Summer in Texas can feel like an oven outside so the last thing many folks want to do is turn on the oven and make dinner.
Instead, many families resort to expensive fast food or unhealthy food choices. Fortunately, there are many meals that are healthy and tasty that don’t require using the oven, or even any cooking at all.
First, try using kitchen appliances, such as an electric indoor grill, slow-cooker and microwave oven to make food. If you don’t have one, check garage sales and resale shops.
Many online sites have recipes for slow cooker casseroles and main dishes, side dishes and even desserts. One is The Crockin’ Girls, two North Texas moms who come up with creative slow-cooker ideas.
How about cooking whole chicken in the slow cooker? You’ll have meat to use for sandwiches, serve with rice or tortillas or toss on a green salad. Worried about leaving the appliance on while you’re away from home during the day? Try cooking food overnight. In the morning, portion it into small, shallow containers so it will cool quickly in the refrigerator.
Here are some recipes and quick, healthy meal ideas for summer from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Other hot weather meals with minimal cooking include:
· Boil noodles on the stovetop and make a pasta salad with canned tuna or cooked chicken.
· Combine tomato sauce with ground beef in the slow cooker for a meat sauce to put over rice, noodles or sloppy Joes.
· Steam vegetables or bake potatoes in the microwave. (Be sure to pierce it several times with a fork to allow steam to escape so it doesn’t explode.) You can also wrap potatoes in aluminum foil and bake them in the slow cooker.
· Use the indoor grill for cooking burgers, fish or skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Frozen? No problem. Pre-thawing is not necessary.
· Why not have an indoor picnic? Spread a sheet on the floor and eat sandwiches, cut-up vegetables and fruit. Or try having traditional breakfast foods at dinnertime, such as cereal with milk and fruit.
If you have questions about what you and your family should be eating, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider. They can do tests to determine your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health conditions. Call 817-702-1100 or make an appointment using our online portal, MyChart.