Summer Slow Cooker Ideas?
I've been working later than usual lately, and I'd like to utilize my slow cooker a bit more to help me out on weeknights. The problem is that all the slow cooker recipes I have tend to be heavier items like beef stew, chili, etc.
Does anyone have any lighter, more summery type recipes for the the slow cooker? I was thinking BBQ beef or pork one night, then shred it and serve on buns, but that's the only idea I've had so far.
A slow cooker doesn't lend itself to light and cool summer fare. The only thing I can suggest is a chicken recipe where the leftovers can be cooled and used as chicken salad but chicken in a crock pot almost always turns into a shredded, goopy mess.
Break out the grill? ;-)
Slow cookers are a mixed bag in summer. The soups and stews they do well don't fit in with summer fare, which is lighter. But they are great for breaking down pork shoulders and chuck roasts without heating the house (like an oven) or demanding attention (like a barbecue).
Use it less overall for main dishes, and more for side dishes/casseroles, desserts. breakfasts -- many dishes that would normally be cooked in the oven and benefit from moist heat can be made in a slow cooker.
Chicken can be roasted in a slow cooker -- it helps to have a model that has a temperature probe that dials the heat back once the proper internal temp is reached. I prop the bird up on a layer of thick onion slices and just enough stock or water to cover the bottom a 1/4 inch, then put in a bed of carrots, potatoes and celery. (The liquid will keep things from burning at the start; eventually the veggies more than amply replenish whatever moisture is lost.) I do a similar dish in a dutch oven when we go camping -- a feast!
google "a year of slow cooking" -- there are some really good ideas on there (the pizza puff is fantastic).
How about salmon wrapped in foil? You can do that in the crockpot...I have yet to try it but the woman who did the 365 days of crockpot cooking did it successfully with jerk seasoning no less...the reviews were very positive. Just throwing that out as a "lighter" idea than soup or stew.
Here's her list of summer cooking recipes in case any of them suit you:
I think it depends on how old the slower cooker is that the OP has. The newer ones are cooking at 40° higher than older ones (more than 10-12 years old) due to governmental regulations that the lower temps *could* cause food poisoning (not that there's any documentation of that happening with the older crockpot/slow cookers).
Fish is such a delicate item, if the OP is away from the house for more than 4 hours, I'm afraid it would overcook, wouldn't it?
For the OP - this link might give you ideas (similar to the pulled pork BBQ idea noted above):
There's a BBQ rib recipe at this link: http://heavytable.com/summertime-slow... and here: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06211/... the last one also has a jerked BBQ chicken recipe (although I'm one of those that doesn't like chicken done in a crockpot).
Ratatouille is summery, as are baked beans. I have a crock pot cookbook that I like, and some of the recipes I'm eyeballing right now are tarragon artichokes with leeks, applesauce, red beans and rice, chicken with tomatillas and rice, chicken corn soup, garbanzo curry (meant to be served with spinach), lentils (you can use these in pitas or salads).