Here at CFYL we’re all about getting into the kitchen and whipping up easy meals but sometimes in the summer it’s just too darn hot to cook! Unfortunately the idea of eating salads day after day doesn’t always cut it, so we’re here to tell that you can stay cool and still eat well and healthily. It’s time to eat to beat the summer heat with easy no-cook strategies. Check out these simple no-cook or almost no-cook ideas to get you and your pantry prepared to beat the summer heat!
Make the most of grains:
Keeping cooked grains in the fridge or freezer make nutritious salads like tabbouleh or to add bulk to raw veggie salads:
- Grains like farro can be soaked overnight and added to salads,
- Fine grain couscous whether whole wheat or traditional can simply be covered with boiling water in the same ratio as per packet directions, covered, and left until you are ready.
- Brown rice and quinoa can be cooked ahead of time and frozen in 2-4 cup portions for easy defrosting for room temperature foods
Keep canned, frozen and vacuum packed foods on hand:
- Keep cannellini beans and black beans on hand for salads. Vary the dressings you make to change things up
- Creamy beans like lima beans (broad beans or gigantes) are great for soups in winter but also for making dips like our lemony white bean hummus
- Canned fish like tuna and salmon are a great protein packed standbys to use in salads and sandwiches
- Vacuum packed beets are a great stand-in for roasted beets in sandwiches and salads. You can find beans cooked this way too.
- Frozen peas and corn add color and nutrients and can be tossed into salads straight from the packet. They will quickly defrost in the salad
Buy cooked basics at the market as needed:
Think rotisserie chicken, grilled salmon or steamed shrimp:
- Roast chickens and grilled or poached salmon are items we usually encourage you to cook for yourselves but when the heat is on, go to the store – it’s better than sweating over the stove in an already hot kitchen.
- Use pre-cooked seafood as mains or in salads and sandwiches.
- Slice and shred rotisserie chicken meat for sandwiches and salads. Take the leftover meat off the bone and bag and freeze it in 3-4ounce portions for another meal. You can defrost in the fridge as needed either overnight or during the day while you’re at work
- keep some favorite dairy basics on hand – for me it’s parmesan and mozzarella cheeses
Eat cooked foods at room temperature:
You only have to think of the antipasti table in an Italian restaurant to get how this works! Agreed some of these ideas like hard boiled eggs or steamed veg require some cooking, but not much and you can check the forecast and do it all in one go ahead of time to get ready for the heat:
- Cooked veggies can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and brought to room temperature to eat when you are ready
- If you’re grilling outside, grill some extra veggies and reserve to eat later
- Keep steamed veggies like carrots, green beans and potatoes in the fridge for quick salads with crisp greens like our Salad Nicoise or our Russian Salad
- Eat cooked foods at room temperature. Vegetable minestrone- style soups are delicious eaten this way, especially with a little pesto stirred into them. If you already have some in your freezer, defrost in the fridge either overnight or while you’re at work and give it 30 minutes or so on the countertop to lose its chill.
- Who doesn’t love a cold chicken meatloaf sandwich or to eat cold stuffed tomatoes?
- Hard boiled eggs are a great protein source and can be eaten as a snack or added to salads and to sandwiches like our yummy egg salad or Salad Nicoise
- Make small quantities of salad dressings fresh in the bottom of the salad bowl and change them up to add a variety of flavors to your meals
That’s it! Get prepared, stay cool and enjoy!