My Crock Pot is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It’s so easy to throw in a few ingredients as I rush out the door and come home to a completely cooked dinner. Many people think of slow cooker recipes as just hearty soups and dips, but there are tons of warm weather meal options too! As temperatures rise the last thing you want is to be heating up the oven -and apartment- for dinner. Here are seven of my favorite summer slow cooker meals.
Crawfish season is one of my favorite times in Houston. Lucky for me when the season comes to an end there is always shrimp. This recipe works wonderfully in a slow cooker and helps quiet some of those crawfish cravings until next year.
To me not much says summer like sitting outside with a pitcher of margaritas and friends. When I’m trying to avoid hitting up the many, many fine Tex-Mex establishments around Houston I make a big batch of Taco soup. This is a go-to recipe for me. When I make it I skip the ranch packet, add a diced onion, and add extra peppers (serrano and jalapeno for added heat). The soup freezes really well, so you can portion it out into freezer containers and let thaw overnight to have a quick work day lunch. The soup is delicious topped with tortilla chips, cubed avocado, raw onions, or cheese.
I’ve been on a big salmon kick lately. It’s an easy, healthy, filling fish that is still versatile. While salmon itself is already quick this frees up time with less prep. I cut the wine a little when I make this recipe and use wild salmon over farm-raised. It goes great with a dill aioli. Be sure to rinse your slow cooker very well after making this dish. While it won’t have a fishy odor the oils in the fish may leave flavor behind that would taint future meals.
Pulled pork is one of those meat dishes you can do so much with to eat on through the week and never get bored. The pork is great between a sandwich bun, on tortillas, or over a baked potato. I like mine a little smokier so I’ll add some chopped chipotles in adobo sauce and use slightly less sugar.
One of my favorite Sunday slow cooker recipes is this pasta sauce. I’ll usually make and freeze a double batch in single serve portions for busy week nights. I always add some extra diced roasted veggies halfway through the cooking to amp up the health factor.
While this sesame honey chicken is great over rice, I love using it in wraps with a crunchy Asian slaw and some spicy Sriracha or gochujang sauce. (both of which you can find in the ethnic cooking section of most grocery chains.) This is another recipe I’ll make a big batch of and portion out in our freezer for lunches and dinners in a rush
I am not yet on the “meatless Monday” train, I do try to test out a few vegan and vegetarian dishes to switch things up. Sometimes these dishes are hits and sometimes they are huge misses. These Indian spiced lentils have yet to let me down. I love them with some fresh Naan bread or over white rice. As a bonus they re-heat well if you have any leftovers.
Hopefully these seven slow cooker meals will help keep your Camden apartment cool and your time free this summer. Also check out some crock pot cooking "dos" and "don'ts" on the blog here. Happy eating!