Deciding what to make for dinner every night is exhausting. On top of that, it’s warm outside and too hot to cook. Read below to see what happened when I tried out some no-cook dinner recipes to see if I could avoid the heat and still satisfy the hungry locusts. The children and my husband are not really locusts, but they are perpetually hungry.
Between school, work, wife-ing, and mom-ing, turning on the stove/oven/grill to cook is not something I want to do. My husband cooks, but he’s working all day too. The kids also help, but one of them has a job five nights a week, and the other one is 12, so his cooking repertoire is pretty limited. Also, there’s only so much takeout and delivery we can handle before our clothes start to shrink.
No-Cook Dinner 1: Charcuterie Board
You can get creative with a meat and cheese board. Some grocery stores carry pre-packaged charcuterie deli meats, and most have a variety of cheeses to choose from.
- Three kinds of cheese (Fontina, New Zealand Sharp Cheddar, and Gouda)
- Three types of meat (Capicola, Salami, Prosciutto)
- Marcona Almonds
- Fig Preserves
- Mixed Olives
- Mini Brioche Toasts
- Multigrain Crackers
12-year-old loved it. 17-year-old and husband asked, “What else is for dinner?” So while I was happy not to have to “cook” anything, they ended up being hungry shortly after and considered it more of a snack.
No-Cook Dinner 2: BBQ Chicken Wraps
I bought a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. I didn’t personally cook it, though, so I think it counts.
- Shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 tbsp mayo
- 3 tbsp BBQ sauce
- Pre-Sliced Pepperjack cheese
- Red onion, thinly sliced
- Pita bread
I mixed the chicken with a little bit of mayo and BBQ sauce, then built the wraps and topped with additional BBQ sauce.
Everyone filled up and loved them! This recipe can be made with any combination of flavors too. Instead of BBQ sauce, you can mix in caesar dressing or ranch dressing, maybe buffalo sauce. Instead of a wrap, you can cut the pitas in half and fill them for a smaller bread serving.
No-Cook Dinner 3: White Bean Caprese Salad
- Can of white beans (drained and rinsed)
- Cherry tomatoes halved
- Baby arugula
- Baby spinach
- English cucumber diced
- Fresh mozzarella (I used the little balls and cut them in half)
- Fresh basil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic glaze
- Salt and Pepper
Toss all the ingredients together and dress with olive oil, balsamic glaze, salt, and pepper to taste.
They loved it, but the 12-year-old made a bowl of cereal about an hour after dinner. Caprese salad is a favorite of my family’s, but they aren’t used to the mixture with beans.
I’m glad I tried this no-cook experiment. It gave me a break from cooking with heat and broadened our dinner options. I’m working those wraps into the rotation and playing with some different flavors. The salad is a hard sell, but I will make it for meal-prepped lunches once I go back to the office full-time. While fun to be creative with, the charcuterie board will probably only be for dinner parties and holidays. And hey, I’m not above letting the kids make some sandwiches or bowls of cereal for dinner when I don’t want to cook. We all need a break sometimes. What are some of your favorite no-cook meal ideas?
Originally published August 2020.
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