UACES Facebook Keep the Heat Out of the Kitchen

Keep the Heat Out of the Kitchen

When it's hot outside, no one wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking. I look for ways to prepare quick, easy meals that will not heat up the kitchen but still feed my family healthy, wholesome meals.

TEXARKANA, Ark. –

mincing garlic from Cook Smart Eat Smart Cooking Class
 
JoAnn mincing garlic at Cook Smart Eat Smart cooking school
 
cooking minced garlic and onions
Remember to keep ingredients cold until you are ready to use them.   Clean the work area and utensils before preparing food.  JoAnn mincing garlic   Spinach Medley was recently made at our Cooking School. It is easy, good and doesn't heat up the kitchen when you use an electric skillet.

When it’s blistering hot outside, I am not a big fan of spending a lot of time in the kitchen cooking. I look for ways to prepare quick, easy meals that will not heat up the kitchen but still feed my family healthy, wholesome meals. 

Make fruits and vegetables the building blocks of your meal.

Most can be served raw or cooked quickly; and are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals we need in our diets. How about a main dish salad for dinner? Try tossed salad with leftover rice and cooked chicken; or something as simple as tuna or chicken salad. Serve on top of a romaine lettuce salad and add a whole wheat roll and you have a quick, nutritious meal, without heating up the kitchen.

Don’t neglect the appliances in your kitchen; put them to work for you.

The microwave you may only use for reheating items, or maybe popping popcorn is being underutilized, and can save you time, plus keep the heat out of the kitchen. In as little as 4-6 minutes, you can have a baked potato. When finished, I remove mine and wrap in foil. I even cook corn on the cob in 2-3 minutes per ear.

There are also appliances such as electric skillets that you can make skillet lasagna, omelets, or even pineapple upside down cake. A toaster oven will allow you the opportunity to have baked items without heating up the kitchen with your ranges oven.

I love grilling to beat the heat. Grilling adds flavor, keeps the heat out of the kitchen, and means less mess to clean up too. If you don't have equipment or space to grill outdoors, use a small electric grill inside. When cooking meats on the grill, remember they cook quickly and don’t add much heat to the kitchen. Start with good quality cuts of meat and poultry and be sure to trim excess fat for good health.

Plan ahead and cook once and serve twice.

Meaning prepare enough the first time that you can add it to another dish for a different meal. Baked potatoes one night might be used for potato salad or twice baked potatoes the next night. Grilled chicken could turn into chicken quesadillas, chicken salad, or chicken spaghetti.

While we are trying to beat the heat, summertime is a good time to remember our food safety rules. Bacteria grow rapidly in hot temperatures. Remember to keep ingredients cold until you are ready to use them. Also, clean the work area and utensils before you prepare food, as well as wash your hands often, especially after handling raw meats or eggs.

Always cover and refrigerate any leftovers immediately.

Avoid the “danger zone”. Never leave food at room temperature over 2 hours (1 hour when the temperature is above 90ºF).

For more information contact the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Miller County Extension office in the courthouse, e-mail me at chaley@uaex.edu or call 870-779-3609. You can also get great tips on facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, or twitter at @MillerCountyFCS. Enjoy your copy of Enjoy Arkansas' Fresh Spinach.

Spinach Medley was recently made at our Cook Smart, Eat Smart Cooking School and it was so easy, good and didn’t heat up the kitchen because we used an electric skillet. It serves 4 and has only 265 calories; 7 g fat; 20 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 477 mg calcium, 8 mg iron, 541 mcg folate per serving.

Spinach Medley

  • Cooking spray            
  • One fourth cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (16 ounce) can corn, drained and rinsed
  • One fourth cup water
  • 3 bunches spinach, stems removed
  • One and one half cups tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese, shredded (optional)

 In an electric skillet coated with cooking spray, sauté onions and garlic until tender over medium heat. Add zucchini, mushrooms, corn, and water. Cover and steam until tender. Add tomatoes and spinach, cover and steam until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cheese if desired before serving.

By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609
chaley@uaex.edu

 

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