Summer time is well underway here in in the Rocket City! We are enjoying lots of swimming and playing and not spending a whole lot of time in the kitchen.
You know, before I had kids, I thought slow cookers were just for winter time and for moms that worked outside the home. BOY WAS I WRONG! We seem to use our slow cooker for something every day in the spring and summer. It saves us so much money, keeps the house cooler, and us from the drive-thru on those crazy busy, fun-filled summer days!
Here is a list of our favorite summertime slow cooker recipes. I would love to hear what are some ways you use the slow cooker this time of year! Leave your favorites and links in the comments to share with other busy families.
Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes – These are NOT your ‘from a can’ sloppy joe’s you remember as a kid! These are homemade and absolutely DELICIOUS. I love that I can brown the meat then toss everything in the crock pot including the fresh bell pepper and onion and have a homemade meal waiting on us when we get home from our summer activities. Throw them on a bun with a steamed vegetable and fruit, and you have a whole meal in no time at all. *Bonus* The leftovers are EVEN BETTER!
Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes – We have been having stuffed baked potatoes for dinner once a week! We rotate the toppings, from pulled bbq chicken to leftover taco meat. There are so many options – I make enough potatoes in the crock-pot for dinner, and for the kids and I have some the next day for lunch. Topping a baked potato with last night’s meat and veggies is a great and delicious way to use up leftovers too. Finding out I could ‘bake’ our potatoes in the slow cooker has put potatoes on our menu quite a bit, which is awesome because they are healthier than french fries and so inexpensive!
Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken – This BBQ Chicken makes a delicious filling for quesadillas and wraps and a topping for baked potatoes and salads. I love to buy whole chickens on sale and use them this way!
Slow Cooker Pulled Bourbon Chicken – We absolutely LOVE this pulled bourbon chicken served over rice and steamed broccoli.
Easy Slow Cooker French Dips – These French Dips are my hubby’s favorite! They are also one of the easiest recipes I have made. These are SO good with Southern Style Green beans.
Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup – Who says soup is for winter time? We have this soup year-round! It is SO delicious and incredibly fast and easy to put together, less than 10 minutes. I love having these delicious and easy to throw-together recipes in my back pocket for busy days. It’s recipes like these, that save me from the drive-thru!
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili – We have a family tradition at our house to have this ready and waiting for us after we get home from a LONG, fun day at Point Mallard Water Park! Because, seriously, who has the energy to cook after going down that ‘toilet bowl’ slide with their 9 year old 20 times? NOT ME.
Slow Cooker Beer Sausage ‘Dawgs’ – This is our newest favorite slow cooker recipe – just the quick and hearty meal to have ready after a long day of playing!
3 Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Sauce – Cold apple sauce is such a great snack for the kiddos when they come inside to cool off. Having a batch of this homemade in the fridge is great! Once you have tried it homemade, you won’t ever want to go back to the store-bought kind and this recipe is so easy, you won’t have to. *BONUS* Your house will smell HEAVENLY while it cooks!
Slow Cooker Italian Zucchini & Tomatoes – We usually use our slow cooker for our entrees, because we prefer our veggies raw, roasted, or grilled (or pan fried in bacon grease!). But this is a SERIOUSLY delicious way to use up those summer zucchini and tomatoes we will all have coming out our ears soon.
Rainy Day Sweet & Smokey BBQ Ribs – You don’t have to wait for a rainy day to make these ribs! And after you see how easy and delicious they are, why would you?
WHO KNEW? Using our slow cooker in the summer saves us money, keeps the house cooler, and my family far away from the temptation of the drive-thru.
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This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated with current information.
Brandi Burgess A.K.A. 'Aunt Bee' has been married to the love of her life for 10 years. A Birmingham native, she and her husband helped run her parents successful business for 8 years before finally spreading their wings and setting out to make it on their own. They moved to Huntsville in 2012 where she is a stay at home mom to their 2 kids, ages 9 and 4. She has a passion for cooking for her family and trying new recipes, and she blogs her family's dinners and weekly meal plans over at Aunt Bees Recipes.