How to Survive the Dog Days of Summer

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FOODNETWORK_20081002_250.tif

The summer heat is peaking, and it’s getting harder to keep things cool in the kitchen. When you can’t bear to turn your oven on, look for other cooking methods to avoid eating raw at every meal (although, we do love a hearty dinner salad). Just when you think you’ve run out of creative juice, here are four techniques that make meal planning during the dog days of summer a breeze.

Utilize Your Slow Cooker

Your slow cooker isn’t reserved for cold weather. Instead of heavy, creamy comfort foods, use your slow cooker to braise cheap cuts of meat for tacos or a salad. It’s an easy way to save money and time on nights when you’re not in the mood to cook and it’s too hot to turn the oven or stove on. Try Food Network Magazine’s Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos (pictured above) topped with pineapple and lime for summertime flair.

Mix _ Match_ Sangria

Mix _ Match_ Sangria

Photo by: Levi Brown

Levi Brown

Break Out the Blender

Souping may be the latest diet craze, but when it comes to summertime dishes, gazpacho has been trending for years. Mix and match ingredients to design the soup of your choice without leaving a pot of simmering liquid on the stove for an hour. Simply blend your flavors, then place the mixture in the fridge to cool. It’s that simple. Haylie Duff’s Watermelon Gazpacho calls for fresh summer produce you can find at your local farmers market.

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

Cook with Citrus

Give your grill a break and turn seafood into ceviche. This Peruvian dish is perfect for hot days when you’re craving something refreshing. Zingy flavors from lemon and lime juice “cook” seafood such as shrimp, octopus or scallops. This Shrimp and Tomato Ceviche from Food Network Magazine is bursting with fresh summer ingredients, and it’s ready to eat in less than an hour.

FNK WATERMELON-­RASPBERRY BREAKFAST POPS, Food Network Kitchen,Raspberries, Watermelon, Coconut Milk, Honey, Lime, Frozen Pop Molds,FNK WATERMELON-­RASPBERRY BREAKFAST POPS, Food Network Kitchen, Raspberries, Watermelon, Coconut Milk, Honey, Lime, Frozen Pop Molds,FNK WATERMELON-­RASPBERRY BREAKFAST POPS, Food Network Kitchen,Raspberries, Watermelon, Coconut Milk, Honey, Lime, Frozen Pop Molds

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Don’t Forget Your Freezer

Instead of enjoying your standard drinkable smoothie for breakfast, why not try a frozen one? Prep the pops Sunday night and you’ve got breakfast all week long. Not only will your morning be five minutes faster, but you’ll also beat the heat at the very start of your day. Try these dairy-free Watermelon-Raspberry Breakfast Pops.

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