We can all probably agree that using the oven when it’s 90 degrees outside is absolutely horrendous. There’s just nothing good that can come out of that situation no matter how you look at it. Sure you might get a nice hot meal, but you’ll end up heating a room that you’re paying to keep cool, and after you eat the hot food, you yourself will feel warmer and be prompted to spend even more money cooling down the house.
The stove just isn’t summer friendly, and while I wouldn’t advocate eating cold food all summer, I would say that there are better alternatives to the stove and better meal choices we could be making when the heat is bearing down on us.
These are just a few of many possible meal ideas that could be utilized during the warmer months of the year.
What we’ll do first, is list some appliances that are much better to use for cooking food when your air conditioner is working feverishly to cool down your kitchen.
Alternatives to the Stove
Crock Pot -- The crock pot or “slow cooker” is an excellent tool to use when it’s too warm for the stove. In fact, if you don’t have one, I’d say it’s a worthwhile investment. It takes longer to cook food, but it doesn’t throw off nearly as much heat as the stove does. Use it for soups, casseroles or just about anything.
Outdoor Grill -- A grill is one of the obvious summer choices and if you don’t have one, you’ll have some pretty decent options for under $300 if you choose to go buy one up. A grill is your best option for preparing meat throughout the summer, with the added benefit of the much preferred grilled flavor.
Outdoor Fire Pit (in the evening) -- This is probably only going to work in the evenings, but if you’re really rugged, you can use a fire to cook your food, or even just make smores or hot dogs. If you haven’t had a hot meal all day, it might be your last line opportunity to do so, even if it’s just a hot dog.
Microwave -- While the microwave isn’t necessarily a summer exclusive item, it should be the preferred method of cooking food instead of the stove, if at all possible. It’s quicker, gives off far less heat and is all around simpler to use if you’re trying to limit your time in the kitchen.
Bread Maker -- You can do a lot with a bread maker, so it can fill in as a part-time baking option while your oven is lying dormant.
With our non-stove cooking appliances in place, let’s look at a few meals that we can prepare during the summer that are warm weather friendly and free from the excess heat of the oven and stove top.
Meal 1 -- Grilled chicken, baked (or sweet) potatoes and pasta salad with iced green tea and honey --
Marinade the chicken ahead of time and cook it over the grill on top of aluminum foil. If you’re using baked potatoes, poke holes on either side of each one and add olive oil and sea salt to the outer skin, then add the potatoes to the grill as well.
To cool down, do a pasta salad with some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and add some iced green tea with honey to round things out.
Meal 2 -- Feta Burgers, fresh salad, corn on the cob and homemade lemonade -- When you make your burgers, stuff them with feta cheese before they go on the grill. When you put the corn on the grill, you can actually leave them with the husks still on and they’ll cook just fine. All you’ll really need to add after that is a cold salad since the beef and feta will be pretty filling. Serve water with fresh lemons and just a bit of sugar for lemonade.
Meal 3 -- Potato Soup in the crock pot and homemade bread with butter -- This recipe only works if you have a bread maker. If not, substitute the bread for Texas toast on the grill. Whatever potato soup recipe you prefer is fine, just use the crock pot to cook it. Even in the crock pot, it shouldn’t take terribly long. If you have the luxury of the bread maker, you can enjoy homemade bread with the soup without having to use the oven. This makes for a great warm meal in the evening if you and your family are tired of eating cold stuff.
These are just a few ideas, but the point is that you can still eat great warm meals without using the oven or stove. Just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean that you and your family will get tired of hot food and just want to eat deli meat all day long. In fact, the longer days and more relaxed atmosphere make summer a better time for cooking and enjoying meals.
Be creative, and learn how to do it while staying cool at the same time. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Chase Stevens is an avid blogger and contributor to IndustrialControlDirect.com a leading online retailer of industrial control devices and din rail brackets.