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Jul 7, 2009 02:33 AM

Need ideas for summer cooking that don't involve oven or grill

Please help! Need ideas for summer cooking for 1 hungry man and 1 slightly less hungry gal - we don't have a grill yet and we can't turn on the oven in the apt. because it makes it SO hot. I find even the stove annoying but will give in and use that...

We can't afford to go out/bring in every night so wondering if anyone can suggest delicious, filling and simple recipes I can make with minimal heat. We are unfortunately not into cold soups btw and though I eat salad like it's going out of style, he is not much of a fan (though sometimes is ok). We don't eat much red meat and not too much rice/pasta either.

Doesn't have to be a "formal" dinner. The other night we had sandwiches I made with sauted chicken and avocado - was actually quite good.

I know this leaves limited options, but I am not the world's greatest cook so I'm hoping fellow Chowhounder's can help!!


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  1. Wow! Once you eliminate oven, grill, cold soups, salads, red meat, rice and pasta that doesn't leave alot, does it???

    How about chicken or shrimp salad in avocado halves? For about $50 you could get a panini grill. We use ours constantly. There are SO many combos that would work with that. I poach chicken alot for use in things. Got a saute pan? Loads of things can be cooked in that, i.e., chicken, pork, fish, vegetables. Guess you're not so limited after all. I'm sure others far more adept than I can help with more suggestions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      No, not so limited. You're right. I'm just not all that inventive with cooking!!! The panini grill sounds interesting...

        1. re: lovessushi

          The MW is the best for steaming artichokes and other veggies: just a little water and a few minutes. Fish are perfect: drizzle some toasted sesame oil and soy sauce on some salmon fillets, minute and a half, perfect. Potatoes: wash and nuke for about 8 minutes gies you a fine potato to eat as is or to makea mash. I cook dried pasta and sauces on the weekends, and combine and heat in the MW - perfect. Even put together fish soups and MW...perfectly done and not over done.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            We had the potato MW talk before. I agree, I love to start or just make mine in the MW. Perfect everytime. Even just a light cook for chopped onion or peppers work fine too. And artichokes, I do mine all the time in there.

            1. re: kchurchill5

              Corn on the cob in the microwave cooks super fast.

              1. re: Bryn

                and, in addition to being delicious, the corn does not dry out. the microwave seems to intensify the sweetness, too (or maybe it's just my imagination).

                1. re: Bryn

                  I wrap in saran sometimes, other times not. Easy and quick, 1 minute, tender and perfect. I do it often when I am eating something where I am not using the oven or the grill. Not as good as the grill with a few char marks and the flavor, but not bad at all. I did a party where the grill broke so I had to improvise. I did 30 ears of corn in the micro and they were all perfect.

              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Sam, I have never cooked an artichoke in the MW. Always a large, stuffed, Italian-style steamed affair in a pot on the stove for FORTY FIVE minutes. Exactly what size artichokes are you cooking for only a few minutes? I need to know -- because I would eat them much more often if they cooked faster.

                1. re: RGC1982

                  The ones we get here all about five inches diameter, They still take about 30 - 35 minutes steaming. Dana Zsofia and I eat a lot more artichokes since I learned to use the MW for them.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    As a child, my husband didn't like the hearts! His parents loved that. He'd eat the leaves and leave the hearts for them. Not so anymore :)

          2. You can do a lot in an electric fry pan.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sharuf

              I haven't had one of those in some years but you're so correct. They're incredibly versatile.

              How about omelettes? I love them for dinner and the sky's the limit as far as fillings.

            2. i'm into my cold veggie salads, less lettuce, more veggie. light dressings, either vinaigrette or buttermilk-based, with fresh herbs. flavorful, filling.

              bean salads, soycutash salad , tortellini salad.

              2 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                I make these constantly -- cucumber-based. One is soy sauce / sesame oil / chili oil / rice wine vinegar, and other I just made up was white wine vinegar / fresh dill / a bit of sweetner. Keeps for days. Very cheap.

                I also make this a lot -- Chickpea Salad with Provençal Herbs and Olives. I vary the herbs, sometimes omit the olives, and just wing it now. Quite easy.

                1. re: Reignking

                  Thinking of salads. I agree, love call summer salads. Sesame noodles, a light dressing, sugar peas, red peppers, some shrimp, water chestnuts (pretty traditional but served cold it really nice.

                  I also love chick peas pan sauted with garlic, onion, chicken, olives and served over fresh tomato slices with fresh spinach and a simple lemon vinaigrette. A combo salad with a warm bean salad.

              2. Crockpot...used mine yesterday (it's 90+ here in SW Florida)...made Indonesian Chicken thighs which turned out very good!!! Soy sauce, peanut butter, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, honey, splash of rice vinegar and lots of dried hot chili flakes. Remove skin from chicken thighs and trim all visible fat...season with black pepper, brown off quickly in frying pan. Combine everything in slow cooker and cook on LOW for 8 hours. Served it over brown rice and had steamed broccoli on the side. There is also a very good Thai Chicken Thighs recipe from janniecooks on this board and I see that a thread "Chicken Thighs in Crockpot" has been bumped so it's great timing. Crockpots are fabulous for summer cooking!

                7 Replies
                1. re: Val

                  great idea! many oven recipes can be adapted for the crock pot.
                  I also have a small round stovetop grill (fits over/around the burner). That might be a good alternative until you get an outdoor grill. It's good for boneless cuts of meat, fish.
                  Or one of the electric grills - like the george foreman - i think some even have several different internal plates, so you could use it as the aforementioned panini press. :)

                  1. re: Val

                    I make spicy honey ginger wings with sesame seeds over sesame noodles. I do this in the pot too. Also a good dish. Actually I do green beans in a parchment pouch right on top of the wings the last few hours in the crock and make the noodles ahead a night. Cold with some soy and sesame oil. Val is right, many good dishes made in the crock. Not my favorite, but for a easy dish, there are some dishes they can be very good. After using my grill pan one night, I did s/p and then grilled until each side was lightly brown. The next morning cut the pork tenderloin into 2" thick pieces and added to a light asian sauce, some onions, carrots and then served over sauted bok choy and some rice. The sauce makes a great flavor over the brown rice. Sauteed cucumbers make a great side dish as well.

                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      sauteed cucumber? is that good? hmmmm intrigued

                      1. re: kubasd

                        i've done it, and it is good. but with the price of cukes, i don't know if it's a good value. now if you have a bumper crop in the garden, try it!

                        (i prefer the fresh cukes seeded, sliced into 1/2" half-moons, then dressed lightly with a little toasted sesame oil and rice wine vinegar).

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Yes sesame oil and rice wine is also very good after being sauteed. There are many recipes for it.

                          1. re: kchurchill5

                            i don't sauté the cukes for the sesame oil cuke salad. i like them raw (but they need to be fresh, sweet and crisp, for my taste).

                        2. re: kubasd

                          Very good. I just saute in butter, then remove and add s/p, some fresh tarragon, and remove from heat and add a little sour cream.

                          You can also just saute with butter, s/p and then top with fresh dill

                          Also you can dredge in a little flour, s/p and then saute in butter and sprinkle with rosemary, tarragon or parsley, also good.

                          There are many different recipes for a simple stir fry and they are all good. I have made most of them. Sometimes adding some scallions to the cucumbers is very good as well.

                          NOTE: I like to cut the cucumbers in half moons and about 1/2" thick, Full slices work is breading, but the half moons works best for me when NOT breading.

                          Great summer side dish