The Six Best Ways to Make Dinner Without Turning on the Stove
If you're like most folks, planning dinner during the summer doesn't stop at choosing the actual ingredients. It also involves figuring out how to avoid the stove as much as possible while still creating a delicious meal. This is especially true if you live in a particularly warm region or if your kitchen is quite small. Still, no matter your living situation, even a humble pot of boiling water can turn your space into a sauna during the summer months.
Instead of resorting to takeout or pantry snacks, try these techniques for making dinner sans the stove. With the following methods under your belt, you can comfortably make dinner and stay cool.
Cook with Your Instant Pot
Your trusty Instant Pot can be a gamechanger during the warmer months. Not only is it excellent for meal prepping before a busy week, but it's also ideal for cooking homemade meals without heating up your kitchen. Use your Instant Pot to make hearty carnitas or flaky salmon for tacos, salads, or grain bowls. Or, if you're in the mood for a quintessential southern dinner, try a shrimp boil with fresh corn from the market. Want to get ahead on breakfast or lunch? Use your Instant Pot to batch cook hard-boiled eggs for avocado toast or egg salad.
Enjoy Vegetable Noodles
Although pasta is useful for quick and versatile meals, the process of actually cooking it makes for a steamy kitchen. Keep cool by dining on vegetable noodles instead. Buy it pre-spiralized at the supermarket or make it yourself with a spiralizer. Zucchini pasta, aka "zoodles," is a fan-favorite, but you can also turn vegetables like carrots and cucumbers into noodles. Toss with your go-to vinaigrette and additional vegetables for a light summer dinner.
Fire Up the Grill
Grilling is a natural choice for the summertime. It's the perfect technique for enjoying hot, freshly cooked dishes while keeping your kitchen cool. Burgers and steak are classic choices, but you can also grill meat (like chicken) for salads. You can even grill your entire dinner, so long you have the right approach. Serve grilled burgers with a medley of grilled vegetables, then round it out with ice cream atop grilled stone fruit.
Toss a Salad
Between the flourishing farmers' markets and blossoming gardens, summer is prime time for salads. With so many vegetables and fruits at their peak, you'll have countless ingredient combinations to pick from. Simply chop and toss your seasonal bounty, then dig in. The hardest part will be choosing which summer salad to make first! Bulk it up by adding a healthy pre-cooked protein, like canned tuna or lentils (opt for vacuum-packed lentils, found in the produce department, over canned ones).
Zap It in the Microwave
With a bit of creativity, the microwave can be a fantastic tool for summer cooking. Frozen, canned, and pantry ingredients work especially well with this technique. Make a zesty dinner with microwavable rice, "baked" beans, and a generous spoonful of salsa. Dig into a microwaved "baked" potato topped with your favorite fixings, like homemade pesto made with basil from the garden. Did you know that it's possible to cook meat in the microwave, too? Try our Chicken with Lemon and Wine over Arugula for an impressive 10-minute microwaved meal.
Make a No-Cook Recipe
If you want to make dinner with zero heat, fear not—there are many no-cook recipes to choose from. As mentioned earlier, fresh salads are a summer staple, but why stop there? Blend your produce into a chilled soup for a drinkable riff on the standard salad. You also can't go wrong with sandwiches or wraps with ready to eat meat or fish like smoked salmon. For something on the lighter side, cap off your day with a dinner of crunchy vegetable spring rolls.
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