Make No-Cook Summer Meals to Keep Kitchens Cool

Posted: August 1, 2016

During these hot summer days, consider preparing no-cook meals to keep kitchens cool. Healthy meals can be made using cold ingredients or with appliances which do not heat up the house...

Below are a few tips for preparing no-cook meals.

Keep menus simple.

Healthy food can be easy to prepare. All you really need is a carbohydrate, protein and vegetable/fruit source. For example, start with a whole wheat tortilla, top with refried or black beans and cheese and microwave until hot, add chopped tomatoes, peppers and onions and serve with salsa and a glass of milk.

Make main dish salads.

Use a variety of vegetables and fruits and add a lean protein like chicken, turkey, beans, or hard boiled eggs. Pair with whole grain crackers or a whole wheat roll for a healthy summer meal.

Serve sandwiches or wraps.

Use a variety of whole grain breads, pita pockets, or tortillas and fill with tuna, chicken or egg salad or lean meats, and vegetables like lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and roasted peppers. For a different twist on a chicken sandwich, try making this spicy chicken sandwich recipe. Mix leftover cooked (or canned) shredded chicken with low-fat mayonnaise or low-fat plain yogurt. Add chopped celery, chopped bell pepper (green or red), and curry powder to taste. Serve on whole-grain bread with tomato slices and spinach leaves or romaine lettuce.

Prepare hot foods when it’s cooler and freeze

Hot foods like chicken breasts or casseroles can be cooked and frozen.  Pull out your frozen entrée, defrost in the refrigerator, and heat in the microwave on a hot day.

Use appliances which do not generate a lot of extra heat

such as slow cookers, microwaves, or indoor grills to prepare your meal.

Below is a recipe from the USDA for Veggie Rainbow salad which makes a great accompaniment to any no-cook summer meal.

Veggie Rainbow Salad


1 can red kidney beans (15.5 ounces, drained and rinsed)
1 can black beans (15.5 ounces, drained and rinsed)
3 carrots (scrubbed and sliced)
1 yellow squash (small, washed and sliced)
1 zucchini (small, washed and sliced)
1/2 cup light Italian dressing
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Mix all the vegetables together in a large bowl. Pour dressing over vegetables. Sprinkle with pepper. Stir gently, coating all vegetables. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours. Serving size 2/3 cup, 90 calories, 2 g. fat, 4 g. protein, 5 g. fiber, 210 mg. sodium

Contact Information

Karen Thomas
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health
Phone: 570-963-6842