How to Keep Your Kitchen Cool

By: Sarah De Heer
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In the hot summer months, it's hard to spend time in the kitchen over a hot stove. Every Wednesday on Food Network's Facebook page, we host "Ask the Editor," where readers can ask a question on a specific topic. Last week, we received numerous inquiries on how to keep kitchens cool in the summer heat.

So how can you put dinner on the table without driving you and your family into a heat coma?

Top 5 Tips With Recipes

1. Take It Outside: If you have a grill, use it! You can make dinner -- from start to finish on the grill -- leaving your house cool and your stove clean.

2. Use Your Slow Cooker: Set it and forget it -- it couldn't be more simple. While we don't suggest cooking heavy dinners like you would in the winter, there are lighter, more refreshing ways to use this kitchen gadget.

3. Cook Early in the Day: Experts always warn athletes to run early in the morning when the day is at its coolest; the same can work for home cooks. If you're up early or it's the weekend, take advantage of the cooler temperatures by starting dinner. When meal-time comes around, reheat or let your food come to room temperature.

4. Take Advantage of Leftovers: If you know a heat wave is about to come through your area, cook up several nights' worth of meals like Rachael Ray does on her show Week in a Day.

For example, a London broil can be reinvented over several meals. On the first night, rub it with a spice mix, pop it in the broiler or on the grill and delight in slices of juicy steak.

The next day, layer some slices on a ciabatta roll, add blue cheese and sliced tomato and enjoy a hearty, big-flavor dinner that would cost a fortune at a restaurant. The next night, sauté the last of the steak with sliced onions, peppers and Mexican seasonings and serve on warm tortillas for fajitas.

5. Salads Are a Cool Side: Combining tips from using your grill and cooking earlier in the day, skip baked potatoes and steaming pots of pasta and serve refreshing salads of greens and vegetables with your grilled dishes or make it a main event with this Crab and Avocado Salad.

Photo: Thinkstock
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