Honestly, in the summer, I might as well not even have a stove, because I hate kitchen heat so much. It’s quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever experienced in my adult life.
Alas, I do still have a stove, and I live in New York City, so eating ceviche every day to stay cool is not an option.
There’s nothing worse for me than coming home to my hot apartment from a class or a workout, already drenched in sweat, and having to then fire up the burners for an elaborate meal. I pretty much turn into The Grinch. So, mostly out of necessity to avoid starvation (and to not accidentally yell at my loved ones out of heat exhaustion and hunger), I’ve learned what I have the patience and wherewithal to cook during the scorching summer months, when all I want to do is take ice baths and watch the backed-up episodes of So You Think You Can Dance on my DVR.
So, I bestow upon you, my holy grail of quick dinners, perfect for when I’m too hot to eat, too hungry to sleep, not in the mood for eggs and potatoes, and too restless to do anything.*
*Note: this meal contains seafood, but you can easily make it without!
So here’s the thing; for me, it’s all about picking the lesser of all of the evils. And even though doing things on the stovetop is faster, the oven means I have less actual work to do. So, to begin, I take some salmon (or whatever fish I have on hand), season it how I want to, and toss it onto a sheet pan covered in foil and olive oil. I do the same thing to some asparagus and put it on the same pan, because ain’t nobody got time to check multiple pans, and veggies and fish take about the same time to cook. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll roast some tomatoes as well, but usually, I’m not.
Then, while that’s going, I toss some penne (or any other short pasta) into some boiling, salted water for 11 minutes. Pro tip: invest in a pan insert that measures out a portion size, and lets you drain the pasta by lifting the contraption out of the pan (IE, you don’t have to dump everything into a colander and give yourself a facial). Once it’s done, toss it with some (store bought) pesto, mozzarella, parm, and pepper flakes. Take the salmon and the asparagus out of the oven and plate it up. Voila! You’re all done, and it only took about 25 minutes to get everything together.
My favorite part about this meal is that it’s really easy to eat the pasta cold as a pasta salad; just toss in some other raw veggies, and there you go. Tomorrow’s low-maintenance lunch.
Now, give this meal a try the next time you’re crying about having to do anything in this ungodly heat. Then, after you enjoy every bite, please retreat to your nearest air-conditioned space. I will do the same.
Tell us in the comments: What are some of your favorite quick and easy meals?