Think your slow cooker is just for the cold months? Think again.
Summer’s hot days have us searching for meals that don’t require a lot of oven time. Dust off the your slow cooker, because it may just be the answer you’re looking for. Slow cookers don’t emit a lot of heat into the kitchen and their automatic cooking functions give you more time to spend sipping a margarita on the patio or sunning poolside.
We may associate our slow cookers with hearty meals meant for colder days, but it can make the lighter meals we like to eat when the days are long and the nights are warm. Simple recipes with few ingredients are the key to summer slow cooking. You won’t be loading up the carrots and potatoes, but you may need to break out the barbecue sauce.
Going to a picnic without grilling? Upwards of 60 hot dogs can fit, vertically, in a 6 quart slow cooker. A Year of Slow Cooking suggests skipping the water and slow cook the hot dogs on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours. Make sure all the hot dogs in the middle of the pack have heated all the way through before serving.
Pulled pork or barbecue chicken makes for great sandwich dinners, but hoagie rolls are only one option for serving the meal. Pita breads, soft taco shells or slider buns can hold these delicious bites too. You can also serve the pork or chicken over a bed of rice.
Feel like steak but don’t want to grill? Pepper steak is a light meal that’s easy to make with a slow cooker. Serve it over egg noodles or rice.
Ethnic traditions like Hawaiian Chicken, Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Chili Verde are all welcome and traditional additions to summertime menus, and all pair well with a nice chilled wine or a refreshing pineapple sangria.