How I am keeping the oven off this summer
Updated: Jul 24
This summer, Michigan has been particularly hot and humid. We are trying to do our part during the Covid-19 pandemic and stay home, stay safe, and stay cool. Challenging times call for creativity in the kitchen. My family has adapted our normal cooking to beat the heat and save time. One of my primary summer goals is to keep the oven off while utilizing food we have on hand or grow ourselves. We use the BBQ, crockpot, fire pit with a cooking grill, or stovetop to cook.
One day, we started chicken quarters in the crockpot and then finished them off on the BBQ for the final yummy glaze. A crockpot can still heat up a kitchen though. We are a multigenerational household, so when my mother in law suggested putting the crockpot in the garage to keep the kitchen cool, I knew she was on to something! Using the crockpot makes for tender, fall apart chicken and I don’t have to worry that the meat will be undercooked. We still get the great BBQ sauce caramelization that keeps kids of all ages coming back for seconds!
Living so close to the Great Lakes, we support local fisheries, and we purchase our white fish fresh off the boat in Bay Port. We save money by buying the fish whole. An added bonus is the children learning about fish anatomy, conservation, and healthy eating habits while they watch dad fillet ten whitefish. We save the roe, or fish eggs, to use in place of chicken eggs when making bread. We even fry the roe up to make “Michigan Egg Rolls.” I lightly season the whitefish fillets and wrap them in tinfoil. We grill the fillets just off to the side of the firepit flames for anywhere from 15-25 min when they are smokey perfection. The kids feel like we are camping, so we fully indulge them and set up a tent in the front yard. One more way to beat the heat!
My three growing kids beg for summer treats. We use the peanut butter provided in our WIC packages and make “No Bake Cookies.” A big pot full of chocolate, peanut buttery goodness that satisfies every sweet tooth without heating up the house.
This is our first time growing a real garden. In previous years, our days were busy with vacations, sports, and other summer pastimes. We dedicated a portion of the yard to tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and berries. Nothing makes a meal more special than young hands picking the early herbs for a fresh salad and grandparents choosing stalks of rhubarb for dessert. My family is creating pretty cool, sweet memories this summer!
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Juliana.
Juliana is a mom of three, newly minted American citizen, and in love with her Michigander husband. Her family makes their home in Caro, MI after many US Army postings. Recently, her in laws have come to live with them creating a multigenerational home full of love and memories.
In this week's guest post, Juliana shares her ideas for eating healthy without heating up the house this summer. If you would like to explore more meal and snack ideas for hot days, consider taking our free online lesson called: Saving Time with No Cook Recipes. You can find this lesson in the Meal Planning category of wichealth.org.