We have all noticed the temperature inching upward over the past couple of weeks. Record temperatures are being set all across the globe and it’s no surprise that many people are searching for ways to beat the heat. While some people may be attempting to find a way to still enjoy the outdoors, some of us are simply trying to figure out how we are going to feed our families without raising our indoor temperature.
A hot and stuffy kitchen can be a quick downer any time of the year, but it’s especially unfavorable when temperatures are reaching beyond the nineties outdoors. There are a few great ways to avoid turning your kitchen into a sauna while still providing your family with a delicious and easy meal.
Grilling – If you don’t already own a grill, now would be a great time get one. You don’t have to spend a load of cash in order to get one these days either. Many big box stores carry charcoal grills for around $20 and even the small ones are sufficient to grill enough food for a family of four. Grill some burgers, vegetable skewers or anything your heart desires and keep your kitchen cool at the same time! Instead of baking potatoes in the oven and raising the temperature of your kitchen, chop potatoes into quarter-inch slices and throw them into a foil packet with salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil and place the packet on the grill. This will give you the same feeling as a baked potato, but it’s quicker and prevents you from having to turn on your oven.
Crock Pot – Many of us own a Crock Pot, yet most of us neglect them during the summer. Crock Pots are generally known for making hearty winter-time stews and casseroles but they can be used for so much more. Is your family craving a savory summertime barbecue? There’s no need to roast your meat of choice in the oven for hours and then painstakingly shred it by hand before adding sauce. Simply place a pound of your chosen meat and a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce in your Crock Pot on high for 4 to 6 hours. When your barbecue is finished cooking it will fall apart all on it’s own and you can simply ladle it from the Crock Pot straight to the bun! At the same time you’re loading down your slow cooker you can also prepare easy homemade coleslaw. If you don’t want to go that far you can also purchase prepackaged coleslaw in your grocer’s deli section. Since a Crock Pot is self-contained and small it will emit much less heat than an oven and prevent your kitchen from becoming overly hot.
Salads – In order to turn a salad from a side dish to a full on meal you will need to add a lot of extras. It is quite easy to add protein to your salad by purchasing precooked and packaged chicken slices. Another way to add good fat to your salad is with hard-boiled eggs, avocado slices, nuts and grains. Serving your salad with a fresh loaf of French or Italian bread from a local bakery will also allow your family to walk away from this summertime meal feeling full and refreshed. You may even want to make your own salad bar for everyone to choose from. Put out several different ingredients in individual bowls and let everyone build their own salad. Provide a variety of dressings such as vinaigrette and cream-based dressings to ensure that everyone walks away happy.
Icebox Desserts – Many desserts require using your oven or stove top in order to obtain your finished decadent product. With icebox desserts you rarely need to turn your stove on and you will likely never be instructed to turn your oven on. Icebox dessert recipes come in a wide variety and can be altered to suit nearly any taste. There are many recipes out there for icebox cakes which normally include whipped cream, pudding and graham crackers at the very least. You may also want to make your very own fudge pops, ice pops or ice cream. The latter suggestions will usually require some extra equipment such as molds or an ice cream maker but there are many online tutorials to be found on improvising in these situations. Feeding your family doesn’t have to make you sweat. If you are concerned about beating the heat while still providing your family with a healthy, home-cooked meal then try giving some of these suggestions a shot. As always, please be safe in excessive heat. Always make sure to check if there are any local fire bans before grilling out when temperatures are scorching hot and humidity is drastically low.
Do you have any suggestions of your own on cooking in the summer heat? Let us know in the comments! We would love to hear from you.