“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” – The old saying coined by Harry S Truman in 1942 is meant to remind us that if something is too much pressure to deal with, we should cease and desist. However, in hot summer days, this quote can be taken quite literally.
A week ago I found myself stranded in the kitchen pondering what to have for dinner while trying to avoid turning on my oven, stove, or even the microwave! Window units, 95-degree heat, and a third floor apartment are a recipe for an uncomfortably warm kitchen.
So what are we to do on these hot summer days? Here are a few tips to get you prepared and to help you stay cool:
1. Batch cook
You may be familiar with batch cooking if you’re a meal prepper. The idea is to cook a bunch at once to reduce the need of cooking multiple times. For instance, if I wanted to have a pasta for lunch I could cook all the pasta on Monday, then use the pasta (in the same dish or different ones) throughout the week. You can do this with any meat protein, eggs, beans, pastas, and grains!
2. Replace ingredients that need to be cooked with those that don’t.
If you have a recipe that calls for cooking chicken just replace that with a rotisserie chicken. You can marinate the meat from a rotisserie chicken for more flavor, but you don’t have to cook it! Use pre-cooked shrimp or canned beans, tuna, etc. Also – OVERNIGHT OATS. A great breakfast alternative that is healthier than cereal and even more convenient. Make up to a whole week’s worth of overnight oats if you have extra jars, then grab n’ go each day. Overnight oats are also a wonderful post-workout option.
3. Slow Cooker
Your crockpot is not just for winter comfort foods! Crockpots emit much less heat than the oven or stove, and are so convenient.
4. Embrace summer fruits and vegetables
The best thing about summer, to me, is the increased variety of fresh produce. And lucky for us, these are all the ones that don’t NEED to be cooked! Embrace summer with salads, sandwiches and smoothies loaded with raw fruits and vegetables.
5. It’s ok to be a snacker
Many people feel full faster in the summer time due to the heat and humidity. Try snacking, or “grazing”, thru the day. So many great snacks can incorporate the summer harvest: dips like hummus and tzatziki are great with cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots; deli meats and cheeses can be accompanied by berries, stone fruits, and herbs; yogurt can be topped with local honey and fresh fruit; the options are endless!