Even If You Can’t Take the Heat, Stay in the Kitchen

July 7, 2010

We’re having a massive heat wave here in the Northeast, and whenever this type of weather occurs, the last thing I want to do after coming home from work is spend a lot of time cooking.  The humidity just drains the energy out of me, and the thought of doing a lot of chopping, cutting and cooking is quite unappealing.  So what does one do in this case?  Ordering take-out is fine, but not every night.  So here are a few of my suggestions for making dinner at home with minimal effort and energy, but still having a satisfying meal on these scorching days.

Pasta salad:  cook the pasta and then run cold water over it until it cools to room temperature.  Chop up your favorite veggies – tomatoes, scallions, corn, zucchini, etc. – and add some pine nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds for texture, and of course cheese; goat, Feta, parmesan are all great.  For dressing, please don’t just pour bottled Italian dressing over it – it ruins an otherwise fresh and healthy meal.  Make a quick vinaigrette with olive oil and balsamic or red wine vinegar and your favorite spices, or this dressing recipe works really well too.

Frozen pizza:  I’m generally not a big fan of this, but when time and/or energy are a factor, it’s a nice alternative.  The two brands I would recommend are California Pizza Kitchen and Newman’s Own.  Both taste good (or good enough for frozen pizza) and come in a number of varieties.  CPK has regular and thin-crust options, and Newman’s is of course all natural and profits go to charity.  They don’t take long to cook – 12 minutes or so – which means your oven won’t be heating up your kitchen too long.  And they are definitely healthier than ordering out from the local pizza parlor.

Fruit, nuts and cheese:  sure it sounds like hors d’oeuvres, but this has been a long-time summer dinner for my family.  It’s very healthy, takes little effort to prepare, and allows for a lot of variety.  We usually go with grapes and sliced apples, but certainly any fruit would work.  For nuts, pistachios are a great treat, but cashews, almonds or whatever else you like goes perfectly.  As for cheese – the options are endless.  We like to have a variety of flavors and textures, so we’ll go with a creamy brie, camembert or goat, then we’ll have something more bold and firm like a sharp cheddar, gruyere or Manchego, and then we’ll also get something like a blue or gorgonzola.  If your supermarket has some gourmet cheeses, give some new ones a try.  It’s cheese, after all – and the Mouse House Kitchen loves its cheese.



One comment

  1. […] Taking the Chill off Frozen Pizza January 26, 2011 A while back we posted about time-saving meals, and frozen pizza was one of the items we suggested, along with a couple of brands we liked, but we […]

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