OK, I understand ... It's only March, but I have summer on my mind.
If you are like most families, you want to find ways to make summer meals quick and easy. You don’t want to spend a long time in a hot kitchen. You also don’t want to spend extra money by going out. Use these ideas to help make summer cooking simple and quick.
Make a meal plan. Having a list of your family’s favorite meals will enable you to purchase ingredients when they are on sale. Buy as many staples as you can. When you need an ingredient for their favorite dish you won’t have to run out to the store to pick it up. You’ll already have that item on-hand.
Add as many fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals as you can. Rather than cooking all of them, serve them as raw as possible. Fruits and vegetables served raw will have more nutrients than those which are cooked. Serving them raw will also keep your kitchen cooler.
Use the crock pot. It’s not only for the winter months. A crock pot will generate less heat which means your kitchen won’t become sweltering. It also allows you to cook while you’re away or otherwise engaged. Place the ingredients in the crock pot the first thing in the morning and they’ll be ready to eat when dinner time rolls around. How easy is that?
Make staple items like sauces in large amounts ahead of time. You can freeze them and take them out as needed.
Eat a variety of salads. Salads are generally quick and easy to make. Most of the food items don’t require cooking so preparation time is less. Of course, you can also make pasta salads ahead of time and place them in the refrigerator so they’re ready when needed.
When you do plan a meal that is going to take some time and effort, be sure to make enough that you’ll be able to have leftovers. For instance, if you bake or grill chicken, you can use leftovers to make chicken salad sandwiches. You can use leftover pot roast to make roast sandwiches and put the vegetables in the freezer for a quick soup.
..... Prepare one ... Eat twice.
Plan at least one vegetarian meal per week. Not only will this give you an entirely different set of recipes and foods to choose from, it will give your body a rest from too much protein. Visit a farmer’s market or pick foods from your garden and use them as the main ingredients in your vegetarian meal.
The above ideas are by no means exhaustive. However, if you use one or two of them they can make summer meals quick and easy. An added benefit is that your home will stay cooler, too.