I’m lucky. I have a fairly decent kitchen with a stove and oven that work well. I’m thankful to have them! Still, when the heat and humidity of summer come along, I can’t bear to turn on the oven at all, and I rarely use the stove. But a girl’s gotta eat! What to do?
Whether you’re heat sensitive like me, you don’t have a stove, or you’re just not a cook, I bet you can relate to my dilemma. I can’t eat out much. It’s not good for my health or for my wallet. Ditto for frozen convenience meals. I eat salads and sandwiches, but I get tired of those long before the cooler weather returns. So I’ve gotten used to cooking without the stove.
I was thinking about this last night as I prepare burgers, fries, and steamed veggies. It wasn’t too hot, so I could stand to be in the kitchen (which doesn’t have air conditioning,) but it was warm enough that I wasn’t about to turn on the stove. So instead, I cut up some potatoes and put them on the toaster oven pan with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Then I put them in the toaster oven set to bake at 475 degrees. Voila: Roasted potatoes!
The vegetables were easy. I put some frozen green beans into a bowl, covered it, and microwaved it for 2 minutes.
The burgers were easy because I had a Griddler. This was a very nice gift last year. A George Foreman Grill would do the same job, I assume. It emits some heat, but not as much as a stove and a hell of a lot less than an oven. I put some garlic, scallions, salt, and pepper into a bowl and mixed it up, then added the beef. I made 4 patties, put them on the Griddler, set the timer on my phone, and sat on the couch to rest.
Dinner was delicious, healthy, and didn’t heat up the apartment!
A friend gave me the idea of making rice and black beans, then throwing avocado and salsa on top. Yum! Since I don’t have a rice cooker, I do have to use the stove for that. The good part is that I don’t have to be in the kitchen! I try to make rice on a cooler day, and I leave the kitchen while it’s cooking. It’s not perfect, but it mostly works.
And then there’s my favorite: the crockpot, also called a slow cooker. This was an excellent housewarming gift a few years back. A friend introduced me to a series of crockpot cookbooks, and I found the author’s website. It’s filled with delicious recipes that can all be made gluten free!
I’m a huge fan of my crockpot. You throw in the ingredients, set the timer, and walk away. When you come back 3-10 hours later (depending on the recipe) your food is all done! There’s something so great about tossing in ingredients, going out for the day, and coming home to an apartment that smells amazing. Again, it emits some heat, but not much. And I don’t have to be in the kitchen while it’s on.
Unfortunately, I do have to be in the kitchen without air conditioning while I do dishes, but at least the stove and oven haven’t heated up the space!
This isn’t perfect, but it gets me through the summer. If you struggle to cook without a stove and you have relatives who sometimes ask you want you want for your birthday or for Christmas (or who might be open to some hints) maybe a kitchen gadget is the way to go.
What about you? Do you have favorite meals that you can make without turning on the stove? Please post them in the comments – I can use all the ideas I can get!