Beat the heat with these cool dinner ideas, from no-cook options to innovative ways to use your small appliances. You can win the dinner battle with delicious meals despite the summertime broil.
Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich – nothing beats the quick production of oozing meltiness in a grilled cheese sandwich, unless it’s this grilled cheese with lots of flair!
Easy Greek Gyro Sandwiches – a quick sear in a stovetop frying pan and warm-up of the bread is all that’s needed to make this meal that beats fancy take-out sandwiches any day.
Too Hot to Cook? Beat the Heat with “snacky” dinners!
Layered Taco Dip – A perfect combination of Mexican flavors, including beans to make this a fabulous side dish or full meal with protein.
Simple Charcuterie Board – this definitely works as back yard kind of food. Serve it at the fire pit or swimming pool, on the deck or a blanket spread in the grass. Lounge on some pillows and let someone feed you a grape or two from this assortment!
Use Your Specialized Small Appliances
To really keep the heat out of the kitchen, take your appliances outside! Set up a small table near an outlet to create a makeshift space for making waffles or slow cooking a cut of meat. Or take your toaster oven or slow cooker downstairs or to the garage for the season.
Air Fryer – vegetables in the air fryer or grill instead of oven roasting. Maybe these jalapeno poppers?
Waffle Iron – gluten free cheese waffles (“chaffles”!), made on the deck, serve as the bread for an easy Monte Cristo sandwich. Just layer deli ham or turkey, avocado slices, and jam onto your chaffles. Top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar for a yummy sandwich.
Quick Chaffle Recipe
- waffle iron
- 1 c grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 eggs
- r T almond flour
- 1/2 t baking powder
- pinch salt
- Heat mini waffle iron or square waffle iron with four waffle portions. (This has not been tested on a Belgian waffle iron.)
- Combine all ingredients.
- Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray and pour 1/4 of mixture onto mini iron or all of mixture onto a larger iron.
- Set a time for 2 minutes (mini) or 5 minutes (large iron) and check waffles at that time. Do not get impatient -- allow all visible steam to escape from the iron before opening it. Crispy waffles are better than wimpy ones. Allow them to really cook.
- Remove waffles from iron and add deli turkey or ham, sliced avocado, and berry jam for a Monte Cristo Sandwich. Finish off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Slow Cooker – on the porch or in the garage: ribs or a roast can cook all day out in the coolness of the garage, or even on your porch, in your crock pot or slow cooker. Add chunks of potato and carrots for the last 2 hours for a full meal that doesn’t heat up your house.
Toaster Oven – bake a favorite casserole downstairs or outside in this useful tool. Just alter quantities and build into a smaller pan that fits your toaster oven. Might I suggest Anything Casserole? Or Pasta Zoodle Bake?
Salads for lunch or a side at Dinner
Black Bean and Rice Salad – a rice cooker does the hot work for this recipe, and the salad is filling as the main component of lunch or a side dish at dinner. Try it with burgers or a Mexican casserole.
Kale Salad – kale, and so much more. Craisins, nuts, chunks of apple, cheese, and a drizzle of a fruity dressing.
Seven Layer Salad – quintessentially mid century with a Betty Crocker flair. Does anyone else have childhood memories of learning how to assemble this salad?
Tortellini Vegetable Salad – a quick boil of frozen tortellini, the addition of crisp fresh vegetables, and a splash of store-bought Italian or Greek dressing. What could be easier on a hot night when you don’t want to be in the kitchen?
Everyone’s Favorite: Grill to Beat the Heat!
Mediterranean Salad – grill strips of quartered zucchini brushed with oil and spices, then cut into chunks and add to tomato, olives, feta, and a delicious Mediterranean-inspired dressing.
Jalapeno Burgers – just different enough from the usual ground beef on the grill, these burgers have a kick. Or grill up your usual burgers to keep the heat outside.
Whatever you choose to do, all of these ideas will help you beat the heat and keep your cool. The peak of summer heat is on its way, so keep a rotation of these recipes handy.