Easy Meals That Won’t Heat the House This Summer

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With heat in the triple digits, the last thing I want to do is heat the house making dinner. I love my oven but avoid it like the plague in the summer. Whether your AC unit is barely keeping up or you just want easy meals that have the bonus of requiring less energy to prepare, you’ll enjoy these hot weather meals for the family!

Set It and Forget It Slow Cooker Meals

Pulled Pork :: This is my go-to recipe for an easy slow cooker meal. I like the seasoning in the recipe because it makes the meat versatile so I can change how I use the leftovers. I can make pulled pork sliders one day and leftover pulled pork tacos the next.

For the ultimate easy meal, just throw a jar of your favorite barbeque sauce over the meat and set your crockpot on low for eight hours. Pair your meat with pickles or coleslaw on top of mini Hawaiian rolls. Complete your meal with store-bought potato salad or mac ‘n cheese. My kids love it with green beans.

Chicken tacos

Slow Cooker Honey Lime Chicken Tacos :: Use chicken breasts or chicken thighs for this dump and go meal. Everyone can adorn their tacos whichever way they like. You’ll have leftovers to recreate meals, such as quesadillas or nachos.

>> RELATED READ :: Food As A Love Language :: Explore New Cultures Through Food <<

For days when there isn’t time to pull out the seasonings or measure in the morning, I’m a big fan of Frontera sauce packets. I always keep a few stocked in the pantry for easy crockpot meals. They have a variety of them — my favorite is the barbacoa sauce. Just pour over the meat in the slow cooker and it’s done several hours later.

Air Fryer Magic

I LOVE my air fryer. While I can only make small portions in it, it delivers perfectly crisp skin without making my house feel like a furnace. I make the following almost every other day!

Secret tip: Avoid the hassle of cleaning air fryer parts with this silicone dishwasher-safe liner! Game changer!

Chicken legs :: These are a grocery bill saver! My kids love the juiciness of the leg meat. I can get a pack of five for less than $5. I sprinkle each leg in some garlic salt, and put it in the air fryer at 350 degrees for 22 minutes. I can focus on prepping sides while it cooks.

Roasted Red Potatoes :: Red potatoes are anti-inflammatory, full of Vitamin C, and the skin is a good source of fiber. I cut them in quarters, coat them in olive oil and Lawry’s seasoning salt, and air fry at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, stir, and add on another six minutes. Depending on size of the potatoes, it might take a few minutes more.

Light Summer Sides

Summer Corn Salad :: I love a cool side on a hot summer day. This is super fast to prepare. Make it in advance and refrigerate to take out on busy days. There are so many yummy variations of corn or bean salads, so if this one doesn’t strike your fancy, do a quick search to find one made of your favorite ingredients. The lime juice and Italian dressing in this recipe are what appeal to me!

Pasta Salad :: Make a big batch of this and enjoy it as a side one night and as lunch the next day. You do have to boil the pasta, so I try to do that in the cooler hours of the day, but everything else is just toss in and stir! Adjust the ingredients to your family’s preferences.

We do cherry tomatoes, cucumber, salami, mozzarella balls or feta, olives for the adults, and Italian dressing. Sometimes I add in honey-candied almond slices for a crunch. So good!

>> RELATED READ :: FOOD AS A LOVE LANGUAGE: Culture, Cuisine, & Kid-Friendly Recipes <<


Chocolate Mug Cake :: This Pioneer Woman recipe is delicious and really hits the spot if you’re craving something rich and chocolatey. It couldn’t be easier to make. Throw all the ingredients in a mug, stir, and microwave! You probably have all the ingredients on hand too. Add a dollop of whip cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream for perfection.

Two mugs of chocolate cake

No-Bake Cheesecake :: Light, cool, and scrumptious. Make this for your next potluck or freeze and enjoy on summer nights. Make sure to start it ahead of time as it does need several hours to refrigerate to set. Top with your favorite fruit or candy topping.

Explore Your Options

While I’m not including any recipes for the grill, that is obviously a favorite cooking method every summer! Burgers, kabobs, brats, corn on the cob, zucchini . . . the options are endless. When my husband grills out on the weekend, we enjoy the leftovers all week.

Summer is the perfect time to explore recipes using alternative cooking methods. Whatever you have — a crockpot, grill, panini press, InstaPot, air fryer — make it your goal to use it more this summer and give your oven (and energy bill) a much needed break!

Have a favorite summer recipe your family loves that won’t heat the house? Share it with us in the comments!

Bridget Scarbrough
Bridget grew up in the DFW area and is a proud TCU Horned Frog alum. After moving from Fort Worth to Dallas, she and her husband settled in Plano in 2013. She is an oncology registered nurse but has temporarily hung up her stethoscope for the glamorous life of being a personal chauffeur, chef, and maid to her two tiny bosses, Elizabeth (5) and Henry (1). In her spare time, she enjoys reading, dancing, and exploring new places. Her happy place is a cozy coffee shop with her journal in one hand and a latte in the other.