Plated: Keep Cool in the Kitchen

By Rebecca Turner August 2023

There are plenty of good things about summer. But cooking dinner in a steamy kitchen while still 90 degrees outside is not one of them. When the temperature in Mississippi is soaring, and dinner still must be provided, look to these no-cook, low-effort cooking methods that won’t have you sweating over the stovetop.

Microwaves get a bad rap for drying out or rubberizing food. And some claim everything that gets “cooked” in a microwave is deemed highly processed and unhealthy. All can be true, but it doesn’t mean a microwave can’t help get a balanced dinner on the table. Microwaves are great for speeding up the preparation process without turning on a stove. Cook rice and grain varieties in 90-second pouches for the base in burrito bowls, rice bowls, or as a quick side dish — steam vegetables in five minutes or less in Corningware. Heat a sweet or baked potato to use for loaded potatoes. Microwaves are also great for melting cheese to finalize a quesadilla, tuna melt, or top nachos.

Rotisserie Chicken
Most grocery and big box stores offer oven-roasted rotisserie chickens. Rotisserie chickens are perfect for picking up hot and eating the night of, but it’s also helpful to grab one weekly to have shredded chicken on hand. It is easier to slice it while it’s still warm and store the shredded chicken in an airtight container for up to four days in the refrigerator. Use shredded chicken for burritos, rice bowls, chicken salad, or quesadillas. Or try BBQ chicken tacos with a creamy yogurt sauce. Bonus: Use immediately or freeze the leftover skin and bones to boil for fresh and tasty chicken broth.

Sandwich Salad Combo
Sandwich salad combos are for more than just lunch. They make an easy no-sweat dinner, too. Choose heartier bread like sourdough, Italian, focaccia, French, bagels, or hoagies to elevate your meal. Go for more decadent spreads like stone ground mustards, pestos, Thousand Island, or Italian dressing. Switch out lunch meat and processed cheese for lox, chicken, tuna, crab, or chickpea salad — layer in fresh vegetables like spinach, roasted red peppers, or thinly sliced cucumbers. Think past simple salads and serve a fresh summer fruit, cherry tomato, or cucumber salad. Or go bolder with a Caprese, corn, broccoli, or avocado salad. Whisk up homemade dressing for an extra fresh taste.

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