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Cool recipes and cooler kitchens for summer

Image of a healthy poke bowl
Poke bowls and salads are great options for eating well on hot days without heating up the kitchen. When you need to cook, try using Instant Pots and other smaller appliances to avoid the use of the oven or cooktop, which create heat in your home.

All the flavour with less electricity use

Now that summer is here, we're also facing the challenge of keeping our homes cool. From breakfast to dessert and everything in between, we've rounded up recipes for your blender, toaster oven, slow cooker, air fryer and Instant Pot so you can say goodbye to turning on the stove in the summer. These countertop heroes will save you energy, not to mention time, while serving up delicious eats again and again.

Small appliances, like a toaster oven, can use up to 75% less energy than making the same recipe in your oven or on your stovetop. You can also save with options like pressure cookers that cook things much more quickly.

Instant Pot gems

If you own an Instant Pot, you'll be well aware of how fast and convenient it is. It's also the perfect device for cooking without cooking the temperature in your home. It's a one-pot solution that's an easy cleanup, cooks rice perfectly, and can turn meat into miraculous.

One of the favourite recipes among Instant Pot enthusiasts is orange chicken. Other can't-miss Instant Pot recipes include pulled pork, potato corn chowder, Korean beef, mushroom risotto, and New York cheesecake, and there are thousands of other great recipes online.

Blender pesto and other small appliance recipes

Popular at is a recent roundup of small appliance recipes featuring blenders, toaster ovens, Instant Pots and slow cookers. It includes the following recipes:

Sushi and salad bowls

The revised Canada Food guide showcases a sample plate half covered by fruit and vegetables. It's not just healthier to move more towards produce, but in the heat of the summer, it's going to keep your kitchen cooler.

Sushi bowls are all the rage, and this dynamite plant power sushi bowl recipe subs in tofu for fish for a vegetarian wonder in which avocado, carrots and cucumbers share the spotlight. Get your hands on some sushi-grade ahi tuna to make this tuna poke bowl, or head in a different direction with falafel in this Mediterranean-inspired bowl.

A winner at home and at potluck parties – can't wait to do that again! – is a warm kale salad courtesy of Earls Restaurant chef Ryan Stone. The magic here is in the dressing and the inclusion of brussels sprouts and potatoes, which make it filling enough to function as a one-dish meal.

And if you love Greek salad but want something new, try this Greek chicken chopped salad, which ups the ante with marinated lemon chicken and a lemon tahini vinaigrette.

Toaster oven

Almost any of your favourite recipes that can be made in a conventional oven are easily converted to a toaster oven, but you can also benefit by making smaller portions more quickly and with less energy by using one.

Toaster oven recipes

Air fryer

Air fryers are becoming very popular because they're much healthier than regular frying – and more efficient. Air fryers use hot air which cooks your food faster and uses less energy. And because they don't use oil, your fried food contains a lot less calories.

Air fryer recipes

  • These crispy potatoes with fluffy insides can be ready in less time than it takes to preheat your oven.
  • Juicy fried chicken doesn't have to be such a guilty pleasure anymore.
  • While we're on the subject of chicken, you have to try these Thai curry wings.
  • And what about veggies? Air fried brussels sprouts will have your whole family asking for more.
  • Don't forget the appies! Warm things up with some delicious wasabi crab cakes.

Whatever your appliance preference, there are endless recipe options for you. Keep your stomach full, your energy use low, and your family happy with all the tasty treats your small appliances can provide.