The summer heat can be oppressive. I find it is a big help in saving money and sanity by thinking through cooking to make what we need without overheating the house. Cooking can lead to a high cooling bill but you can’t really go three months without cooking. The good news is you have options to cook without heating the house up. Being mindful of how cooking heats your home is a great way to lower your power bill.
Cook on the grill
Odds are when you think about cooking without heating the house up the grill comes to mind. The grill is the perfect way to whip up some of your favorite foods from delicious burgers to pizza without heating up the house. Yes, you read that right. You can bake in the grill to keep your house cool while enjoying all of your favorite baked goods. The trick to this is good pans and a thermometer so you know how hot your grill is.
Worst case on a hot day anyone can toss hot dogs on the grill. If you want more verity? Get a gas grill with a side burner that allows you to cook just like you would on your stove top. This is great for stir fries, sauces, and side dishes to your home grilled meals.
Pull out the slow cooker
I love using the slow cooker for easy meals. The slow cooker produces a small amount of heat allowing you to keep your home cooler but you can take it a step further and take the slow cooker outside to cook your meal without adding any heat to your home. I love to take the slow cooker out to the porch to let dinner cook. I cover it with a milk crate and a few heavy bricks to keep neighborhood critters out of our dinner. My neighbors go crazy over the smell of my pot roast, three bean chili, and many other great meals that carry a strong savory aroma.
If you haven’t invested in an instant pot yet maybe you should
I was reluctant to try the Instant Pot. the cost seemed a bit high to me but once we gave it a try I was sold. I am so amazed that this device can cook a cheap roast as savory and tender as spending 10 hours in my slow cooker. Tender and packed with juicy flavor despite being a cheap clearance roast. We can even whip up a batch of Chicken Fajitas in just moments using the Instant Pot. All of that saved cooking time means you are putting less heat into your home compared to the heat produced in traditional cooking.
Give no-cook meals a chance to shine
A good old fashioned salad and sandwich dinner goes a long way to making mealtime easy and keep from heating your home. Many families overlook this simple meal in favor of hot meals but the light fair is truly perfect for a hot summer day. Summer cooking without heating the house sometimes means no cooking at all. A simple bit of prep the children can help with and a picnic in the backyard with a big batch of Sun Sweet Tea is just the ticket for a relaxing evening.
Encourage your family to eat more produce
Stock up on snackable fruits and veggies like watermelon and carrots. Encourage children to opt for these simple easy to grab goodies in place of cooked lunches and snacks. Add fruit with cereal for a quick no-cook breakfast. Not only is this better for keeping your home cool but these healthy options have plenty of water to help them keep hydrated. During early summer when the mulberries are in season we allow the children to forage mulberries from the backyard for quick and easy snacks.
Bulk cook when it is cool
When night comes and the temperatures outside drop take advantage of the cooler temperatures to do some bulk cooking. Hard-boiled eggs make a great no-cook snack or addition to a meal. Grab a case of eggs and make a big batch before the next heat wave like we are doing today. Buying and cooking batches of things like this in bulk to help save on food for our large family.