It’s been HOT in New York this summer and the last thing that I want to do is turn on an oven or spend a long time standing over a stove to cook something. So what’s a girl (or person) supposed to eat? Here are the ways I’ve been dealing with putting together satisfying and satiating meals while staying cool.
Salads - These are by far the least hot meals. Start with a vegetable base and then add toppings. Your vegetable base doesn’t have to be iceberg lettuce. It can be kale, spinach, arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc. Then add some protein: hard-boiled eggs, marinated chicken, cold cuts, hummus, etc. Top with some complementary extras such as nuts, seeds, fruit (fresh or dried), cheese, etc. Then add your carbohydrate of choice - pasta, rice, croutons, bread on the side etc. Finally add a flavorful dressing, and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal with minimal stove time.
Bowls - I like this option because I can use up what I have left in my fridge. Start with a grain, ex. rice, quinoa, pasta, corn, etc. and top with vegetables and protein. Add a cheese if it makes sense, for example a taco bowl would probably be delicious with some queso. Finally add a little oil and the seasonings of your choice.
Pasta Salads - The basic recipe for a pasta salad is: pasta + produce + fat. You can mix and match however you want. You can go the classic route with pasta, celery and mayo OR the more Mediterranean style with pasta, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, and olive oil. Often times pasta salad is served as a side dish...but it doesn’t have to be If you’re wanting to amp up your dish you can add a protein into the dish, such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds, diced pepperoni, or swap out traditional pasta for a protein-packed option, such as Banza.
Charcuterie Board - I want to say upfront that it doesn’t have to be Instagram fancy. But charcuterie boards are a great way to balance what’s on your plate and go literally nowhere near the stove. You can add crackers, baguette, meat, cheese, nuts, olives, dried fruit, and vegetables of choice. Mix and match however you want and align it to your preferences.
Use convenience appliances - Air fryers are the go to for most people right now and they’re pretty good at cooking things without turning your kitchen into a sauna. A crockpot can also cook meat for you in order to have it ready after work or to add to dishes later. An InstantPot is also a great way to beat the heat and my personal favorite, minimize dishes. Of course microwaves are an option to cook frozen meals, reheat leftovers, or even do some minimal cooking (i.e. baking a potato). I’ll be talking more about microwave hacks in the future.
Hope that helps you begin to think about ways that you can deal with the heat until cooler fall days (and pumpkin season!) are here.