Summer time is the time for barbecues, eating 'al fresco', salads and icy treats. But life with kids, family commitments and the hot weather don't really create a good recipe for working in the kitchen and we've still got to get a meal on the table but what do you cook? You don't want to use the oven and you don't really feel like eating hot stodgy meals.
When you're thinking of salads, pile all the salad ingredients on a large platter, top with the protein, whether that's sliced grilled chicken, fish, seafood, beef, lamb, pork, etc and a nice salad dressing. Noodles, rice, pasta or croutons and nuts make it go a little bit further. Don't forget about beans like chickpeas, lentils, cannellini and vegetarian grain options like quinoa, barley, couscous or tofu and other vegetarian products. Cheese makes a nice addition to a salad. Varieties like haloumi (grilled), goat's cheese, ricotta, feta, parmesan etc. Creamy or vinaigrette dressings, take your pick. So many varieties of salad meals, you'll never get bored.
I used to have an electric wok too but it died. I haven't replaced it but it was good for your usual stir fries, pasta sauces, etc. An old fashioned electric fry pan is good for all of these things plus stews, casseroles, even a roast. The good old crockpot can cook a myriad of things that won't heat the kitchen but will still be light and refreshing. Fill with potatoes cooked whole in their jackets and top with bacon bits, salad, coleslaw etc for a fully loaded stuffed potato.
I love my super-sized contact grill and sandwich press. I use it to grill meat, cook pancakes/fritters, grill vegetables, make kebabs, burritos or wraps, etc. Doesn't create very much heat at all.
And don't forget about the humble supermarket roast chicken. Besides just cutting it up and serving with a salad, here's 5 things to do with it. Last night we had chicken and salad rolls. Contains all 5 food groups as far as I'm concerned. That's all I felt like after another hot day here in the Sunshine State.