What to Cook When It’s too Hot to Cook

It’s 93 degrees today! Do I want to cook? No way. There are loads of things that are great to do in the summer, and cooking is just not one of them. So what is a mama (or papa) to do!? Children and partners must be fed, and we can’t expect them to love a cool green salad as much as we do, and especially not everyday.

Do not fear. I have a plan for you. You can “sort of” cook. You can “sort of” cook summer meals that are colorful and flavorful and even more delicious than our colder weather stir-frys and stews. Think picnics with luscious loaves of bread (baked by somebody else), pungent creamy cheeses, strawberries with their little hats still on, smoked fish (smoked by somebody else), and hummus with bright orange carrots. On their own these foods may not seem like much of a dinner, but mixed and matched, they are more than satisfying.

Here are a few “sort of” cooking ideas for you:

Fresh spinach with goat cheese, oranges, flaxseed oil and lemon. This is my favorite salad ever (it’s that good) because something wonderful happens when you combine these six ingredients. If you can stand to use your toaster oven to heat up the goat cheese, it will blow you away even more.

Breakfast (or lunch) for dinner! When I was a kid, hearing that there would be breakfast for dinner was always the best news. Why? French toast! That’s why! And the lovely thing about making breakfast for dinner is that it uses much less oven power = less heat. It’s also fast, so you can hang out for longer at the beach or the park or wherever you happen to be basking. Same goes for sandwiches. They can be super big, super satisfying, and super cool and easy too.

Whole smoked fish. Pair the fish with hearty bread or substantial crackers, add olives and tomatoes, carrots and hummus, fruit salad, and your people will feel fed.

Gazpacho, or “dinner smoothie”. I love cooking in my blender in the summertime. It’s amazing how much easier the vegetables go down for the kids when they’ve been blended up into something yummy. Milk/frozen banana/frozen spinach is our dinner smoothie favorite. You can even add a big scoop of peanut butter for added protein and yumminess. With a sandwich, you have a most complete meal.

Plan a picnic. If you plan a picnic, you really aren’t expected to do any hot cooking, just mixing and matching yummy ingredients to eat under the setting sun. Yes!

Remember, 90-degrees-plus doesn’t mean you have to eat cereal for dinner! Go to your grocery store, enjoy the AC and get seduced by all the luscious fruits and vegetables on offer right now. Buy the best bread and cheese they have. And voila, dinner is almost done!

What do you like to make when it’s boiling outside?