Light and Healthier, Menu Planning, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

20 No Cook Dinner Ideas – Beat the Heat!

It’s June.  It’s Hot.  Our A/C is not working and the repair guys wont be here for another 3 days.  I am not getting anywhere near the oven, stove, microwave or any other form of heat until it’s fixed.

I know I’m not the only one suffering from lack of cool air, albeit temporarily.  This made me think of some ideas for no-cook dinners for days when even plugging in the toaster is too much.  If you have anything to add, I’d love to hear your no-cook ideas!

  1. Turkey Sandwich with Potato Chips.  Okay – this is a no brainer, but I think we forget this can be dinner, too.  There’s no reason this has to be that complicated.  Make a sandwich, add some chips, carrot sticks or a salad and voila – yum.  The key to making this dinner-like is the toppings – dont just slap some meat and cheese on a piece of bread, get creative.  Thin sliced cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, shredded carrots, jarred or deli red peppers and/or pepperoncini.  Make it awesome!
  2. Wrap it up!  Make a salad, add some diced ham or turkey and wrap it up in a tomato basil or spinach wrap.  Serve with chips or store-bought potato salad.  I have a weakness for the redskin potato salad from City Market (Kroger.)  You can also make yummy Cucumbers with Lemony Dressing to go with it.

  1. Grab some frozen, pre-cooked shrimp, baby spinach, romaine, shredded carrots and frozen edamame.  Thaw the shrimp and the edamame in the fridge.  Top with your favorite thai or lemon vinaigrette.
  2. While you’re at the store, grab a cold rotisserie chicken.  Top romaine, grape tomatoes, parmesan and your favorite caesar dressing with chunks of cold chicken breast.
  3. Chicken salad sandwiches can be made with leftover rotisserie chicken, or with canned chicken breast.  I make a Spicy Chicken Salad with siracha sauce in it!  Serve on your favorite bread, a bagel, or in lettuce cups or a wrap.
  4. Don’t knock good ole PB&J – I love Justin’s Peanut Butter with Honey on whole grain bread.  So. Good.
  5. Spring Rolls using rice paper are no cook, and you can put just about anything in them.  I like to use the frozen small salad shrimp or pre-cooked larger shrimp that I butterfly.  This recipe from The Minimalist Baker is a great jumping off point.
  6. Use any shrimp you have left from the spring rolls and make Ina Garten’s Shrimp Salad.  This stuff is seriously tasty and perfect with a salad on the side or just a piece of fresh french bread.
  7. You can use bean thread or rice noodles in lots of salad recipes, and while most direction say pour boiling water over them, I have used our extremely hot tap water to reconstitute them without any issue.  I drink tea like an Englishman so I could also use my electric teapot and not break my “no cooking” rule.  (I should probably have hubby turn that hot water heater down.)  Use your frozen shrimp to put together a version of this Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp from The Food Network Kitchens.
  8. Zoodles are a no-cook cook’s best friend.  I hate them cooked – they turn to mush…but I like to make salads with them.  My Zoodle Caprese Salad is a favorite.  You can also go southwestern with a bit of taco seasoning, black beans, frozen corn, red onion, tomato, avocado, some olive oil and some salt & pepper.  I just made that up, but expect a recipe soon.  Yum.
  9. Let go of the traditional Entree, Side Dish, Veg format for dinner and set out a great antipasto platter with some cold, crisp white wine.  Great for entertaining and the best part is, you don’t have to heat up the kitchen before your guests show up.
  10. This Raw Pad Thai looks like something I’d love and my hubby would hate.  I’m saving this for the next time they’re away for the weekend!  Score!
  11. Like Salmon? Pick up some Lox at the deli, a fresh bagel from the bakery and bagel and schmear with some lox.  Fresh, light, filling, and tasty.
  12. If I’m in the mood to be a rebel, I’ll break out the toaster and the microwave – get some pre-cooked bacon at the market, and put some BLT’s together – because I love them, especially when the tomatoes are in great form.
  13. Use your deli.  If you’re like me and A/C-less – a few days of deli eating wont break the bank.  I got some nice roast beef and added ribbons to a chopped salad to up the protein factor a bit.  Generally I’m happy with red beans/kidney beans in my salad for protein, but the rest of the family thinks that’s just the first course.  “Where’s the meat?”
  14. This Roasted Red Pepper Involtini makes me so happy – I’m probably going to add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
  15. This No-Noodle Pad Thai is seriously interesting.  I got my kids to eat bean sprouts by telling them they were noodles years ago – so I think this would go over well here…not so sure about the tofu, but it’s worth a try.  Worst case scenario, they pick it out!
  16. Taco Salad – without the taco meat.  I drain & rinse a can of Kidney Beans and mix in about 1/4 packet of taco seasoning and 1 Tbsp. of water.  Build the traditional taco salad with onions, tomatoes, cheese, olives, and anything else you like.  Use the beans as the protein and top with a simple dressing of 50% salsa/50% sour cream.  Yum!
  17. These Spicy Tuna Spring Rolls are OH. EM. GEE.  IF you can get sashimi grade tuna, this are a must do.  I did not use Japanese mayo because I couldn’t get it where I live, and it was still pretty amazing.  I did add a tiny splash of rice vinegar because the flavor was a tad one-sided (ie SRIRACHA) and it helped.  I didnt add much veggie in because I love the spicy tuna sushi rolls – but I did leave out the seaweed because ICK!  Soy paper is the way to go.

    Spicy Tuna Spring Roll from No Spoon Necessary
  18. Bring it back unconventional again – and get out some different kinds of cheese and salami/sausage and make a cheese and meat board with some tasty  crackers.  If I’m not feeding people, this is generally my go-to dinner along with some sliced apples or pears and grapes.  Easy, no muss/no fuss, and tastes great.  I’m really into Manchego these days – as well as good sharp cheddar, preferably from England!

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