No-Cook Tips for the Kitchen

Don't get all hot and bothered. Contributing editor Marian Cooper Cairns rolls out her fuss-free blueprint for how to keep your kitchen cool all summer long.
Story by Marian Cooper Cairns

Sweltering temps drive even the most experienced cooks out of the kitchen. The solution? Outsmart the thermometer by marrying peak summer produce with savvy supermarket shopping. The best no-cook dishes begin with ultra-fresh vegetables and layer in convenience ingredients like rotisserie chicken. Season with bright flavors like lemon juice or herbs. Then add crunch with nuts, seeds, radishes, or cukes.

1. Purchase Proteins
Let the grocery store and barbecue joint do the roasting, smoking, or boiling. Pick up ready-to-serve ribs, pulled pork, rotisserie chicken, steamed shrimp, deli meats, or canned beans to give your meal more no-cook mileage.

2. Use Your Chef's Knife
Now's the time to sharpen your knife know-how. Use it to cleverly cut fruit and veggies into new shapes, such as thick watermelon steaks or long, thin strands of zucchini or cucumber noodles—a healthy, no-cook pasta alternative.

3. Tap Into Hot Water
No need to boil! Straight from the tap, hot water will transform dried rice noodles and tiny grains like bulgur and couscous into hearty meals in minutes. If your tap water isn't steamy enough, use your microwave.

4. Freeze the Ice-Cream Maker
Always store the insert to your ice-cream machine in the freezer to get a head start, and chill your ice-cream mixture in the fridge before freezing so that it will freeze faster and take on a creamier texture.