If You Can't Stand the Heat: Get Out the Chicken

Nothing is worse than having to cook dinner on a hot summer day. When I come home from work with my clothes sticking to me, the last thing I want to do is heat up my apartment by using my oven and stove. These are typically the nights when I opt for ordering takeout, making a salad, or eating cereal and milk for dinner. Salads can get dull quickly and unfortunately I can eat an entire box of cereal in one sitting. If I’m ordering takeout, odds are it isn’t healthy.

The best option is to make a no-cook meal.

Growing up, I remember my parents having “special night” for dinner. This dinner consisted of a variety of sandwiches cut into fourths and stacked on a plate for us to grab with a side of cucumber spears and ranch. We loved special night as kids, and I’m going to be honest, I love it as an adult too. Looking back, I’m sure the reason for this meal was most likely that it didn’t heat up the kitchen in summer. I’ve kept this idea in the back of my head just in case I need something to make on a hot summer night.

I recently decided to compile a list of my favorite meals that are easy for me to throw together when it’s way too hot to use the stove. One of my favorite things that I highly recommend doing is setting up a slow cooker on Sunday night and throwing a couple seasoned chicken breasts in for 4-6 hours on high. Using your slow cooker will help you to keep your kitchen cool while making your meals easier to put together during the week.

What’s great about this is that you can do so many things with chicken! Once it’s cooked, I like to shred the chicken using two forks and let it cool. Then I put the shredded chicken in a container and keep it in the fridge to add to salads, tacos, pulled chicken sandwiches, pasta, or burrito bowls.

Below, you’ll find out some healthy recipes for your batch of shredded chicken that involve minimal to no cooking.

Tropical Chicken Salad

Tropical Chicken Salad


Shredded Chicken Meals

Tropical Chicken Salad (Serves 2)


6 oz. shredded chicken
1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1 jalapeno
1 tbsp unsweetened coconut, toasted
1 tbsp red onions, diced
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 red bell pepper
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 mango, diced small
Trader Joe’s Cilantro Lime Seasoning to taste

2 cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
Lettuce leaves


1. Mix all of the ingredients EXCEPT the cucumbers together in a bowl and divide into two servings... And that’s it.

You can eat the mixture on its own, fill the scooped cucumbers with the mixture, or turn into lettuce wraps. I came up with this recipe while playing Whatismyhealth’s “Picking Ingredients Out of a Hat,” inspired by the show Chopped on Food Network. The ingredients picked for this Tropical Chicken recipe were coconut, jalapeno, and Greek yogurt. I was delightfully surprised by how delicious this ended up being! I ate it for both dinner and lunch the next day. 


Pulled Chicken Sandwich/Wrap (Serves 2)


6 oz. shredded chicken
About 1/4 cup sauce (bbq, ranch, buffalo, etc.)(use more or less depending on preference)
Lettuce wraps, OR cucumbers cut lengthwise and seeded, OR 2 buns

1. Mix the shredded chicken with your sauce of choice, then divide into 2 servings and place in your preference of lettuce wraps, cucumbers, or on buns... And again, that’s all. It’s that easy!


Chicken Burrito Bowl

Chicken Burrito Bowl

Chicken Burrito Bowls (Serves 4)


1 package coleslaw mix
1 cup salsa
3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno, diced
12 oz. shredded chicken
1 cup brown rice, uncooked, OR 1 package cauliflower rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 small red onion
1/4 cup scallions, chopped


1. Cook the rice. You can use the microwave if you want to avoid the stove completely.
2. Put the coleslaw mix, cilantro, scallions, red onion, cheese, jalapeno, and shredded chicken in a bowl.
3. Mix the yogurt and salsa together, then add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir the ingredients together.
4. When the rice is done, mix it into the bowl. Divide into four separate bowls and top with some extra scallions and cilantro.

The great thing about burrito bowls is that you can customize them any way that you like.  You can add black beans, corn, avocado, corn bread (I know that sounds weird, but trust me), peppers, etc. It all depends on your preference. I love that this ends up being a lighter version of a burrito with the coleslaw mixture. The yogurt and salsa combination is great to also use on salads as a dressing or on tacos or as a topping for chicken. 


Bruschetta Chicken Zoodle Bowls (Serves 2)


2 zucchini
6 oz. shredded chicken
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut into fourths
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp diced red onion
2-4 tbsp chopped basil
Drizzle of balsamic to taste
Drizzle of olive oil to taste


1. Using a sprializer, turn your zucchini into noodles. 
2. Mix diced tomatoes, diced red onion, basil, and cheese in a bowl.
3. Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
4. Add chicken to bruschetta mixture and combine. 
5. Divide the zucchini noodles into 2 bowls to serve. Top with bruschetta chicken mixture. 

I love bruschetta everything. This was inspired from one of my favorite meals that I would make in college when I really didn’t know how to cook. Bruschetta is light and delicious, but packed with flavor. When I would first make bruschetta chicken, I used to dice chicken and cook it in a pan with the bruschetta mixture. I would then melt mozzarella cheese on toast and pile the chicken bruschetta mixture on top. This bruschetta chicken zoodle recipe is definitely way healthier and more appealing than my meal from college, but still has the same delicious flavors.

Stay tuned for part two of this summer cooking series, where I’ll switch up our proteins for 4 completely different recipes. In the meantime, try these for yourself and let us know what you think!

Which of these shredded chicken recipes is your favorite?

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