Never mind the summer temperatures outside. It's sizzling inside the localApplebee'srestaurant. The Lenexa, Kan.-based restaurant chain recently introduced a new line of Sizzling Skillet entrées.

"From the kitchen to the table, fresh flavor never sounded, smelled, tasted or looked so good," said Executive Chef Shannon Johnson, CEC, who oversees development of all menu items at Applebee's. New entrees include:

Sizzling Asian Shrimp, which hosts a sizzling skillet of flame-grilled shrimp served over a flavorful bed of rice and an Asian vegetable medley of broccoli, red peppers, sugar snap peas, mushrooms and carrots. It's drizzled with a sweet-and-spicy sauce and topped with crispy wonton strips and cilantro.

Sizzling Steak & Cheese, which serves up Applebee's classic nine-ounce House Sirloin on a sizzling skillet with rich Italian cheeses, sautéed onions, mushrooms, and red and green peppers. It's served with garlic mashed potatoes.

Sizzling Chicken and Spicy Queso Blanco. Starting with a grilled seven-ounce chicken breast served over sautéed onions, and red and green peppers, it's smothered in spicy Queso Blanco, sprinkled with cilantro and served with a side of home-style fried potatoes -- all on a sizzling skillet.

Bakery restaurant operatorCosi Inc., Deerfield, Ill., said it hiredKimberly Letiziaas director of culinary innovation and menu strategy. Officials said Letizia most recently served as a corporate chef consultant to Kraft Foods where she supported numerous national restaurant chains with menu development and consumer intelligence. Cosi describes itself as a national premium convenience restaurant chain that features sandwiches, freshly-tossed salads, melts, soups, Cosi bagels, flatbread pizzas, S'mores, snacks and other desserts, and a wide range of coffee and coffee-based drinks and other specialty beverages.