Thursday, July 5, 2007

Cooking? - Beat the Heat and Keep Energy Use Down!

Don’t you love heating up the kitchen in July? Probably not! We have a couple of suggestions for keeping the cooking heat down so your air conditioner doesn’t have to work overtime.

Microwave – Microwaves use less energy than your oven, less time to prepare the meals and release less heat into the kitchen.

Grill – Summer means outdoors and what a better way to fix a meal than on a grill! Just about anything can be cooked on a grill.

Crock Pot
– Though most of us think winter meals such as stew or soups for a crock pot, lots more can be cooked in this handy appliance.

No-cook Meals – With summertime comes fresh vegetables. Instead of preparing cooked meals, prepare a salad with your favorite vegetables, add a piece of bread, crackers or roll along with your favorite beverage and voila! - a perfect meal.

Farmers markets have a great assortment of vegetables this time of year. So visit your favorite market and check out all of the fruits and vegetables. If you are unfamiliar with a fruit or vegetable, just ask. Most of the vendors will be able to give you all kinds of hints on how to prepare & enjoy the foods they are selling.

Be sure to take along your reusable shopping bag!

Here is a great salad recipe we enjoy –

Tomato cups

5 or 6 medium tomatoes
1 sweet onion
½ cucumber
2 celery stalks
½ cup fresh parsley
1 clove garlic
½ cup pecans or sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt to taste

Cut tops off of tomatoes.
Chop up cucumber, celery, onions, parsley and garlic. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except tomatoes.
Scoop out tomatoes and add pulp to the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well. Fill tomatoes with mixture.

This also makes a great appetizer. Just use cherry tomatoes instead!

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