Meal Planning for Hot Weather

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Meal planning for hot weather looks different than when cooler temps prevail. Use these strategies to make your meal times cool and breezy.

Meal Planning for Hot Weather | Life as Mom

We’ve had record temperatures here in Southern California, along with a pack of raging wildfires. Since the smoke was so bad, we had to keep the windows shut for a few days. Our home has neither AC nor ceiling fans so it got a little warm and toasty in the house.

It brought new meaning to meal planning for the weather. One night I didn’t even make dinner. We just had an assortment of salami, cheese, pickles, and veggies, what we call a Snacky Dinner.

As summer and warmer temps approach, now’s the time to dig out your hot weather meal prep strategies. Consider these tips for easier and cooler meals this summer:

Meal Planning for Hot Weather

Make it in advance.

Cook in the cool of the night or morning. There are lots of make-ahead meals and freezer friendly meals that you can make in advance so that you’re not cooking during the hottest part of the day.

If you fill the freezer, be sure to invest in a freezer alarm so that in the event of a power outage or freezer failure, you can be alerted and salvage your stash.

Use the slow cooker.

The slow cooker is your ticket to ride into the evening with supper already cooked. Stews, chilis, and sloppy joes are no-brainers. But, did you know you can do hot dogs, baked potatoes, and even dessert in the slow cooker.

You can easily prep several cookers to go at one time so that the full dinner is taken care of for you. I have slow cookers in three different sizes to accommodate my different recipes: large, medium, small.

Meal Planning for Hot Weather | Life as Mom

Don’t cook!

There are lots of ways to serve supper without cooking. Serve on paper plates and you can avoid the hot dishwashing experience, too.

Cook out.

I honestly never heard the term, cook out, until we moved to Kansas. We say grill or BBQ here, even though it isn’t truly BBQ. Whatever.

Whatever you call it, cooking out of doors instead of heating up the kitchen is awesome. Not only does the kitchen stay clean and cool with the heat and mess outside, but the flavor a grill imparts to food just can’t be beat. I threw a bunch of vegetables on the grill for supper one night and FishPapa even thought he could go vegan after that meal! May wonders never cease.

If you’ve got a few BBQ tools, an instant read meat thermometer and a grill pan, you are good to go. Take advantage of your backyard barbecue and enjoy all kinds of grilled meals.

What’s YOUR favorite strategy for meal planning for hot weather?

Meal Planning for Hot Weather | Life as Mom

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. Janet says

    I can rarely convince my husband to eat either a cold lunch or dinner, so I have had to come up with other strategies for hot weather cooking. I try to cook ahead in the evening when it is cooler; I am at the office in the mornings. I have my husband grill a couple of times a week. I often have a hot entrée, but all side dishes are cold (my husband is okay with that arrangement). I use my crock pot more in the summer than winner. Lastly, I try to find make a head meals or meal components that can be reheated in the microwave without affecting taste and texture.

  2. Brighid says

    You’ve pretty much covered all of my standbys. One note about really hot days: if you have an outlet on a deck or porch, you can exile your slow cooker or roaster to outside! Every little bit helps on those really amazingly hot days.

    Also, if you have a lake or pool nearby, it can be a great idea to bring a picnic dinner to the lake. Little kids can get so hot they’re not hungry and once they’ve cooled down in the water, they realize they’re starving!

    • I thought about mentioning that, but with wildfires raging in my county, it made me nervous. But, yes, I have lots of friends who put both the bread machine and the crockpot out on the deck or in the garage so that the kitchen stays cooler.

      Great idea about taking dinner with you to swim. No one wants to cook after a day at the beach.

      • christy says

        I love the garage idea. They can really warm up the kitchen. Great ideas ladies!!!!

  3. What is that sandwich in the first picture? It looks so good!

  4. Lakey says

    I love to use the crock pot in the summer, but to avoid the heat dump into the house I put the crock pot in the garage to cook. We do the same with the rice cooker and on really hot days I will use a portable induction cooktop out there. It’s a little warmer for the cook (alway me) but I don’t mind because it means I can enjoy a nice cool home when we sit down to eat.

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