Since my last appearance on the Tribune Chronicle's food page, not much has changed in regard to my thoughts on summertime cooking: I'm still not a fan of it.
But there are ways to make cooking happen so you don't feel like you're cooking at all.
I don't have time to daily make meals, so Sunday becomes "prep for the week" day. What I do is make a lot of little stuff that's easy to throw into my "Jem and the Holograms" lunch box (yes, I still have one) for dinners and lunches during the week. And I can make them all at the same time so I'm multi-tasking my cooking.
One of the easiest and best pre-done dinners to have is one of my favorites - meatloaf. I make mine with ground turkey so it's healthy. It only takes an hour and 15 minutes to prep and cook, and you can throw it in the freezer for an easy dinner whenever you'd like it.
And, because an hour of that is the time it's in the oven, I use that time to whip up a lunchtime favorite of mine - chicken salad for sandwiches.
Especially in the summer, chicken salad sandwiches are refreshing, and if made the way I do, it's not killing you on your daily calorie or fat intake. And you can make as much or as little as you need. So single Dana can only make a couple of servings for the week, or a family of four can make a little more. The recipe that I have listed is recommended as serving four, so add or reduce from there for your needs.
While that's some dinner and lunches prepared, I'm a fan of snacking. While watching TV, at my desk at work, or trying to fill in the time between lunch and dinner, I love to snack. And one of my all-time favorites is buffalo chicken dip.
So while your oven is on and maybe before you dive into whipping up your yummy chicken salad, grab your slow cooker to whip up a clutch (and filling) snack.
Again, I use mostly fat-free or low calorie ingredients, but if you are a fan of full-flavor, then go that route as well. The dip is great fresh and warm straight from the slow cooker, but it's not bad if put in a container and portioned out for snacks throughout the week. The recipe takes a little more than an hour to melt together if on high, and the amount of hot sauce added is all up to you.
So there it is, a lunch, dinner and snack that total takes an hour and a half to make all three. Now if that isn't multi-task cooking, I don't know what is.