When it’s so scorching hot out that your children can’t even muster the energy to whine, no one wants to stand over a steaming pot on the stovetop or heat the house to Arizona levels by using the oven. But you can’t eat ice pops for supper every night (… right?), so we’ve done you a solid and compiled five easy-breezy, no-stove ideas for getting a healthy and tasty meal on the table without breaking a sweat.
Now grab your little kitchen buddy and get to NOT cooking.
1. Roll Your Own…Veggie Sushi
Despite its fancy-pants feel, sushi is actually super simple to make—and the tools are mad cheap. Bonus: With lots of veggies it’s also super healthy. Add strips of pre-cooked tofu if you want a boost of protein and/or avocado for healthy fat. Prepare your sushi rice in a rice cooker and then check out The Kitchn’s great tutorial for rollin’ it up with your kids.
2. The Ultimate Summer Salad
Yes, yes, salad is pretty much the no-brainer of no-cook meals. But panzanella (Italian bread salad) turns your big bowl of cold stuff into something special—plus, it’s a great way to use up that loaf of bread that’s starting to turn. Traditionally, panzanella is made with cubes of stale, dried-out bread that soak up a divine dressing made from olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and the juices from chunks of ripe sweet tomato.
We like the filling protein from the mozzarella in this Caprese version by Simply Delicious (crisp up your bread in the toaster oven), but you could also add olives, cucumber, bell peppers, capers, leftover roasted veggies, beans, salami, chopped marinated tofu—whatever gets you pumped. Young kids can tear basil leaves with their hands, while older ones can hone their knife skills with a chiffonade.
3. Get on the Boat—the Tuna Boat
The hero of many a last-minute meal, this humble tinned (or pouched) fish makes a mean sandwich, natch (Simply Recipes’ take uses avocado in place of mayo), but also adds oomph to Eating Well’s Mediterranean-inspired stuffed tomatoes (with great northern beans, arugula, and Kalamata olives!) or these fast, fresh lettuce wraps by Dad with a Pan. And, of course, all these options provide a plethora of opportunities for small hands to open cans, rip open pouches, measure, chop, pour, mix, and build.
4. Rotisserie Chicken to the Rescue
The ultimate ingredient in semi-homemade kitchen magic, this supermarket time-saver is put to smart, speedy use in Real Simple’s “pulled chicken”-style sammies or this crunchy, colorful Chinese chicken salad from Just a Taste. Bonus: Your kids will actually enjoy making and eating both. (When you’re willing to face the stove again, you must make these barbecue sundaes in a jar from Delish or your life really will never be complete.)
5. Life’s a Picnic—at Home!
Blow your kids’ minds with a dinner-picnic staged in your shady backyard or even smack dab in the middle of the air-conditioned living room. Together you can make sandwiches, gather snack-y items (think crackers, cheese, salami, pickles, etc.), grab a selection of fresh veggies and fruit, and even include any leftovers that don’t require reheating. Heck—you can even just assemble yogurt parfaits or bowls of cold cereal! Then spread out a blanket, cop a squat, and bask in the fact that your kids think you’re super cool—at least tonight.
Did you know? Little Sous offers a monthly themed kids cooking box that will help your family connect in the kitchen. Check out our subscription options!