Cool tips for stocking your kitchen with four healthy summer meals! 

By: Jodie Shield, RDN

Scorching heat. Sticky humidity. If you can’t stand the heat . . .  get out of the kitchen!  But your family is hungry, so what do you do? No sweat. These four “cook-less” meals can be ready in record setting time. The key to preparing “cool” summer meals is knowing how to stock your kitchen with the right ingredients.  Here are some staples to keep on hand for those hot summer nights, along with four of my favorite beat-the-heat recipes. And here’s the best part: only minimal cooking required.

In the refrigerator keep: asparagus, baby carrots, corn tortillas, eggs, feta cheese, fresh greens stored in a salad spinner, fresh mozzarella, green onions, grated cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt, low-fat milk,  mini sweet bell peppers, 100% fruit juice (grape, pineapple, orange), salsa, and condiments such as Dijon mustard, horseradish mustard,  reduced-sodium soy sauce, yellow mustard .

In the freezer keep: boneless chicken breasts and thighs (without skin), boneless pork loin chops, frozen shrimp, frozen vegetables, and leftovers (I prefer to call them planned overs!).

In the bread box or drawer: whole-grain breads and crackers, onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes,

In the pantry keep: Balsamic vinegar, brown rice, brown sugar, cans of water-packed tuna, couscous, peanut butter, olive oil, ready-to-eat marinara sauce, white whole-wheat flour, white wine vinegar,whole-grain pasta.

In your garden: basil, dill, rosemary, tomatoes and anything else you like to grow!

Here are four easy, breezy recipes you can toss together using the cook-less staples in your kitchen. The recipes are also on my iTunes app Time To Eat Healthy: Homemade Meals In Minutes.

Fresh Veggie Frittata

spring vegetable frittata

Pineapple Chicken Kebobs

Delicious chicken satay on skewers

Italian Grilled Cheese

Tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella grilled panini sandwich.

3-Mustard Pork Chops

crop pork loin chop iStock_000014324120_XXXLarge

The next time the weather forecast predicts record highs, there’s no need to sweat.  With the right ingredients on hand, a healthy and easy dinner can be on your table in minutes.

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N. Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

(3) Readers Comments

  1. Pingback: Tip of the Week | Nutrition Matters

  2. I love the cover photo.

  3. Jodie

    Thanks Cindy! Hope you enjoyed the tips, too!

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