Sandwiches and cold cereal might be fine and well for breakfast and lunch, but many of us prefer a hot meal for dinner. Or at least a meal that has been cooked over a heat source at some point! Cooking outside doesn’t have to be an activity reserved for camping trips, especially when you have a fully stocked kitchen just inside the door.
Maybe you’re trying to keep your cooling bill down during the summer, or perhaps you don’t have AC to begin with, but setting up an outdoor cooking station might be worth the effort.
It goes without saying that summer is BBQ season, but there are so many grilling options besides beef and chicken. Just about any vegetable, rubbed with olive oil and seasoned to taste, will taste delicious when cooked on the grill. If you’re just starting out, try out a bell pepper, zucchini and portabello mushroom to gain a little practice.
If you’re hoping for a medley of vegetables but don’t have time to skewer up a bunch of kabobs, try out a Grill Pan. It will keep the veggies from falling through the grate and make it easy to stir them regularly for even cooking.
Nothing heats up a house quicker than a hot oven, so why not try experimenting with a solar oven? Inexpensive versions, such as the Portable Fold-Flat Solar Oven, are easy to store and set up. You can even keep it in your car for emergencies when not in use.
For a little more money, you can invest in a sturdier design like the All Season Solar Cooker and Trivet. It comes with a custom trivet, sun sight, hardware and adjusting clip, ad the panels make it easier to capture the sun’s rays from dawn until dusk.
Keep in mind that these are slow cookers, but they require no electricity!
If you’re not ready to try your luck with a Solar Oven, why not break out your crock pot instead? A pulled pork sandwich or taco makes a great summer meal, and you can place the crock pot outside, or turn it on overnight when it’s cooler. I put mine in the garage so it doesn’t heat up the house even a little bit.
You can also toss in a whole chicken rubbed with your favorite spices, set the timer and have it ready in time for dinner.
I’ve been wanting an induction range ever since I learned how great they are. They are easy to clean, are as responsive as gas ranges, and put off much less excess heat than other options. Since it’s not quite time for that kitchen remodel I’ve already started planning, I decided to try out a single portable induction cooktop. Now I’m hooked! It really does heat up the house less, especially since our range is electric.
Now that the summer is truly here, I’ve been taking the cooktop outside to fry up fish, or braise vegetables. It’s a nice change from the BBQ, especially if you’re not looking to eat yet another grilled main course! Of course, you must have an electrical outlet handy, unlike for a grill or solar oven.
Do you do more outdoor cooking during the summer months? What equipment do you use, and what are your go-to recipes?