7 Healthy Summer Kitchen Hacks

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

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

1: Make cold soups in your blender. Take a break from salad with chilled soup. Plus, if you use a high-speed blender, you can make one-pot, no-chop soups. Think about thinning out cold fruit (melon, stone fruits) with a bit of apple juice and lemon juice, or whip up gazpacho ingredients (tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, garlic) all in the blender.

2: 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 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.

3: Blend better frozen cappuccinos. Why splurge on an overpriced, overly sweetened coffee drink when you can make one that’s even better in your own kitchen? Use reduced-fat milk or almond milk, and mix in a few drops of vanilla extract or even cinnamon for great flavor without added sugar.

CLASSIC HUMMUS Katie Lee The Kitchen/The Kitchen Helpline Food Network Chickpeas, Lemon Juice, Tahini, Cumin, Garlic, Olive Oil, Smoked Paprika

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

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

CLASSIC HUMMUS Katie Lee The Kitchen/The Kitchen Helpline Food Network Chickpeas, Lemon Juice, Tahini, Cumin, Garlic, Olive Oil, Smoked Paprika

4: Power up your salads. Rather than binding tuna or egg salad with mayo, try hummus. You’ll add protein, fiber and flavor.

FN_FN Kitchens Slow Cooker Coconut Rice Pudding.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Slow Cooker Coconut Rice Pudding.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Slow Cooker Coconut Rice Pudding.tif

©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

FN_FN Kitchens Slow Cooker Coconut Rice Pudding.tif

5: Braise and bake in your slow cooker. Not turning on your stove on sweltering days doesn’t mean you can’t cook real meals. Use your slow cooker to turn out pork for tacos (don’t forget to add a crisp slaw) or even rice pudding.

6: Save time cooking pasta. You don’t need to wait for water to boil to make perfectly al dente pasta. Just cover pasta with cold water, bring to a boil and check for doneness. A no-boil pasta is be a big timesaver for pasta salads and quick pesto-topped pasta dishes.

7: Make easier iced coffee. Refrigerate your leftover French press for easy iced coffee later that day or week (be sure to brew it strong!). Or pour coffee into ice cube trays; you’ll be able to chill hot coffee fast without watering it down.

Want more kitchen tips?

15 Foods You Should Not Refrigerate

What to Do With Produce That’s About to Go Bad

12 Things You Didn't Know You Could Freeze

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

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