May 16, 2015

Don't put away your slow cooker yet!

Winter pot roast isn't the only thing you can make in a slow cooker.

Winter pot roast isn’t the only thing you can make in a slow cooker.

Just because the weather is no longer hot-soup-appropriate doesn’t mean you should pack up your slow cooker until next winter! This handy appliance is not just for using during the colder months – it can be a great tool for warm-weather cooking as well. Here are a few tasty recipes to try:

Chicken, potatoes and green beans
Summer is a time of having fun outside until it is too dark and buggy to remain in the yard. This doesn’t always leave time for cooking. Hence, this amazing one-pot meal. Blogger The Magical Slow Cooker places all the ingredients for this dish in her slow cooker: just potatoes, chicken breasts and green beans. You can get all of these from your local farmers market if you’re looking for free-range chicken and organic potatoes and beans for a super healthy meal. Season the three with rosemary, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and some garlic and you’ll have a seriously delicious meal within just four hours if you set your slow-cooker on high. You can substitute Brussels sprouts or pea pods for green beans and sweet potatoes for red ones to mix it up. This recipe is super versatile.

Peach pulled pork
One of the many delightful things that comes with warmer weather is the onslaught of fresh, ripe fruit. Peaches are a particular summer favorite that we love to use in as many ways as possible. Eat at Home posted a recipe for peach barbeque pork sliders that makes perfect use of the slow cooking method and tasty seasonal fruit. You’ll need a 2 1/2 to 3 pound pork roast or tenderloin plus 16 ounces of both barbeque sauce and peach salsa. The blogger used prepackaged versions but we recommend using your Austin culinary arts schooling to make your own at home. Combine these three ingredients in your slow cooker and cook it on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Add it to Hawaiian sweet rolls or buns with some cole slaw and you’ve got a perfect no-mess summer meal.

Mushroom pea risotto
If you’ve ever seen an episode of “Hell’s Kitchen,” you may have a fear of risotto instilled in you that is difficult to shake. The good news is that Chef Ramsey won’t be looking over your shoulder as you make Bakerette’s slow cooker mushroom risotto with peas. This dish is great on the side of some kind of protein, but can also be eaten alone. First you’ll sautee mushrooms, shallots and garlic and then add uncooked rice. Next, add this mix to your slow cooker with white wine, chicken broth and pepper. Cook on high heat for 1 1/4 hours or low heat for 2 and 3/4 hours. Add the peas and sprinkle with parmesan or Asiago cheese immediately before serving. Pair with a glass of wine and perhaps some grilled salmon.

Chipotle steak quesadillas
Ever tossed some leftover chicken onto a quesadilla, added some cheese and microwaved? it? The chicken often gets dry and there’s not all that much flavor. Avoid this by making steak in a crockpot to use as your quesadilla filler. Bev Cooks made an awesome recipe for chipotle steak that includes flank steak, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce and scallions. Add them to your slow cooker along with cilantro, salsa, lime juice, salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 hours on medium, flipping the steak every hour. When this is done, heat a tortilla on a frying pan. Add your favorite shredded cheese and some avocado. Add some of the steak and then top with another tortilla. Cook until it is as melted and golden as you desire. Top with sour cream and devour.