Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How Do You...Keep the Kitchen Cool in Summer?

How do you put food on the table in the summer without heating the entire house?

The air conditioning system in our house is old and not overly efficient.  When the mercury soars outside, it makes for a steamy afternoon inside.  In the winter, we love our large windows that let the sun pour in.  In the summer, it's not such a fantastic perk. 

My family still needs to eat, though, so we've developed a few coping mechanisms. 

I cook in the morning.  I'm a planner and an organizer so I always know in the morning what I'm serving for dinner in the evening.  If I need the oven, I use it in the morning when the house is still holding the cool(er) morning air.

I use the slow cooker. This is also an advantage on busy days because I can do all my prep in the morning and then let the appliance do the work while we're out of the house until dinnertime.  Some slow cooker dishes we've eaten this summer are Parmesan honey pork, cowboy beans, and sandwiches with wedding beef.

I cook on the stovetop or use a skillet.  This isn't totally heat-free, but it generates far less heat than the internal oven.  The kids love pancakes for dinner.  Our current favorites are cornmeal pancakes and oatmeal pancakes! We've also enjoyed Mexican casserole and Chinese honey chicken during the warmer months. Both are stovetop skillet dishes. 

And who can go wrong with tacos? It is my kids' favorite dinner, hands-down.  Cook some ground beef or chicken in the skillet, chop some veggies, open a can of beans, and we've got dinner on the table!

I serve raw veggies, a salad, or chopped fruit as a side dish with almost any meal.  It's filling, healthy, and requires no heating.  (Salads make a great main dish, too, but my husband usually prefers something a little heartier after working hard outside all day so I try to serve main-dish salads only a couple of times a month.)

What do you cook in the summer when it is too hot to turn on the oven?


Today's post was the last of this year's How Do You...? series, but you can browse the archived index of past topics anytime!


  1. We love taco salad at our house. We also have quite a few main dish salads, but I almost always add a good amount of chicken on top.

    We've also enjoyed these pancakes recently...they still turn out fluffy using white whole wheat flour.

    1. I had pancakes on the menu for tonight so we tried the recipe you linked to! They were so fluffy. Alaine, especially, commented on how good they were.

  2. Because of how our house is laid out and the placement of the thermostat, I don't mind heating up the kitchen a little in summer. But one summer we didn't have air conditioning so we ate a lot of salads. We didn't want to eat anything that wasn't cold so I didn't even use the crockpot much! Hubby would cook meat on the grill about twice a week, enough for a couple meals. Sandwiches were also an option.

    1. I like the idea of sandwiches in the summer, but I can never come up with variety. Brian takes a sandwich for lunch every day so I feel like a dinner sandwich has to be a step up. Any ideas?

    2. Not a cold sandwich idea, but sloppy joes or pulled pork could be cooked in the crock pot.

    3. Hm... muffaletta sandwiches are a step up from a typical cold cut Italian sub. Make your own olive salad to go on them. Totally worth it!!

      Use grilled meat to make tortilla roll ups. I loaded them with thinly sliced/julienned raw veg for crunch and nutrition.

      We rarely eat bread anymore so we are more likely to roll sandwich fixings up in a lettuce wrap.

    4. We do grilled meat and raw veggies rolled up in lettuce leaves too. It's really yummy.


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