Meal Planning Monday ~ Keeping It Cool


          First of all, I want to wish everyone a Happy Independence Day on Wednesday!  Second, I want to wish my wonderful husband, Nick, a very Happy Birthday today!

            For most of the country it has been miserably HOT the past few days and the weatherman is calling for more of the same this holiday week.  I don’t know about you, but when it gets this hot, I don’t feel much like cooking.  And I definitely don’t want to turn the oven on!  Does this mean that I throw the meal plan out the window?  Nope!  Here are some things I do to keep the kitchen cool when it’s this hot out.

  • I use the crock pot.  I’m always puzzled at people who put away their crock pots when winter’s over.  This awesome little appliance is in use at my house at least once a week.  You can make many of the same meals that are normally baked in the oven.  This past weekend, I put some bone-in chicken thighs in the crock pot with a bottle of BBQ sauce.  Easy and delicious!
  • I make use of my freezer meals.  Now is a great time to use your freezer meals!  Most of mine can be reheated in the microwave.  I’ve got some turkey chili that I’ll be having later this week.
  • Make the most of your grill!  Sometimes it’s nice for me to have a night off and let my grill-master husband cook dinner!  We’ll cook everything for our dinner on the grill, not just the meat.  Lately, I’ve been buying tiny Yukon gold potatoes and putting them raw on a skewer to cook alongside of our chicken and steak.
  • Don’t forget your toaster oven and microwave.  I really wanted garlic roasted asparagus the other night, which I usually make in the oven.  Then it dawned on me that I could use my toaster oven instead!  Same result with much less heat in the kitchen.  When it’s super-hot out, I don’t even want to cook veggies on the stove top.  So I keep a stash of Ziploc steamer bags to cook my veggies and keep the kitchen cool.
  • No-cook meals.  Sometimes, it’s just easier to make a nice big salad for dinner when it’s sweltering outside.  It’s easy to grill some extra chicken and keep it in the fridge just for this occasion.

What’s your favorite hot-weather meal?  Enjoy the holiday and stay cool!