The hot summer days often mean excessive use of air conditioning for some as your house tries very hard to keep cool. It is a challenge to refrain from turning on the air conditioning especially at bedtime when excessive humidity is unbearable enough to keep you awake at night. The key to keeping the house cool other than using the air conditioning is to limit use of heat producing rooms of the house. The main heat producing culprit besides the utility room would be none other than the kitchen.
Kitchen has its way of producing excessive amounts of heat in your home whether using the oven, stove, or dishwasher. The oven should be avoided whenever possible during dog days of summer. If there are items that you plan on baking that week, try and accomplish the baking task very early in the morning or late at night when the sun is not yet overhead. Many meals can be cooked during these off hours and re-heated through the use of a microwave.
The stove is another big heat producer and also should be used in limited occurrences. The stove will be much less of a heat producer compared to the oven. Using the stove is acceptable if the meal being prepared is relatively quick such as ten or fifteen minute sauté or boil times. Try and avoid long term stove cooking such as corn boils, boiled potatoes, or even soups. These items are big heat producers to your kitchen as their stove time will easily exceed one hour.
The dishwasher is a luxury for many of us that do not want to do dishes by hand. During the scorching days of summer I like to turn back the clock and clean dishes the old fashioned way. It is more cumbersome to wash dishes by hand, but I see this wash and dry time to be a good time to converse with the spouse or kids who assist in drying the glasses and plates while I wash. If you feel the need to use the dishwasher, try use efficiency settings on your dishwasher to cut down on heat being produced during the dry cycle.
There are some additional steps one can take to decrease the amount of heat output in the kitchen during the hot months. First of all, invest in a slow cooker if you do not already own one. These all day cookers are great for making tasty meals and do not heat up your kitchen. They are very simple to use and the possibilities are endless when it comes to preparing quality dinners. I am a big advocate of the slow cooker as I can prepare the day’s meal all in the early morning and not have to worry about meal preparation later in the day.
Additional measures one can take to prepare meals without excessive heat are through the use of a microwave oven. Microwaves are good at heating up store bought prepared foods as well as leftovers and premade meals. The key to microwaving is making sure the meal is adequately heated throughout and there are not any hot or cold pockets. If you get a break in the hot weather, it might be a good idea to use the oven or stove to prepare meals for later use that can be reheated through the microwave. Such prepared meals might include Lasagna, chili, chicken and dumplings, stuffed peppers, and a variety of other casserole types of home cooked meals.
Finally if your kitchen is still brutally warm despite minimal cooking consider such extra measures as preparing some of the meals outside on a grill. The outdoor grill can handle several cooking tasks whether heating burgers, chicken, fish, or even a pizza. If possible try and grill extra food to allow for a leftovers which can be heated in the microwave the next day or so.