My Secrets for Healthy Meals On HOT Summer Nights (RECIPE INSIDE)

It’s been hot here in Brooklyn lately – and I love it!  I am definitely a warm-weather gal.  The ONE downside is cooking in my kitchen because there is no air conditioning.  It can be ridiculous in there.  During this recent heat wave, I found myself using a piece of kitchen equipment that I normally only use during the cold weather months – my crockpot!

Welcome to a whole new world of summertime cooking!

Most people grill during the summer and I love BBQ with the best of them but not everyone can grill.  However,  most people have or can get, a crockpot!  I don’t use crockpots a lot but the more I think about the heat we’re sure to get over the next few months, the more I’m starting to like this idea. 🙂  The heat will no longer be an “excuse” to order out, skip a meal or make a bad choice out of frustration.

Here are 3 additional ideas for hot summer nights:

Make it a salad night.  Load up a nice bowl of mixed leafy greens, any assortment of veggies including steamed asparagus and  beans, nuts and seeds.  Top it off with a few slices of avocado or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor and a few squeezes of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of salt and touch of fresh ground black pepper.

food-salad-healthy-lunch

Have a smoothie!  Who says smoothies are only for breakfast, lunch or a post workout snack?  I’ve had hearty smoothies for dinner on a number of occasions.  Add in a few big handfuls of leafy greens, some nuts, seeds, 2 scoops of plant-based protein powder, non-dairy milk/coconut water/coconut milk or mix thereof, your favorite fruit, a touch of coconut oil or some creamy avocado; blend and voila, dinner is served!

Eat “zoodles!”  This has to be the easiest dinner ever.  I’m a fan of the spiralizer – that kitchen gizmo that makes “noodles” out of vegetables like zucchini, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, etc. My favorite combo when I want a light and quick meal is zucchini noodles (“noodles”) with a no-cook sauce like pesto, but with a twist.  Try out different pesto sauces (Pinterest is your friend for all recipes!)!  I had one with peas, basil and avocado – YUMMY!   Bonus points for adding on a few slices of grilled chicken or a few quickly sautéd wild-caught shrimp.  By the way, if you don’t have or want a spiralizer, you can create “ribbons” like in the picture below, with a potato peeler. #YES

zucchini ribbons

Okay, so here’s a yummy recipe I made just tonight for dinner.  2hrs cooking time in the crockpot and DONE!

Now, don’t be freaked out by the length of the list of ingredients, they are mostly spices and you likely have all of them and if not, they should be fairly easy to find at your local grocery store and always on online.   You can serve this dish with steamed brown rice or quinoa cooked with veggies, over a bed of lettuce or in a plantain wrap with a cilantro coleslaw on the side.  ENDLESS options!

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup salsa (your desired heat)
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 14 oz. green chilies
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder (or more if you like it spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • hot sauce, optional
  • flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Rub chicken breasts with oil and place in the bottom of your slow cooker, Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the hot sauce. Cook on high 2-4hrs or low 5-7hrs or until chicken is tender enough to shred and cooked through.
  2. Remove chicken to a dish and let rest for 5 minutes before shredding. Return chicken to slow cooker and cook for another 5-15 minutes to absorb some of the liquid/juices. Taste, adjust seasoning and add hot sauce if desired. Garnish with chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley.
  3. Serve over steamed brown rice or quinoa cooked with veggies or a bed of fresh leafy greens and a few slices of avocado.

 

Now you’re prepared with a few tricks up your sleeve when the temperature outside reaches 90 and it feels the same in your kitchen!  Enjoy!

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