Kitchen tips to avoid overcooking summer electricity bills

Peninsula Clean Energy wants to help you beat the heat and tame those summer electric bills with some energy-saving tips that also taste good. Read on for no-cook recipe ideas, ways to get the heat out of the kitchen, and other tricks.

A top-down view of a group of friends sitting together at a table outdoors, enjoying a meal with a variety of summer meals in front of them.

Great taste, less grilling

Start with Chef Jamie Oliver’s Watermelon Salad, a recipe we found on the Australian food and lifestyle website Delicious. The Aussies know a thing or two about surviving extreme heat. If they like the watermelon salad, we think you might like it too.

Bon Appétit magazine has a recipe for Red Snapper and Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado, courtesy of Commander’s Palace, a New Orleans landmark that has been serving guests for over 140 years. You toss the seafood in citrus and salt, prep the rest of the ingredients, and enjoy. Find many more no-cook recipes—White Bean Hummus with Tahini and Coriander, Cold Tofu Salad with Tomatoes and Peaches, and much more—at NY Times Cooking.

Try cooking two meals at once

On a sweltering day, heat tries to enter your home any way it can. Using your oven adds one more heat source, meaning your air conditioner has to work harder to cool the space down. Here’s an idea: cut your stove and oven usage by making two meals at once. Think you can make three meals? Go for it!

While we’re talking about energy efficient kitchens, we’ve got a few fridge and freezer hacks for you. On the fridge, try removing dust from the condenser coils. If the door doesn’t close properly, try replacing the flexible seal. These are small fixes that can save energy. In the freezer, try filling as much space as possible. Use anything, even ice. Less space means less room for hot air and less work for the freezer to stay cold.

Lastly, remember that electricity prices are highest from 4 to 9 p.m. on weekdays. Just one night off from cooking each week can add up to extra bill savings at the end of the month.

Turn down the heat in the kitchen

When you use the cooktop and oven, you send heat from the kitchen through whole house. Want to cut down on cook time AND keep the house cool? Some electric appliances conserve energy and generate less heat. Think of a panini press or a crockpot, a rice cooker or an air fryer. Skip the preheating and cool-down period. Use only the heat you need.

When blue skies beckon, take the cooking outside

No need to wait until the Fourth of July to roast some burgers and corn. If you’ve already tried some of the no-cook recipes we shared in an earlier email, treat yourself to a hot meal prepared outdoors. Your kitchen stove can have another night off while your home stays cooler on its own.

And if you enjoy running an outdoor kitchen, gear up with some clever culinary accessories like a solar oven that can reach 450°F using heat from the sun or a solar-powered electric cooler. You can also teach the kids to boil water using concentrated heat through a Fresnel lens. Just remember: safety first!

Lastly, while you’re outside, take a few minutes to clear any vegetation growing up around your air conditioning system. Vegetation can restrict air flow and reduce efficiency, kind of like when you let dust and debris clog an air filter.