Beating The Heat Of Summer Cooking

Many of us are starting to feel it. That hot summer sun that has a tendency to completely drain you. It’s been hot AND humid here. I’m talking about the kind of dry heat that feels like it’s taking your breath away the minute you step foot outside.

I won’t lie, I’m totally LAZY in the summer and cooking is the first thing that gets cut down drastically.  I can’t even tell you how many times this month this conversation has been had in my house:

Husband:  Are you cooking dinner tonight?
Me: No.

Luckily I’m married to a man that has no problem at all fixing himself a sandwich or bowl of cereal, but I know in the back of his mind he was probably hoping and praying that I snap out of it. Well I did finally snap out it.

Needless to say I now have a very happy hubby and a toddler who is thrilled that family dinner time is back in full-effect. I did miss it.

Here are a few tips that I’m using to make summer cooking a breeze.

1.) Plan a weekly menu

I usually follow this rule religiously to help make grocery shopping easier but I really slack in the summer.  When making your list take advantage of the array of fruits and veggies that in season and on sale. Make dishes that can be served cold like pasta salads. Plan simple meals that are quick to prepare. I usually avoid things like lasagna, soups or anything that will require me to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Here was my dinner menu for this past week. Super simple and I didn’t spend more than 45 minute per meal.

Monday- Grilled Tilapia, Yellow Rice, Cucumber Salad
Tuesday- Homemade Individual Veggie Pizzas, Grilled Corn on the cob
Wednesday- Steak Tacos (steak cooked in slow cooker), black beans, corn on the cob
Thursday-Pizza Hut Pasta & breadsticks
Friday- Grilled Chicken & Veggie Kabobs, White Rice

2.) Use the mornings & nights 
It’s normally cooler early in the mornings and at night. Use these cooler times of the day to prepare meals or to just chop up ingredients. I LOVE cooking/prepping at night for some reason. I open the door and windows and that cool air just blows in. I love the sounds of the crickets and frogs. When I cook at night it just feels a lot calmer. I prepared an easy turkey lasagna and garlic bread on Wednesday night and froze it in individual servings. This will be lunch for next week because I know we are all tired of sandwiches.

3.) Pull out the crock pot, microwave, toaster ovens etc.
Now is the time you will be thanking yourself for purchasing these items that you probably always forget to use. I swear by my crock pot. I seriously LOVE it….like…love it like a person. There is nothing as satisfying then throwing some ingredients in a pot, turning it on low and coming home 8 hours later to a hot, home cooked meal.  Seriously, who invented this thing???? I also use my microwave a lot. I use it to steam veggies, heat up food, fry bacon, etc. Don’t know where I’d be without it. These items do not put off a lot of heat compared to turning on the oven or stovetop so find recipes that utilize them.

4.) Grill it
The grill is a summer staple and for some it’s a year ’round thing. The beauty of grilling foods, beside those sexy ass grill marks and fabulous taste, is that all the heat stays outside instead of in your kitchen. Almost anything can be prepared on the grill. I plan on getting pretty creative with the grill this season. I’m not really a “grill girl” because that’s my hubby’s domain, but I’ve got quiet a few recipes I’m ready to try out like grilled pancakes and peach glazed chicken.

5.) Crank up the air
I know a lot of energy-saving, green folks will frown upon this, but if you’ve ever been in the company of a hot woman in the kitchen… it’s not a good thing. If I’m hot while I’m cooking I become evil and cranky at the drop of a dime.  If you choose not to turn up the air then place a small oscillating fan directly on you to help cool you off and while you’re at it pour yourself an ice cold drink.

I hope these tips help! If all else fails find a cooking buddy and take turns cooking dinner during the week. My sister-in-law and I use to do this a few years ago and it was AMAZING only having to worry about dinner twice a week. Hmmm….I think I will start that up again. Jenny are you ready????

How do you stay sane in the kitchen during the hot months??