Cool Summertime Kitchen Hacks
When you think of summer, you daydream of relaxing in the sun or lounging in the pool. But in reality, summertime can be a hectic and busy time of the year. With yard work to do, kids schedules of summer activities and practices, and gatherings to attend, the last thing you want to do on a night off is toil away in the kitchen. We have some summertime kitchen hacks that are easy on time (and budget) that will have you enjoying more time relaxing this summer and less time sweating in the kitchen.
Coffee Delight: Coffee is often enjoyed hot, but during the summer, cooling things down can be a refreshing alternative. Make coffee and, after it cools at room temperature, blend it with ice and milk. If you have leftover coffee, pour the cooled coffee into ice cube trays and freeze. Put the coffee ice cubes in a glass and add cream/milk the next time you want a treat.
No-Mess Sides: Try something quick, easy and multi-purpose like mix-and-serve slaw. Combine one bag of slaw mix with pre-made dressing. Just mix and serve for a slaw that can be served as a side dish or used as a topping on burgers or tacos.
Cooking Corn: Corn on the cob is a staple for a lot of summertime meals, but dealing with the mess of shucking the ears and waiting for the water to boil can be time-consuming. Make it easy by microwaving it instead! Place 1 to 4 ears in the microwave, un-shucked. Microwave for 3 to 5 minutes on high. Allow to cool. When the silks and top leaves are cool enough to handle, quickly shuck the husks and serve.
Slow-Cooked Perfection: Keep your house and your kitchen cooler by using a slow cooker instead of heating up the oven.
My Own Meat Loaf: If meatloaf is on the menu for dinner, but heating up the stove for an hour is not, divide and bake. Divide the meatloaf meat into individual portions in a muffin tin and bake at 450° for 15 minutes.
Fire Up The Grill: Using the grill outside is a sure way to keep the kitchen cool and spend some time outdoors. Grill dirty? No problem. All you have to do to clean the grill grates is turn the grill on high (or fire up the charcoal) for a few minutes to warm up the grill. Then, spray the grates with white vinegar or lemon juice (the additional acid will help with the cleaning process) and firmly run half of an onion, cut side down, along the grates.
No Stick Fish: When cooking fish on the grill, place citrus slices right on top of the grill as the bed for the fish. Doing so will keep the fish from sticking.
Wishing for Watermelon: Watermelon is a sweet, refreshing and a backyard barbecue staple. It can be messy, however, and difficult to cut. For less mess and more enjoyment, cut the watermelon in half crosswise, then cut each half vertically into a grid to create easy-to-eat, snack-perfect sticks of watermelon.
Orange Peel Aways: Need an easy snack? Have mandarin orange slices ready to go in a snap. Put your orange down on a cutting board. Use a knife to slice off a thin bit from the end, and then do the same thing with the end opposite. Next, cut a perpendicular line. You want to go almost clean through the orange, but not all the way. Then you can pull both ends away from each other and stretch out the orange in a long strip. Then you can just grab each slice off the strip and enjoy!
Keep Drinks Chilled: Ice cubes are the usual way to keep your summer beverages chilled, but ice cubes can melt quickly, especially if you’re outdoors. Instead of overflowing your glass with ice, try a sweet and juicy fruit flavor. Place grapes, raspberries, kiwi or any other kind of fruit on a skewer and freeze. You can easily dip, stir and keep your drink cool with this tasty trick, and then enjoy the fruit when your drink is empty.
Chill Out Fast: Do you need to chill drinks on the fly? Wrap a wet paper towel around the bottle and stick it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. It will be now perfectly chilled.
Ice Pop Paradise: For an easy dessert, try making homemade ice pops. Puree your favorite fruit with honey, then add it to an ice pop mold. Add Greek yogurt and freeze. For more flavor, add mint or basil.
Dessert And Breakfast: Yogurt pops can make a great snack, treat, or breakfast on the go. Insert a wooden ice pop stick into the top of an individual container of fruit-flavored yogurt. Freeze. Remove the top and the container for a frozen yogurt pop.
I Scream, You Scream For Banana Cream: Skip dairy for banana “ice cream.” Frozen bananas blend up into a smooth, sweet ice-cream-like treat. Plus, you can make an infinite variety of flavored, healthy ice creams using a banana as the base. Add cocoa powder for chocolate ice cream, frozen strawberries for a fruity twist, or cocoa powder, almond butter, almond chunks and marshmallows for fun take on rocky road.
Plastic Wrap On Chill: Had enough of wrangling plastic wrap? Store the roll in the fridge to store leftovers with less of a hassle. Chilling the wrap makes it easier to transport it from the roll to your bowl.