The Joy of NOT Cooking
When summer temperatures soar, the last thing you want to do is slave over a hot stove. The solution to beat the heat and still eat? No-cook meals!
No-cook cooking is the perfect answer to sizzling days or when a crazed work and family schedule means you want to eat without pulling out pots and pans. With a bit of creativity, you can turn out delicious gluten-free breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts without turning on your oven or your stove. Follow these tips to glean the best flavor from your no-cook dishes.
Shop at the market. With summer in full swing, farmers’ markets are plush with a dizzying array of fruits and vegetables at their flavor peak. This is the best place to load up on these no-cook staples. When you’re not cooking the heck out of foods, it’s harder to mask poor quality ingredients. So it’s worth seeking out top-notch items like local peaches and tender greens.
Covet convenience. Most grocery stores have plenty of nutritious convenience food options that make no-cook cooking a breeze. These include canned lentils and beans, cooked whole chicken, jarred salsa, lean deli meats and gluten-free rice noodles.
Spice is nice. Spices like cinnamon and cayenne, as well as fresh summer herbs like mint and basil, can instantly add punch to no-cook dishes.
Soups on. Cold soups, such as gazpacho, are a nutritious and refreshing addition to stove-free meals. Herbs, vegetables, yogurt and fruit can all be worked into chilly soups with great success.
Tools of the trade. An electric kettle is a quick and efficient way to boil water for dishes like rice noodles that won’t steam up the kitchen. You’ll also want to invest in a serious chef’s knife to breeze through all the chopping required. A high-powered blender or food processor will make quick work of cold soups, smoothies, dressings and sauces.
What do you do to beat the heat--and still eat--during the summer months?
Living Without contributor Matthew Kadey, RD, (muffintinmania.com) is a dietitian and food writer. He is author of The Muffin Tin Chef and The No-Cook, No Bake Cookbook.