Kevin reminds me that in the wintertime, we pay a lot of money for hot weather like this in Mexico or the Caribbean, so let’s make the most of it now!
However, +30C weather presents a challenge to the Chief Household Cook. Who wants to slave over a hot stove or heat up the house with the oven?
The BBQ is an obvious answer to keeping the heat outside, but here are a few other options that might inspire you and add variety to your cooking routine for these last weeks of summer.
The Slow Cooker
I hadn’t used my slow cooker since March because I think of it for roasts, stews and cold weather, comfort food meals until I realized that the slow cooker doesn’t heat up the house! Why am I not using this thing year round? Tonight’s dinner will be Slow Cooker Spanish Meatballs. I’ll save prep time by using Pine View Farms’ meatballs, of course.
The Instant Pot
Like my slow cooker, I hadn’t used my Instant Pot for a long while. I’ve dusted it off and used it to par cook pork ribs using this recipe, then finished them on the BBQ for that smoky flavour. It’s quite a brilliant idea and SUPER FAST!
Meal salads are your friend. It’s your one pot summer meal. My boys raved about this BBQ Chicken Salad. It’s the smoked paprika that puts this salad over the top — the dressing is fantastic. However, my summer meal salads are riffs on Asian, Thai, Caribbean and Mexican flavors. All contain protein to stave off teenage hunger (a combo of meat, cheese, nuts, seeds), carbs, and crunchy vegetables to keep it interesting.
Fruit also belongs in savoury salads for an unexpected hit of sweet. I invented this Grilled Peach, Chicken & Feta Salad (serves 4):
- Grill 4 chicken breasts and 4 peaches cut in ½, brushed with oil on the BBQ. Let cool while prepping the vegetables.
- Chop a head of lettuce and place in large salad bowl.
- Chop 2-4 tbsp. red onion and sprinkle on greens.
- Slice chicken breast across the grain into strips and place on greens.
- Slice peach halves into wedges and place on salad.
- Crumble 1/3 – ½ c. feta cheese and sprinkle on salad.
- Dress the salad with a lemon vinaigrette of equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve with seedy multigrain bread.
I listed barbecuing last because it’s such an obvious summer savior. We’ve done everything from pancakes on the griddle to roast chicken dinner to panini sandwiches and pizza on the BBQ. Think of it as your outdoor oven. Anything you can cook in the oven, you can cook on the BBQ.
Of course, burgers, wieners, steaks, chops and chicken breast win favour on the BBQ. Have you tried our new quarter pound all beef burgers? Top with jack cheese, lettuce and tomato for an old-fashioned cheeseburger.
Or our new Moroccan Beef Kebabs? Serve with tzatziki, pita, greens and cherry tomatoes for an easy, quick and healthy meal.
Why does meat on a stick always taste better? We don’t have the answer to that, but we do make the best chicken and pork souvlaki. I’m totally biased when I say that but also 100% confident it’s true! Greek salad alongside souvlaki is a fresh summer meal everyone can dig into in under 30 minutes.
There’s no need to overcomplicate summer cooking — especially when you start with the best seasonal ingredients you can find. Keep it simple and let the natural flavours shine through.
We hope you have the chance to savour the last weeks of summer.