ARTICLES by NORENE GILLETZ  

Too Hot to Cook?
by Norene Gilletz

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Turn off the stove, turn up the air conditioning, find a fan. It's that time of year when easy meals are the order of the day. Eating out is great, but it gets costly.

Local produce is plentiful and fresh vegetables are perfect fare. Backyard barbecues are going strong. The cook is busy at the grill, complaining because the surrounding air feels like an oven!

Summertime is brief, so relax, stay cool and take any shortcuts you can. Here are some simple suggestions to beat the heat:

Stay hydrated! If you wait until you're thirsty, you're waiting too long. Choose water over juice. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Most of hunger is thirst!
Spicy foods are super - they make you perspire and cool down.
Most chilled foods are at their best when served almost at room temperature. Over-season foods slightly as many flavors are more subtle when foods are chilled.
Prepare salad greens in advance; wash and dry thoroughly. Refrigerate in a plastic bag with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. They'll keep for 2 or 3 days.
Get together with friends and share the cooking. Make extra to freeze for another day.
Cook a big batch of pasta. Serve some hot with your favorite sauce and use the rest in a cold pasta salad. You could also freeze pasta in air-tight baggies. When needed, remove from bag, place in a strainer and rinse with boiling water; or reheat in the microwave, allowing 1 minute on HIGH per cup of pasta.

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All images and recipes Norene Gilletz 2013 unless otherwise noted.

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