or “Roseanne.”

We need a new oven, but according to all the “Best Time to Buy Things” guides that pop up in my social media feeds, October is the ideal time for home appliance purchases, as stores are clearing out inventory to make room for new models. For the sake of a deal, I told myself I could deal with it and wait.

Then we lost a burner on the stove.

I’m not saying it was a big fire, but there was a lot of smoke and a large black ring on the white appliance that wasn’t there before. And I had to apologize to my husband because I insisted the burning smell was because he let water boil over when making breakfast that morning.

So now we’re down to two working burners and a finicky oven. I’m checking sales fliers and have home appliance stores bookmarked on my smartphone, but have yet to come across a deal good enough to make me forget my “we can wait until October” stance. I tell myself I’m being frugal; not stubborn. Also, baked goods are my Achilles’ heel. It’s better for my health if I can’t make them, right?

Hence lots of soups and salads for dinner.

Chicken salad is among my favorite go to sandwiches. Unfortunately, the oven saga means I cannot continue my practice of baking two or three chicken breasts weekly just so I have them on hand when I need to make a quick meal, so I’ve turned to rotisserie chicken instead.

We all have to make sacrifices.


1 pound boneless, skinless cooked chicken or turkey, cut into cubes (about 2 cups)

2 red eating apples, cut into small cubes

3 tablespoons golden raisins

3 tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon medium or mild curry powder

1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder

1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Crisp lettuce leaves, to serve

Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Place all ingredients, except salt, pepper, lettuce leaves and cilantro, in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Line a serving dish or individual serving dishes with the lettuce leaves and spoon in the curried chicken mixture. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.

Source: “The Apple Cookbook: More Than Sixty Easy, Imaginative Recipes” by Nicola Hill (Courage Books; Feb. 1995)



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