Guest post from Dianna Scofield
I love to cook and bake, but I start losing interest in the height of summer when it’s just too hot. Who wants to heat up the kitchen even more by turning on the oven or stove? It’s my job to get dinner on the table every night, though, no matter how hot it is outside. Here are some tips and tricks for getting dinner ready without breaking a sweat!
Cool Cooking for Hot Summers:
Use your microwave
The microwave doesn’t heat up the house like the stove and oven do. Many meals can be prepared partly or fully in the microwave. Veggie burgers are made to be microwaved, and hot dogs do well if your poke them with a fork first and watch them closely.
Chicken and fish can be cooked in the microwave also, especially if you’re making a small amount. Arrange on a plate and cover with another plate, upside-down, to keep in the juices and prevent splattering.
I nearly always steam my vegetables in the microwave. Put your veggies (frozen or fresh) in a microwave-proof dish. Add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, and cook. If my dish doesn’t have a lid, I just use a plate. Cooking times will vary depending on what you’re cooking, how much, and your microwave. My microwave can usually cook a pound of frozen vegetables in about ten minutes.
Couscous is cooked by pouring boiling water over it and letting it stand. I like to bring the water for my couscous to a boil in the microwave to avoid heating up the house. One of our favorite summer recipes is this Mediterranean couscous and lentil salad.
The grill is an obvious choice for summertime cooking, as cooking outside keeps the heat out of the house. Meats are an obvious choice for the grill, but you can try veggies, tin foil dinners, shish kebabs, or even pineapple.
Buy it, don’t bake it
I enjoy baking my own bread, but I give myself permission to buy it in the summer. If you must bake, try letting your dough rise overnight and bake first thing in the morning before it gets too hot. If you don’t want to spoil your nice cool kitchen, you could try baking right before bed, and the kitchen can cool back down overnight while you sleep.
We love eating this mozzarella and tomato salad with a loaf of store-bought French bread in the summer. Or what about a sandwich? Usually I view sandwiches as lunchtime fare, but if you fancy them up a little with special bread and a homemade spread and a fruit salad on the side, I think sandwiches make an ideal no-cook summer dinner.
Use the slow cooker
The slow cooker heats up the house much less than the stove and oven, and it’s portable, so if you don’t want it inside, you could move it to the garage or the porch if your really wanted to!
You can even try baking bread in your slow cooker. I tried it last summer and it worked well, although the top will be very pale unless you finish it off under the broiler.
Eat it raw
I love soup, and my husband loves salad. I get my turn in the winter, and he gets his turn in the summer. We eat salads all summer long—they’re so appealing when it’s hot.
We love this Southwestern layered salad (we call it “chip salad” and the kids gobble it down). Chinese chicken salad, Cobb salad, salade Niçoise, and good old-fashioned chef salad are all good main-dish, hot-weather choices.
What are your favorite recipes to prepare in the summer? How do you keep your kitchen cool?
Read more on this topic with these posts!
- Homemaker’s Goals for the New Year - December 15, 2014
- Quick & Easy – Christmas Meal Hacks - December 10, 2014
- Tips To A Well Planned Thanksgiving - November 17, 2014
- Simple and Practical Homeschool Routine - August 12, 2014
- Preparing Food for Maternity Leave - July 15, 2014
- Free Kids Chore Checklist - April 8, 2014
- 8 Questions to Ask When De-cluttering - March 25, 2014
- Spring Cleaning Checklists - March 11, 2014
- Confessions of a Homemaking Challenged Homemaker - February 24, 2014
- Overcoming Discouragement With Small Changes - February 11, 2014