With the warmer weather and high humidity (I’m in the midwest), using my stove top or oven is something I like to avoid at all costs. During this time of year we tend to grill a lot more, and also use the crock pot more often. A slow cooker needs less energy to run than an oven and won’t turn your kitchen hot while it cooks.
Not to mention the perk of enjoying a nice hot meal that didn’t take much to prepare.
The slow cooker also referred to as a Crock Pot is an awesome appliance to own. It can make preparing dinner, lunch or breakfast effortless. In fact, meat that is slowly cooked is far more tender than anything else you could do to it.
Depending on the size you get, storage can be an issue. We have seven family members and we own THREE slow cookers. Crazy, I know. Two are the largest we could find, and one is a smaller one (for side dishes or desserts). We have been known to have all three in use at once. I also use them when I freezer cook a lot because I can fit so much food inside and make it double time.
You can find a slow cooker that will more than likely meet your families needs at any retail store that sells kitchen items. Walmart and Target have the best deals, and the slow cookers work just as great as anywhere else. You don’t have to spend a lot to get one, and you can enjoy the ease of a crock pot all year long.
Here are three terrific slow cooker recipes for summer.
Crock Pot Shredded Beef on a Bun
1 3- to 4-pound beef brisket or roast (you can also do pork or chicken)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium onions, sliced
1 16-ounce jar barbecue sauce
Soft rolls or hamburger buns
Season the beef with salt and pepper to taste. You can use any seasoning you would like. Place the onions on the bottom of the crockpot and then layer the meat on top. Pour 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce over the top of the meat and stir gently to coat. Cover and cook for 9 to 10 hours on low. (you can do this overnight if you like or do it first thing in the morning). When it’s done, remove the cooked meat from the slow cooker and pour out the liquid, keeping the onions if you desire. Shred the meat with a fork. Put the meat back into the crock pot and mix the rest of the barbecue sauce in. Let it stay in the crock pot cooking for another half hour or so. Serve immediately.
Freezer Cooking: This can be frozen in portions once it has cooled and can be served at a later date. When ready to serve again, drop in a pot on the stove and allow to simmer on low until heated through. Stir often. You can also drop into a microwave safe container and heat that way.
Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken
4 lbs. chicken breasts boneless and skinless
3 t. oregano leaves, crushed
1 t. seasoned salt
1/2 t. pepper
4 T. butter
1/2 cup water
8 T. fresh lemon juice
8 cloves garlic minced
4 t. chicken bouillon
4 t. fresh parsley, chopped
Wash chicken thoroughly. Set out to dry on paper towels. In a bowl, combine the oregano, salt and pepper. Sprinkle on dry chicken, patting it in. In a skillet, melt the butter and fry the chicken breasts until they are browned. Remove chicken and place in crock pot.
Add the water, lemon juice, chicken bouillon, garlic and parsley to the skillet. Bring entire mixture to a boil, stirring often and scraping any browned bits of chicken off the bottom of the skillet. Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker. Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. If you wish to cook on high, you can do so for about 3 hours. When the chicken is finished, baste the chicken with the juices in the crock pot and sprinkle parsley over the chicken. Cook for at least 15-30 minutes. Serve.
Slow Cooker Ranch Potatoes
2 1/2 lbs small red potato, quartered
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 (1/16 ounce) package buttermilk ranch salad dressing mix
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
Place the potatoes in the crock pot. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients and then spoon over the potatoes. Stir the entire thing to blend well. Cover and cook on the low setting for 7 hours. Stir gently before serving. If you double or triple this recipe, it can be more than just a side dish, but a nice delicious main course. Goes great with a platter of fruit or fresh veggies.