Keeping it Cool Cooking Tips: Eat Healthy and Stay Cool with These Ways to Cook During Hot Summer Days
By – Get You In Shape Personal Trainer Julie McCAN
Over these past weeks, I haven’t had a lot of motivation to think about, let alone plan for my menus. The last thing I want to do is turn on the oven at the end of the day and put more heat in the house to cook dinner. The alternatives have been; make a salad, order dinner out, or send my poor husband out into the heat to slave over an even hotter grill (he is the griller, not me). My family has quickly become bored with the first two alternatives and as for the third option, I just can’t justify grilling in the heat more than once a week.
[Maybe you have had these same dilemmas? If so, maybe some of these ideas will help you plan better menus during these hots days too.]
So last weekend, I sat down and did a little research and came up with some ideas for creating a menu for the week. The goal was to minimize or eliminate the use of the oven as well as ordering or eating out, which gets expensive and typically adds more calories. Here are the ideas I came up with — some of them I just haven’t thought about doing as an alternative to cooking in the oven.
BUY PRE-MADE/PRE-COOKED ITEMS: I am not suggesting you purchase prepared foods that contain a lot of preservatives which typically leads to higher sodium content than needed. However, many grocery stores and even places like Costco and Sam’s prepare on a daily basis FRESH and ready to eat items that do not need an oven! Try these for example:
USE YOUR STOVE TOP AND MICROWAVE: There are far too many ways to boil, steam, saute, and grill on your stove to list here so here are a few that I discovered to be pretty easy.
CROCK POTS/SLOW COOKERS: These are the easiest to use appliance you may own. If you got one that you have never or seldom used, now is the time to dig it out and dust it off. I love using my crock pot but I typically think of soups and stews so I tend to use it more in the winter time. However, I found that there are many cookbooks and websites devoted to great crock pot recipes for entrees, side dishes and desserts! Here is one website that I found had such an abundance of recipes that you are bound to find a few that your family will like. http://southernfood.about.com/library/crock/blcpidx.htm.
OTHER NEGLECTED SMALL APPLIANCES: I am sure you can dig out at least one or two small appliance that get relegated to the “only use on special occasion” corner or the “I used it a lot when I first got it” part of your pantry. If you have anything that falls in this category, pull it out and discover a new way to use it.
Share these ideas with us and any other “Keep it Cool” healthy cooking ideas you may have by commenting to this blog. Maybe you even have a recipe you can share with us. Whether or not you do, I hope you try one of the ideas I have listed to help keep yourself and your house cooler!