Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Easy Meals That Don't Heat the Kitchen

It is that time of the year here in the U.S. that folks just hate heating up the kitchen cooking meals.
I don't worry about it so much, as our kitchen is off from the rest of the house (a separate room), and it doesn't seem to warm things up much.  I think those with a more open concept might worry more about it.

Here are a few ideas for lovely meals - and a cool kitchen!

When it's too hot to cook inside - use the grill.
The following meals are what we have always called HOBO dinners.  You use  lengths of heavy duty foil and separate meat and other ingredients into them.  Wrap and grill.

Meat is usually 1 - 2 lbs. (depending on number you are feeding). 
Veggies - 1 1/2 - 2 cups
Starch - 1 1/2 - 2 cups
Sauce - to taste
Add-ins to taste

Ground beef patties  + tomatoes sliced  +  potatoes sliced  + BBQ sauce + French Fried onions  = BBQ burger packet

Smoked sausage  +  green beans  +  potatoes sliced  + beef broth  + spicy mustard  =  German-fest packet

Boneless pork chops  +  corn on cob (halved)  + sweet potatoes sliced  + butter & minced garlic  +  chives (chopped) = Down home pork chop packet

Boneless, skinless chicken breast  + bell peppers/onion, sliced  + soft tortillas (for AFTER grilling) + salsa  +  shredded cheese/sour cream  = Grilled chicken fajita packets 

Large shrimp and/or cod fillets  + zucchini or yellow squash, sliced  + cooked rice (serve with after grilling)  + butter, dill, lemon juice + paprika  = Dilled shrimp & squash packet

****Arrange veggies and meat topped with seasoning on foil.  Fold foil tightly in packet form.  Place on a heated grill for a good 25 - 30 minutes (meat) or 20 minutes (seafood).  Top with your add-ins after done.
Super easy, yummy, keeps house cool and NO clean-up!

There is no limit to the variety you can make.  I did meatballs, potatoes, carrots & onions with a little butter and seasoning the other night - oh so yummy!!!

           Use your favorite recipes or just get creative and make up new combos yourself!!!!!

Slow cookers are another way to not heat the kitchen and you can make dinner while at work or play!

Again - meat is 1 - 2 lbs.
Veggies - 1 1/2 - 2 cups
Starch - 2 cups
Sauce - 2 cans or 2 cups
Add-ins - one or more to taste

Boneless skinless chicken breast  (tear apart after done cooking)  + salsa or tomatoes and green chiles diced  +  instant rice (stir in 20 minutes before end of cooking)  +  either tomato or cream of chicken soup  +  shredded cheese (stir in after done)  =  Chicken enchilada stew

Beef chuck, cut into strips  +mushrooms sliced  +  cooked egg noodles (after meat is finished cooking)  +  cream of mushroom soup  +  sour cream (stir in when done)  = Beef stroganoff

Boneless pork ribs (serving size pieces)  +  onions sliced  + navy or baked beans  +  BBQ sauce  + tomatoes diced  = BBQ pork and beans
(You could use cut pork roast or chops as well)

Smoke sausage  +  sauerkraut  + frozen shredded hash browns  + French onion soup  + 1 packet onion soup mix (add with soup)  =  Sausage, kraut dinner

Beef chuck roast  +  carrots and onions quartered  +  potatoes quartered  +  golden mushroom soup  +  Worcestershire sauce  =  Beef stew

****Arrange veggies on the bottom of slow cooker, arrange meat on top.  Top with soup or sauces and sprinkle with add-ins.  Cook on low for 8 -10 hours or high for 4 -5 hours.


Easy - peasy dinners - for summer or winter dining!  YUMMY beyond yum and super easy clean-up.
I bet they will come back for seconds!!!

During the hot, hot days of summer - we eat a lot of salads and sandwiches.  Fresh veggies are always on the menu.  The season for home grown fresh goodies is so short, that we take advantage.

Hopefully this helps make life a little easier for you.  Get creative and make up your own recipes.  All recipes were started by someone thinking "this might be good together"!!
Use what you have - improvise on meats or veggies - depending on what is in the freezer or garden.  There are no hard and steadfast rules!



  1. We enjoy the foil packets of meats & veggies too. And it is way too hot to cook. I had cheese and crackers on Sunday as it was 80 degrees in the house.

    1. We are that way some days as well. Just a cold sandwich or salad.
      Those packet dinners are so easy and good.

  2. Those all sound wonderful and so easy! We are planning on grilling up burgers brats, and veggies later this week to last us for several meals. :)

    1. Good idea on grilling in bulk for several meals. I love grilled veggies.

  3. Yes! it's even too hot to grill here. Stay inside near the a/c vents. lol I used my slow cooker yesterday and cooked my side dish earlier in the day. It made a world of difference in the keeping the house cool.

    1. It was actually too humid out to stand at the grill here as well. Good idea on fixing the side in the cooker.
      Stay cool

  4. Thanks for the ideas! I need all the inspiration that I can get these days. I think I am going to let my teen son make those hobo packets. He used to cook silver turtles in scouts. Have you ever had banana boats? Slice a banana partway through, stuff with chocolate, marshmallows, peanut butter etc, wrap in foil, and put on grill for a bit til everything melts.

    1. Kathy those are the yummiest things ever! Love banana boats.
      I really like it when I hear folks are getting their kids cooking. They all need to learn someday - and it is just as important for guys to learn as girls.

  5. Our summers are really hot and our winters are quite mild. All year round the majority of our cooking is done on the hooded barbeque. I even bake cookies and cakes on this. It just take a bit of practice to work out how many burners you need on.
    The slow cooker is fab for more than just casseroles and hot pot style cooking. You can also bake cakes in them, make toasted muesli, and even baked custards.
    We also have a 5 in 1 cooker. I think you call them Insta pots or something like that. We make up beautiful soups, casseroles, steamed fish and veg and even Chinese style dumplings in this, all on the outside bench on the veranda.
    By cooking this way, inside does not heat up anymore than it already does, and you can still have a lovely range of simple meals.
    I love the sound of a couple of your recipes. I am going to add these to my recipe file. Thank you Cheryl.

    1. Jane that is so neat that you can cook outside all year round. I never really thought about making cakes in the slow cooker - but now that I think about it - I have heard that.

      Glad you found an idea or two you could use. ENJOY!
      Look forward to seeing you stop by again soon.

  6. I try to really stay with cold items in the sweltering heat. I found a cold beet soup that is really versatile. Lots of cold pickled beets, 3 bean salad, corn and black bean salad, lots of refrigerator pikles, loads of tomato sandwiches (have now harvested 2 of ones I grew on my apt. patio), lots of cheese and hard salami or pepperoni and crackers, lots of good variety for hot days. And no heating up the oven or cooktop.

    1. All great ideas. Love tomato sandwiches! Cold salads are always a hit here as well.
      Great ideas - thank you