No matter how much you love summer, there is one part that can drive even the most heat-loving person bonkers: cooking in a hot kitchen. When outdoor temperatures are high, cooking over a hot stove or firing up the oven can be the last thing you want to do. From making salads to blending smoothies, try these five tips to keep you (and your kitchen) cool this summer:
1. Make Salads
Not only are salads healthy and delicious, they don’t require any heat to make! Instead of a hot supper, try a crisp, cool summer salad on scorching nights. Whip up a fresh salad dressing in your blender to top a salad bursting with flavor or try spiralizing unexpected vegetables to make a colorful and tasty meal. Instead of cooking chicken or steak for protein, try adding chickpeas or other canned beans to a fresh Mediterranean salad. Another trick? Add your favorite summer fruits to your salad like cantaloupe or watermelon. Although usually reserved for lunch, a classic egg salad, chicken salad or shrimp salad can be delicious on top of a bed of lettuce or served as a sandwich.
2. Turn on Your Slow Cooker
While you may be used to turning to your slow cooker in the winter for easy soups and stews, you may be surprised at how helpful it can be during the summer. Despite heating things up inside, slow cookers don’t radiate heat as much as other appliances making them perfect for summertime use. Avoid hot soups which can warm you up while eating and instead make barbecue chicken sandwiches, sweet and sour chicken or mango chicken with coconut rice. You can also try making slow cooker shredded chicken to add cold to wraps or sandwiches. Whatever you decide to cook in your slow cooker this summer, you’ll love how cool it keeps you and your kitchen.
For more delicious slow cooker recipes, try these six recipes that will cook while you work (from home).
3. Get Toasty
Instead of heating up the whole oven (and kitchen), try using your toaster oven instead. Because most toaster ovens are smaller than ovens, they heat up (and cool down) faster, leaving your kitchen cooler. Make a quick and easy sheet pan supper like pork chops and Brussel sprouts or salmon with green beans. Try skipping a big heavy dinner and instead opt for fancy toastlike peach toast with ricotta or blackberry and brie toast. A delicious meal doesn’t have to take up your whole evening or heat up the whole house—a quick and easy toaster oven recipe can fill your family up. Plus, toaster ovens are a great way to get your teens involved in the kitchen.
4. Cool It Down
While it may not replace an entire lunch or dinner, the hot days of summer are the perfect time to try making your own ice cream, popsicles, snow cones, or iced coffee. Using an ice cream maker to create your own ice cream is surprisingly easy and with great flavors like blueberry cobbler or strawberry cheesecake, you’ll want to make it all summer long. Homemade snow cones and popsicles are the perfect snack time or barbeque treat and by making them yourself, you can choose just how sweet to make them. Start each morning with a jolt of caffeine, but leave the heat behind. An iced coffee can wake you up while keeping you cool. Use a BrewStation coffee maker, a cold brew coffee maker or your regular coffee maker and then put the coffee in the fridge. Or, pour it over ice and add vanilla simple syrup or blackberry simple syrup for some flavor.
5. Blend It Up
The easiest way to keep it cool at breakfast? Don’t heat anything up! Instead, start your day with a delicious smoothie made in a blender, perfect for upping your intake of fruits and veggies. Try filling your smoothies with superfoods like this green avocado power smoothie and watermelon chia smoothie or stick to classics like the banana nut smoothie or strawberry banana smoothie. You can also try freezing all your ingredients beforehand in individual servings so you can grab them out of the freezer first thing in the morning and blend them up in a personal blender. Whatever ingredients you choose, you’ll keep your kitchen and yourself cool as a cucumber smoothie.
Whether swapping your hot breakfast for a sweet smoothie or turning to your slow cooker in lieu of your stove top, having the right appliance for the job always comes in handy. Leave the heat outside this summer and keep your kitchen cool with these simple tips.
Let us know in the comment section below what else you do to keep the temperatures down inside the kitchen when outside temperatures are up.