Too Hot to Cook
You know it's hot when even Death Valley records record breaking temps. Even while living and working in air conditioned buildings there reaches a point during the summer where it just seems too hot too move, let alone cook anything. Truth be told I eat out a fair amount during the summer but there are those evenings you just want to put your feet up, pour yourself a glass of something cold, and pull a healthy meal straight out of the fridge. Here are some tips to make your summer dinners quick, delicious, and cool!
1. Prepare your protein and starchy carbs ahead of time as these usually take the most time and heat to prepare. Find a time of the week that works for you. It could be Sunday evening, it could be Wednesday morning. Aim to do any inside cooking when it's cool. Even with A/C, cooking indoors simply gets sticky. Even better, prepare them outside if you can. Grill up a plate of chicken/beef/pork ahead of time that will pair well with cool veggies or other light fare. Shrimp and fish work well too and are some of my summer favorites.
While you are grilling your protein, throw some cut potatoes on as well. Chop up your potatoes of choice, toss them in oil/salt/pepper/garlic and grill in a basket until tender. As a great alternative that can also be eaten cold, make a batch of quinoa that can go into bowls or be added to salads to add a punch of both protein and carbs. Rice made in a rice cooker is quick and keeps you from having to fire up the cooktop.
2. You now have the 'hard part' out of the way. The rest is the best part of Summer.
Whether you find your veggies and fruits at the grocer, the farmer's market, or your own back yard, pile your plate high with Summer's sweet harvest. While you are grilling, throw some vegetables and even fruits on the grill as well. Onion and peppers are delicious grilled as it mellows them and brings out the richness of their flavors.
3. Prepare a cold salad with diced grilled chicken, quinoa, tons of vegetables and your favorite dressing. Make a bowl with quinoa (zap it in the microwave quickly if you prefer to eat it warm), a some chicken or steak, and fresh veggies on top and a dash of sauce. Get creative. You don't need a recipe to make a salad. Don't forget to add the fruit to your meal as well. Mangoes, pineapple, apples and peaches can add a fun twist to your meal.
Summer was meant to savor, not swelter through. Enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of the season before they wither away for Winter.
For more great meal ideas here are a few of my favorite sites:
The Gracious Pantry Tiffany has a wealth of information regarding cooking whole and healthy 'real' foods.
Feasting at Home Sylvia's recipes are 'veggie focused' and to die for delicious.
The Italian Dish Italian food is hard to come by where I live. Elaine makes making it a home
Photos in this post courtesy of Wix