Summer Meal Ideas for When It’s So Hot, You’ve Lost the Will to Cook

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READING TIME: 4 min.

When the temps hit triple digits this summer, I looked at my husband and said, “Your turn.” He does 99% of the grilling, but a part of me felt guilty sending him out in 105-degree heat to flip hamburgers. I know I could make some sandwiches, throw cereal at the kids, or open the UberEats app, but that always results in children who come back “still hungry” and/or it’s just too dang expensive to do more than once in a while.

Therefore, I polled a bunch of different people to get their version of “no-oven cooking,”, i.e., how they keep mouths fed when it’s unbearable outside. I’ve also included helpful articles with even more recipes for you to try (and report back on!). Let’s get through this Texas heatwave together.

Salads for You/Salads for the Fam

“We do a lot of salad wraps. Only cooking is the meat, which you do in the skillet for 15 or so minutes. Caesar salad, taco salad, etc., in wraps.” —CCM contributor and mom of 6 Angela Vaughn

spinach salad

Easy Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing 

Kale Caesar Salad with Parmesan-Roasted Chickpeas

Caprese Pasta Salad—Batch prep this one for several lunches.

BBQ Chicken Salad—This salad seems like one I could serve as an actual meal to my family.

Trader Joe’s to the Rescue

(Thanks to CCM Contributor Ashley Chan & coworker Lucinda Simmons, to name a few)

Obviously, you can microwave this Orange Chicken.

10+ Trader Joe’s pizzas to throw on the grill.

trader joe's pizza

Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs—Microwave the squash; cook the meatballs on the stovetop; combine.

Steamed Dumplings—Zap in the microwave for two minutes!

Please tell me you’ve discovered this amazing IG: Anna Lisa’s Trader Joe’s 5 Items or Less. It’s the godsend we didn’t know we needed.

Noodles

cold noodles no-oven dinner recipes

Japchae Korean Glass Noodles & Stir Fry—Trader Joe’s glass noodles are made from sweet potatoes.

Cool & Spicy Noodle Salad with Trader Joe’s organic yellow lentil and brown rice spaghetti.

“Try cold, cooked tricolor rotini pasta salad with Kraft Italian bottled dressing plus tiny cherry tomatoes sliced in half and giant balls of grocery-store mozzarella.” —From my coworker Kelly Weaver

See Bon Appetit‘s amazing cold noodle roundup: 21 Cold Noodle Recipes for When It’s Too Hot for Ramen.

Slaws

Thai Peanut Chicken Crunch Slaw Salad

coleslaw no-cook dinner recipes

Taste of Home‘s Roundup of Recipes that Start with a Bag of Coleslaw—Yes, some of these use heat to cook, but I couldn’t resist including recipes that start with you insouciantly throwing a bag of slaw into the mix.

Charcuterie Boards

cheese board no-oven dinner recipes

Make a cool-kid’s Lunchable and spread out some cheese, crackers, fruit, nuts, and lunch meat roll-ups or summer sausage. Pro Tip: Add some Chick-Fil-A nuggets. —From my friends Whitney Keilman & Jessica Hall

Slow Cooker + Batch-Cooking Tips

Cheddar Ranch Chicken (a.k.a., Crack Chicken) —From my friend Becky Shown

BBQ. Throw some pulled pork into the crock pot. Slap it on some toasted buns with BBQ sauce; done.” —From my coworker Cassie French

“Grill double chicken on Sunday and eat it with various sides during the week: potatoes, veggies with dip, double fruit servings, chips.” —From my friend Emily Nadaud

“Batch cook ground beef to use for multiple meals (tacos, nachos, spaghetti, etc.)” —CCM Contributor Kristen Gardiner

“I batch ‘grill’ on the panini press when meat is on sale, then store for later usage. Burrito bowls tonight; grilled chicken on top of salad yesterday. Kabobs are a fave, especially with hummus and tzatziki (because [kids] love to dip).” — Dallas Moms contributor Katy Brank

Slow Cooker Roast —From my friend Tiffany Joel

  • 3–4 lb. chuck roast
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 3 cups water

Cook on low 6–8 hours.

Stovetop

20-Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet

Soups

I love soup year-round. I found these No-Cook Summer Soup recipes via Self!

Miscellaneous

shrimp ceviche no-oven dinner recipes

Easy Shrimp Ceviche

Lastly, I had to check out Buzzfeed’s 31 Cool & Easy Summer Dinners You Can Make Without Turning on The Oven.

{For When You Literally Can’t Lift a Finger to Cook: Healthy Restaurants in Dallas :: The List You Didn’t Know You Needed}

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Whitney is originally from central Illinois but moved to Texas for love. After enjoying being a single twenty-something in Dallas, she settled down in 2010 and married her college sweetheart (the guy who got her here). She has two sons and a daughter. Whitney works for a major retailer in digital marketing creative, where she has been since 2009. She loves Dallas—the amazing friends she has met here, the Tex Mex, the bluebonnets, the arts and culture, the mild winters, and having lots of family, including her in-laws, one of her sisters, and her favorite uncle, nearby. Her passions include reading, sports, (daydreaming about) traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

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