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No cook meals

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With the heat wave on the West Coast in full intensity now and the fact that we have no air conditioning, I loathe turning on the oven or even the gas burners inside if I can avoid it.

Anyone have great menu ideas that don't require heat, can be done in the microwave, or on the grill? This is for all courses including sides. At this point grilling outside in the heat doesn't even sound fun since it doesn't cool down until after dark around 10PM.

Thanks for any tips. I'm melting here....

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  1. Consider canned beans your protein friend! Mix it with corn kernels (canned or frozen) and you have a complete protein! You could dress that up with some jalapenos, finely chopped, or even pickled from a jar...some cilantro...and lime juice that's been mixed with olive oil.

    This reminds me of when we had NO power after Hurricane Wilma here in SW Florida for 4 days...I used my grill and canned beans (okay, we broke down and went to a Quiznos that had electricity...it tasted like fillet mignon, no lie! sad but true!)...can you use a grill at all? Good luck...I feel ya!

    1. Yeah, when it's really hot, warm food doesn't sound good. How about this menu?


      Beef carpaccio - this version on Epicurious looks pretty good:

      Nigela's Watermelon & Feta salad

      Sorbet or granita

      My too-hot-to-cook mainstays usually feature a rotisserie chicken (that someone else has cooked) and rice salad made with Chinese-takeout rice. Or masses of takeout Thai Papaya Salad (which is too complicated for me to attempt at home).

      Stay cool!


      1. zucchini or carrot "noodles" dressed with sauce of your choice--- chopped tomato, basil, olive oil and parmesan on the zucchini. lemon juice (or vinegar), cilantro, green onions on the carrots, with some cubed avocado on top.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MaspethMaven

          I do the zucchini noodle thing all the time: make thin slices using a vegetable peeler and dress with minced garlic, lemon juice, good olive oil, chopped kalamata olives, some tomatoes and shaved parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley. Perfect with a baguette.

        2. Salad with canned garbanzo beans, canned tuna packed in olive oil (drain most of it), slivers of either green onions or shallots, halved cherry tomatoes, any other vegetables you like raw (I have used green beans or cucumbers) with a dijon vinegarette sort of dressing. Served over greens if desired.

          Crusty bread

          Fruit and ice cream for dessert.

          1. Tabouleh salad - make some couscous (pour boiling water over a cup of couscous, cover with a plate - will cook itself not on the stove). Then add chopped herbs, tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts, feta or goat cheese if you'd like, and a lemon vinaigrette. Serve room temp or cold. YUM!

            1. I'm right there with you...though on the east coast. :)

              One very useful thing that i've learned is that rice is very easy to cook in the microwave. Just put rice and the 2x that amount of water in a microwave safe bowl, cook on high till the water boils (this will change depending on the amount you're cooking) and then cook on 50% power until it's done. Usually 15-20 minutes. It takes about the same amount of time as stovetop, but without warming up your kitchen. I've done it covered and uncovered and it didn't seem to make a difference.

              As for the grill, it sucks to have to stand around outside in really hot weather next to a really hot grill. I like to do foil packet type meals on the grill because they require minimum fussing. No turning or saucing, just assemble, slap them on there and then retreat to the A/C and glance out the window occasionally. And pretty much any meat that doesn't need a sear will work just dandy. (i.e. no steak. and chicken skin just gets rubbery) Pick a meat, some veggies, maybe add some diced potatoes, season and wrap and you are good to go.

              1. I'm not much of a salad eater, but lately I've been topping them with a fried egg and it makes the whole thing more appealing to me (I love runny egg yolks). The salad can be lettuce or couscous based, with some onions, tomator, carrots, cucumbers, etc. Toss with a dressing of choice (I just toss with olive oil and then vinegar) and top with the egg. You'll have to turn the stove on for the egg, but that should only be for a few minutes. The egg adds a little bit of protein to the meal.

                1. I know what you mean. It's been super-hot and dry here in central Ohio too. I just made a really nice Crab Louie last week. It was yummy!! The only cooking involved was hard-boiling the eggs...which you could easily leave off.

                  Check out the recipe here:

                  1. Thanks, these are really great suggestions. Keep them coming. Hopefully the heat will pass before I have the chance to try all of these.

                    We got lazy last night and just went out to a place with a/c and then hung out at the local Barnes and Noble sipping iced coffee and reading magazines until after dark.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lisaf

                      That was going to be a suggestion of mine, but I know it's not practical to eat out most of the week! There have been some nights, though, when I come home and the last thing I want to do is cook!

                    2. How about a simple tuna/white bean salad served with fresh refrigerated fruit (watermelon, honeydew) and crackers? I mix good quality tuna with drained canned white beans, lemon juice, good olive oil, salt, pepper, onion, whatever flavors you like. You could serve it with some cold Prosecco and then chase the ice cream man down for dessert.

                      1. Back in the day when we didn't have air conditioning the trick was to do any necessary cooking very early in the morning then eat from the refrigerator all day. Example: cook the potatoes for potato salad and at the same time some eggs for deviled eggs; make a pitcher of iced tea. You can also make kidney bean salad without any cooking at all, using canned beans. Make a huge vat of gazpacho using only the Cuisinart; over a week it just gets better. Make tabbouleh: no cooking. Make hummos using canned garbanzos: no cooking. Make jello salad with fruit in it: no cooking for it or for tuna salad or coleslaw. With no serious cooking you can do a big turkey breast in the Crock Pot and slice it cold all week; cranberry sauce will be out-of-season but good with it. Sliced tomatoes. Deli meats. Let your refrigerator be the provider of cold smorgasbord meals. And if you really don't even feel like eating a meal, have a big bowl of cereal with ice cold milk and lots of berries or sliced peaches.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Querencia

                          You could do extra on the grill like flank or chicken and veggies for fahitas then salad the next night

                        2. i've become completely smitten with a recipe i found for Shrimp with Avocado-Sesame sauce (i actually just posted about it on another thread). it's pre-cooked shrimp tossed with a dressing made of mashed avocado, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. it's really tasty and a little more unusual than the standard tuna or bean salad fare (not that i don't love my tuna and my beans, but a girl needs options, right?). if you like middle eastern flavors (tahini, lemon, parsley) this is a fantastic salad.

                          anyway, i just posted a recipe and a long, blathering review on my blog.


                          1. One of my favorites is a version of tuna salad: mix one can of drained tuna (whatever you like), tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, jalepeno (optional, but I like mine spicy), avocado and dress it with juice of lemon and lime, add some salt and garlic to taste.
                            serve with chips or as tostadas!