Too Hot To Cook?

It's July in Texas which means it's too hot to cook. It's bad enough to be in front of the stove canning, so I really don't want to cook on top of that.

Many times, we prefer to have a slightly bigger lunch and skip the big meal in the evening.

Other times, we have to eat something if we missed lunch because we were busy working outside. So what are two hot Texans to do?

I have an arsenal of meal ideas when it's too hot to cook. Here are our favorites.


Boring, right? Not always. Some of our favorite hot weather sandwiches are:

  • Chicken salad

  • Pastrami, Ham, or Roast Beef

  • Grilled cheese

  • Tuna fish salad

  • Avocado sandwich
The trick to turn a blah sandwich to an ahh sandwich are the extras. Go for the good bread. Greg loves rye. I love croissants. Splurge on the good cheese. Unless you like plain old American cheese, try edam, Swiss, or provolone.

Go the extra mile with fresh lettuce, sweet onions, and crisp pickles. Greg also likes to add hearty potato chips.


Greg gives me the evil eye when I mention salad. For his benefit, I try to add some chopped ham, or steak slices if he forces me to stay in front of the stove. For me, I'm happy with very simple fare. It's not just lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers either. Try:

  • Pasta salad. These are so incredibly easy. The only thing is that you have to boil the pasta ahead of time so you can chill it. Add cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, green onions, feta cheese, and chopped parsley, then toss with your favorite vinaigrette dressing.

  • Quinoa Tabbouleh. You can use other grains, like bulgur or couscous, but I'm partial to quinoa. It comes together much like the pasta salad above, but instead of vinaigrette dressing, you use 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and a 1/4 cup olive oil mixed with 4 cloves of minced garlic. That's it! The lemony dressing is so refreshing on a hot day.

  • Cold Nacho Plate: A little more labor intensive, but cool and refreshing. Here's my recipe.


Mexican meals can be super quick. Think tacos, quesadillas, or tostadas

  • Tacos. When I'm in a rush and don't want to stand in front of the stove. I take out a little hamburger, crumble and brown it with taco seasoning, then put it in a bowl. On another plate, I have heaping portions of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and pickled (or roasted) jalapenos, along with slices of lime. The last covered dish is a stack of lightly fried corn tortillas. Anyone who's been to my house knows to make their own. All the accoutrements are there.

  • Quesadillas. Super simple. Take large flour tortillas, warm on one side, flip them, then add a big helping of good quality cheese. We like edam, but shredded cheddar is good too. If you're a little hungrier than that, fry a few strips of steak, onions and peppers and stuff your quesadilla.

  • Tostadas. Greg doesn't like these as much as I do unless I do them in beef. I prefer refried beans. Put canned refried beans in a microwavable bowl, heat until hot. Spread on a crisp corn tortilla, and top with shredded cheese.

The Grill

My favorite because Greg does the cooking here. If you know it's going to be a hot and busy week, use the weekend to grill up a big array of food. Chicken, ribs, sausages, brisket, whatever your favorite. After you've chowed down for the day, finish the rest during the week. Only one day of cooking and that's outside. Don't forget the beer or sangria. :)

What do you like to eat when it's too hot to cook?


I find myself getting into food/meal ruts lately so I especially like the tips/reminders about the salads and the sandwiches. Thanks! :)
Author R. Mac Wheeler said…
I say, when it's too hot to cook...time to head for Beef O'Bradys
Joy said…
I recently was watching on You Tube meals from the depression. Hard times meals and street food globally. I like corn meal and made this suggested one and I will again. Simply corn meal and water, mix to moisten and fry a patty on both sides. Loved it to load salad on or as a chip. Simple.
Lisa Lombardo said…
I love salads on hot days. We like to make them taco salads with canned black beans, shredded cheese, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and some salsa and tortilla chips. But no one here gets upset about a lack of meat, lol :)
marlenedotterer said…
Leftovers! I always make extra when I cook and freeze meals for future use. The microwave doesn't heat up the kitchen at all. I also always have a big salad available to round out any meal.
Maria Zannini said…
Madeline: I try to keep a list of easy meals for days when I just can't or don't want to cook.
Maria Zannini said…
Mac: That's a little too far for us, but if we're ever in that part of Texas we'll check it out.
Maria Zannini said…
Stacy: Two for O'Brady's!
Maria Zannini said…
Joy: I love to read and watch documentaries about how people lived in the Depression.

re: cornmeal
That's basically all corn tortillas are. People have been making fry breads for over a thousand years, and probably longer. And it's good too!
Maria Zannini said…
Lisa: Greg is a meatasaur. He's a great deal of work. :D
Maria Zannini said…
Marlene: Absolutely! I always try to make double of whatever I make. Even if I have to freeze it and eat it later.
LD Masterson said…
Taco salad is always popular here, but one of my favorites is a hand-me-down from Mom. Ultra simple... a mound of tuna salad and a mound of salmon salad (made with canned salmon) on a bed of crisp lettuce leaves, surrounded my hard boiled egg wedges, cherry tomatoes, and any other crisp veggies you like. Crunchy bread or crackers alongside. Somehow having both tuna and salmon makes it feel more like dinner.
Maria Zannini said…
Linda: Thank you for reminding me about salmon. I always forget about that and I always have a can of salmon on standby. And you are absolutely right. I remember having a similar meal when I was a kid.
Sandwiches are a definite go-to when it gets hot. But that's also when I find a fresh fruit salad is delectable, especially when some of the fruit has had a chance to chill in the fridge overnight.
Maria Zannini said…
Angela: You know, I should eat more fruit salads. I like them, but I never think of them. Good idea!
Michael Keyton said…
Salad sandwiches, or just plain tomato sandwiches with salt and extra virgin olive oil. / Bananas and grapes in Greek yoghurt. Weetabix in cold milk.
Maria Zannini said…
Mike: Since tomatoes are so plentiful from the garden right now, I've been serving various types of tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and salt. Greg eats them like candy.