1. Choose your cooking equipment wisely.
Smaller appliances, like microwaves, toaster ovens, slow cookers, rice cookers, panini presses, double sided indoor grills (such as George Foreman) and electric griddles create less heat than the oven and stove.
Bonus Tip: Try steaming vegetables in the microwave. Simply place in a bowl with a few tablespoons of water, cover and cook to desired degree of doneness.
2. Purchase precooked ingredients.
Choosing rotisserie chicken, canned beans, hard-cooked and peeled eggs and canned tuna can save you time in the kitchen and cut out the “cooking.” Most seafood counters also offer cooked shrimp. Use these ingredients to whip up complete meals, no cooking required.
Related Recipe: This Greek Chicken Salad can easily be made with rotisserie chicken for a salad that’s both flavorful and filling enough for dinner.
3. Cook in large batches.
Instead of turning on your oven and heating up the kitchen every night, cook everything you’ll need for the next few days at the same time. You can roast chicken and vegetables for tonight’s dinner while baking potatoes for tomorrow’s meal. Make enough chicken to incorporate in a third meal, and you’ve eliminated the need to turn on the oven for the next 2 days.
Related Recipe: Make our Slow Cooker Italian Pork Shoulder one night, and use the leftover pork to make Pork Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Slaw the next night – all you’ll need is the microwave!
4. Fire up your grill.
Summer is the perfect excuse to get outside, dust off the grill and put it to good use. And grilling isn’t just for burgers and steaks – you can make pizzas, side dishes like grilled vegetables and grilled bread all outside.
Related Recipes: Check out our Clean Eating Grilling Recipes, including Okra and Tomato Skewers and Mexican Street Corn to inspire new grilling ideas. Or check out our collection of creative burgers, including the perfect-for-summer Bruschetta Burger, Taco Burger with Chipotle Cream Sauce or the crowd-pleasing Veggie Burger.
5. Cook early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler.
Plan ahead to make the most of the cooler hours of the day early in the morning or late in the evening. These are the best times to crank up the oven or the stove and practice batch cooking for later meals (see Tip #3).
And if all those tips still leave you hot and craving a cool down (it’s hot no matter what here in Alabama), try these recipes for refreshing drinks and cool treats.