Take the Heat Out of the Kitchen

Summer means hot weather, and heat means not wanting to fire up the oven and sweat out a meal. But if you can't stand the heat, then there's no reason to stay out of the kitchen. Just change the way you make meals. You might think the slow cooker is only for soups - and who wants hot soup in the summer? - but it can be used for so much more, without heating up the kitchen. Sure, it works all day to provide a meal around dinnertime, but it keeps the heat contained. Pork and beef roasts or chicken breasts become tender enough to pull apart and make into barbecue sandwiches, paired with your favorite sauce and some cool coleslaw. Slow-cooked chicken will fall off the bone and work great in chicken salad once it's chilled.

Serve over a bed of lettuce with fresh bread for a complete meal. You can even create sweet breads and desserts in the slow cooker. Chop up your favorite veggies and add turkey pepperoni, plus your favorite Italian dressing, to pasta for a yummy pasta salad served with grilled meats, hot dogs or whatever you like. The grill is a perfect way to keep your cool in the summer. Over hot coals, meats take less time and are generally more lean because the fat drips away. Skewered and grilled vegetables make a tasty side dish, and leftovers can be chopped and used in that pasta salad. Fruits are a surprising delicacy when grilled, too. Your imagination is your only limitation when cooking and keeping cool!