I love to cook. I even love to cook in the summer, mostly because vegetables actually have flavor (and you can buy them local/organic/all that jazz for a reasonable price). Even after a hard day, I still like doing it, because it zens me out.
But not so much in the summer. And way less much when it’s a heat wave, like the one the northeast had last week, when it was essentially 100 degrees for one week straight.
My dog was not pleased.
However, there are some easy ways to power through. The first is to actually not cook at all (and no, I don’t mean use Seamless – though if you use this link to try it, you’ll get $7).
Behold, the easiest dinner ever. Just buy a pint of cherry tomatoes (I got mine at the Union Square greenmarket) and a container of burrata (you should be able to find this at most nicer supermarkets – I’ve seen it at Trader Joe’s and Fairway). Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs, make some toast if you need carbs, and you’re all set.
Option two is grilling meat, because AMERICA. And also because it’s fast and easy. I really like making my own turkey burgers; they’re light, they take less than 15 minutes to both make and cook, they go well with so many toppings and sides, and the extra ones freeze quite well. If you own a grill, you also won’t heat up your home at all making them. If you live in a tiny apartment like me, you’ll get a little toasty, but you won’t have to keep your grill pan heated for too long.
Easy Turkey Burgers with Sauteed Summer Squash
1 package ground turkey breast (most are a bit over a pound)
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp increments of whichever dried herbs you like (I use basil, oregano, and then a pinch of thyme)
2 large summer squashes (I used one yellow and one zucchini), diced
1 large glove garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
(gluten free) hamburger buns
Take ground turkey out of the fridge and let it hang out at room temperature while you dice your squash. Heat enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Let cook 2 minutes, then add garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squashes begin to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
While squash is cooking, mix ground turkey with remaining salt, pepper, cayenne, and dried herbs in a large bowl with your hands. Try to mix as little as possible, but make sure seasonings are well dispersed. Pull off slightly-larger-than-golf-ball sized pieces, roll into balls, then flatten into patties about 1/2 an inch thick. Make an indentation in the center of each with your thumb and set aside (this keeps them from shrinking/getting fat). You should have 5 patties. (If you’re not making all of them, wrap each extra patty in a piece of parchment paper, then place all wrapped patties in a freezer bag, and, well, freeze them.)
Wipe out skillet so there’s just a thin coating of oil left. Heat over medium-high heat for a few minutes to get it hot again, then add turkey patties. Cook until browned on the bottom and the edges of the top that you can see are turning white, then flip and cook until cooked through, about 7 to 9 minutes total. If you want a cheeseburger, add cheese during the last minute of cooking. Put on toasted (gluten free) buns, top with any toppings you like, and serve with veggies on the side.