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Cook Less, Cook Quicker When It’s Hot

Smart food preparation helps you stay cool and save energy

Cooking and baking during this summer can heat up your house, compete with air conditioning and make everyone uncomfortable. So cooking less can save you energy and keep you cooler.

• Prepare your main course outside on the barbecue grill. Even if it’s hot outdoors, you won’t add heat to the inside of your home.

• When a cooler day or evening rolls in, take the opportunity to cook. Prepare two or three meals at once and freeze them, so all you’ll have to do is thaw and reheat them in the microwave the next time it’s too hot to cook.

• Enjoy cold meals and snacks that don’t need cooking, like vegetable salads; fruit, cheese and bread; hummus or guacamole with chips or celery; sandwiches; cold soups and smoothies.

• If you must cook, use the micro­wave oven or a covered pan on the stovetop. Either one pushes less heat into the kitchen than a hot oven.

• Choose foods that cook quickly, like fish and vegetables. Chopping veggies into small, evenly sized pieces speeds cooking time.

• Don’t use the microwave or oven to defrost frozen food. Instead, place the frozen item in the refrigerator and let it thaw out overnight before cooking it the next day.

• Preparing food in an electric skillet, wok or slow cooker adds less heat to the air than cooking on the stove.