Let me help you keep your cool in the kitchen! I will readily admit that summer is my favourite season. I appreciate the virtues of each season and would miss falling leaves, crisp winter mornings and new spring growth, but when it all comes down to it, summer takes the first place prize in my little world.
Having said that, there are a few drawbacks to actually cooking in the summer.
The kitchen is stifiling!
Turning on an oven while the a/c is trying to cool the house seems just plain silly. Last week I actually heard myself saying, ‘Close the door, we aren’t trying to cool the outside!’ That statement comes from a long list of things my parents said that I thought I would never say.
During the warm weather, we make great use of our barbeque. From burgers to grilled veggies and everything in between, a large portion of our cooking happens outside. Try something a little different and add turkey burgers to the menu. You can also give grilling fruit a spin. There is something magical about eating a peach or a pineapple slice that has been grilled. When making chicken on the barbeque, we often grill a little extra to use in lunchtime salads. This helps ensure that your salad is balanced with protein and you won’t be on a snacking mission right after lunch.
Another sometimes forgotten appliance in the summer is the slow cooker. My friends, this is just bonkers! Pull that beautiful kitchen marvel out of the cupboard and use it for summertime cooking. Did you know that the average slow cooker costs under a dollar to run for the whole day? It won’t increase the temperature in the kitchen and it will make you feel like you have the night off in the kitchen. While I will acknowledge that we tend to want to eat lighter in warm weather, there is something so satisfying about a warm curry even in the middle of the summer. If you are feeling adventurous, try this recipe for Slow Cooker Potato Soup. Where is the adventure you ask? Eat it cold! Yes, you heard me. Eat it cold. If Gazpacho can do it, so can this recipe. Cold soup is not my idea. Go ahead and search it on the internet. You’ll find all kinds of interesting ideas.
For those of you who have joined the tribe of pressure cooker lovers, try this recipe for delicious lentil tacos. Pile those babies up with diced tomatoes, avocado and sprouts and you have a winning combination!
I have better things to do…
I want to be outside enjoying the weather, not stuck inside prepping food all day long. For those of you with children, they seem to be hungry all day long. Whether it is a growth spurt, boredom or a bit of both, the kitchen can start to feel like it is always open.
Solve the constant, ‘What can I have to eat?’ conversation by taking the time to cut raw veggies & fruit into ready to eat snacks. Cutting the watermelon up instead of leaving it on the counter where we hope someone else will cut it up is not good enough. This falls into the same category as putting things on the stairs hoping that the owners of said items will independently sort and put it all away. I know I am not alone in this wishful thinking.
Make a plan. I promise you, taking the time to menu plan saves me so much time, frustration and money. I shop more efficiently, waste far less and don’t have to spend all afternoon trying to figure out what we should eat.
Don’t Cook – I Dare You!
Yep, you heard me right. Don’t cook. Hot summer days are the perfect time to skip cooking and turn to simpler meals. Before I knew anything about, ‘charcuterie,’ there were, ‘nibbly lunches.’ This is what my boys and I would call our favourite lunches which included fresh veggies, fruit, olives, cheese, meat and whatever else inspired us. No-fuss and everyone was happy.
Well, there you have it – my best tips and tricks for eating well and enjoying the summer with family and friends. What are your favourite summer meal solutions? Please share below!