After receiving a frighteningly high electric bill last month, my husband and I decided to look for ways to use less. This summer, our A/C unit has been competing with record heat daily, month after month. We turn it up when we're gone, letting the temperature rise to about 83 degrees and slowly work it down to about 76 degrees at night. We noticed that our A/C works very, very hard when the stove or oven is on, filling the kitchen and living room with heat. So we stopped using it, and since then, we've found some new ways of thinking "What's for dinner?"...
Make a big batch of gazpacho is the blender or food processor and chill. It serves as a new way of getting your veggies, some precious liquids, and cooling down, all in one dish. Serve with sandwiches, usually stuffed with veggies. You can also make big salads with everything but the kitchen sink, which are really satisfying and filling. Sometimes we can't finish everything I've thrown in the large mixing bowl.
We've been using our indoor grill to cook anything that has to be cooked. It doesn't heat much more than an inch or two around it. We grill chicken, salmon, shrimp, asparagus, you name it. I even tried potatoes once, to mediocre results. Pressed sandwiches are always delicious and feel really decadent, like we're eating at a restaurant.
The only things I've baked recently have been pizza (which I make from entirely from scratch and refuse to order out or and we won't give up pizza) and blueberry muffins (because the most delicious berries were on sale last weekend and they made a great Sunday breakfast).
Here's an open-faced sandwich we had the other night, which earned rave reviews:
Whole Wheat bread (I used leftover hamburger buns)
Hummus (homemade spread recipe below)
Green Bell Pepper
Toast bread if desired. Spread with hummus. Add cheese and veggies. Eat open-faced.
Homemade Hummus Spread:
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tb lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 C olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Put it all in a blender or food processor.