Like anything, it takes some time to learn to start using your slow cooker year-round. But once you start getting it out on a regular basis and using it to cook delicious homemade meals, you quickly become a fan.
Many of us start to think about soups, stews, chilies, and all sorts of other delicious slow cooker recipes that lend themselves to slow cooking (pot roast anyone?) when fall and cooler temperatures come around.
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But there are lots of other options too.
I will be the first to admit I am not a super creative person in the kitchen, especially with kitchen tools.
I am a natural “shoot from the hip cooker” but sometimes that can get you in trouble if you are doing more than just frying something.
Here are some reasons to give slow cooking a try even more so in the summer months than just the winter.
This post is about giving you year round slow cooking ideas and why you should try slow cooking in the summer not just winter meals.
A Crock Pot Won’t Heat Up Your House
The main reason many stews and roasts tend to be winter dishes is because they have to cook for a long time.
In the hot summer months, I’m not looking forward to heating up the house any more than necessary. And running the stove or oven for several hours before dinner will certainly do that.
But guess what doesn’t heat up the house? Your slow cooker.
It puts up a lot less heat and it’s portable. That means that on a really hot day when your air conditioner is barely keeping up, you can go plug in the slow cooker on the porch. You can have dinner cooking while you hang out in the backyard with the kiddos or are working on evening chores on the farm.
Use Your Crock Pot And Spend More Time With Family
Your slow cooker also comes in handy anytime you’re grilling in the backyard. No more slaving away in the kitchen fixing side dishes while everyone else gets to hang out in the yard and watch your husband grill burgers.
Instead, you do a little prep work in the morning, start a side dish in the slow cooker (scalloped potatoes are always a hit) and you can grab a cup of sweet tea and join the fun in the yard.
Of course, those same dishes will also come in handy at the annual family barbecue or the 4th of July cookout. When you’re asked to bring a side dish, cook it in the slow cooker and bring everything along.
Just plug it in and those baked beans or the squash casserole you made will still be piping hot when it’s time to eat.
Holiday Cooking Just Got Easier
You’ll find the slow cooker is also handy at potlucks throughout the year and let’s not forget about the holidays.
There’s always a lot of cooking going on and you have to do a whole lot of planning to make sure you have room on the stove and in the oven to get it all cooked in time.
How much easier would your holiday cooking be if you could have a couple of things simmering away in your slow cookers? You can start them in the morning and don’t need to worry about anything until it is time to eat.
I’m tell’n you, there’s no reason to pack away that slow cooker. Use it year-round. Take it with you on vacation to cook simple meals your family will love right in the cabin or motel room.
Adjust the flavors and seasonings and the types of dishes you cook depending on the season. Take advantage of this cooking appliance throughout the year.
Summer Food Options
I love my Crockpot during the cooler months of the year, but come spring, this amazing little kitchen appliance goes back into the cabinet. (Cause I don’t know about you but I’m not much for chili on a 90-degree, high humidity, summer day)
Buuut as I am learning that might be a mistake. Slow cookers are wonderful appliances year around. Yes, they are perfect for those hearty winter dishes that we used to cook at the back of the stove in the darker months.
But believe there are lots of options for spring and summer meals as well.
Spring/Summer Slow Cooker Meal Ideas:
- Pork Shoulder
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Chicken Thighs Or Chicken Breasts
- Taco Dip
- Mac and Cheese
- Slow Cooker Corn on the Cob
- Summer stroganoff
- Shredded beef tacos
- Orange Chicken And Sweet Potatoes
- BBQ Pork Ribs
- Louisianna Hot Sauce Pork Chops
Fall/Winter Slow Cooker Meal Ideas:
- Slow Cooked Beef Pot Roast
- CrockPot Corn Chowder
- Ham, Red Beans, and Rice
- Turkey Pot Pie
- Chicken Chili
- Creamy Crockpot Mushroom Beef
- Slow Cooker Stuffed Apples
- Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage
- Crock Pot Cranberry BBQ Chicken
Here are some amazing recipe books for your to get your ideas flowing.
Crockpot 365 Year-Round Recipes: Slow Cooker Recipes for Every Season
Slow Cooking All Year ‘Round: More than 225 of our favorite recipes for the slow cooker, plus time-saving tricks & tips for everyone’s favorite kitchen helper!
Better Homes and Gardens Year-Round Slow Cooker Recipes: More than 500 Recipes for All Seasons
Honestly, the best thing you can do is try one recipe at a time and don’t feel rushed. You don’t have to become a slow cooker chef overnight.
The next time you go grocery shopping pick two meals you want to try over the next month. If you like them. Write them down and add them to your meal rotation.