Keep your shopping trip short and your kitchen cool with these convenience buys.
Even for those of us who enjoy grocery shopping, most people want to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible—especially during the summer months when there’s good times and sunshine to be had outdoors. Similarly, you’re probably not trying to spend too much time sweating over a laborious meal in a sweltering kitchen this time of year. Thankfully, a handful of savvy convenience picks from the supermarket can make for a quick shopping trip, as well as speedy/low-effort meal prep that keeps you from ever having to turn on the oven. Keep your cool this summer by leaning on the following no-oven-necessary shortcuts.
The classic rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocery store’s deli has always been a solid weeknight solution to putting dinner on the table in a jiffy. Apply that mentality to your summer activities, like vacation prep and weekend cookouts, and you’re set. The easy pull-apart protein can be transformed into so many meals that are adaptable to virtually any occasion. Pro-tip: Use an electric mixer to easily shred your chicken within seconds and avoid messy hands. You can toss the shredded meat with your favorite barbecue sauce for banging BBQ chicken sandwiches or use it for picnic-perfect chicken salad. The sky is truly the limit once you have a rotisserie chicken or two in your cart; and most importantly, you won’t have to use the oven.
Look, we’re all about going homemade at MyRecipes—when homemade makes sense. And when it’s 90+ degrees outside, you might not be in the mood to have your oven cranking at 350 degrees for an hour, even if you do need to make a birthday cake for your kid’s party or the centerpiece dessert for a July 4th cookout. Seriously, grocery store sheet cakes garner followings for a reason; heck, one of our writer’s loves them so much, she’s using them for her wedding. Instead of making a celebratory cake from scratch, save yourself time and a possible heat stroke by ordering a sheet cake from your local grocery store’s bakery. Sheet cakes are affordable and offer you the option to customize frosting colors and decorations. They also tend to hold up relatively well in warm temperatures; however, you should still refrigerate your cake up until the time it will be served if possible.
Freshly Baked Bread
Because there aren’t too many people who have a sourdough starter hanging out in the back of their refrigerators, a freshly made loaf is another gem to be harvested from your local grocery store bakery. Plus, a fresh loaf of bread is a great aid to your oven-avoidance journey. If you are hosting a dinner party or attending a casual summer get-together with a few friends, grab a fresh baguette to make crostini, topped with the season’s best vegetables and fruits. Fresh bread is also good for simply dipping into quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Use any stale leftover bread to make a panzanella salad, homemade bread crumbs, or croutons (toasted on the stovetop).
Pre-made Cookie Crumb Pie Shells
Pre-made pie shells make icebox pie recipes even easier to prepare without the help of an oven to set the crust. No-bake desserts are the best recipes to make when you are short on time, as all you need to do is assemble the ingredients and pop the treat into the refrigerator or freezer to chill. No sweat.
Frozen and Pre-Cut Vegetables
Don’t waste time and energy (think of your electricity bill) roasting vegetables in the oven right now. When you’re not throwing fresh veggies on the grill, opt for frozen veggies that have steam-safe bags where you can warm them as-is in the microwave for a quick vegetable side. Pre-cut vegetables in the produce section of the store are perfect for sautéing on the stovetop with a splash of olive oil, a fresh herb or two, and S&P. They cook quickly and couldn’t be easier to prep. Plus, you can achieve that same great caramelized flavor action that you get by roasting by cooking your veggies with a smoking hot cast-iron skillet.
Stop by the seafood counter and check out what pre-seasoned or otherwise partially prepped items that look good. Most likely, the fishmonger has a few salmon burgers ready for you to take home and toss into a skillet for a quick sear or place on the grill. Keep an eye out for other easy options that might be on sale, such as already steamed shrimp, crab cakes, glazed salmon fillets, pre-coated coconut shrimp, and more. Even if you don’t go pre-prepped, your seafood counter is a treasure trove for easy, fast-cooking proteins that are ideal for stovetop cooking or grilling. Consider seared scallops, steamed mussels or clams, grilled oysters, grilled shrimp, or simple seared or grilled tuna steaks.