July 21, 2017

The slow cooker is every busy foodie’s best friend. Simply throw everything into the base and set the time. When you’re ready, you’ve got a delicious hot meal, all ready to go. From soups and stews to a whole roast, the slow cooker has you covered.

But despite the ease of use, the time efficiency and the delicious meals that emerge from this kitchen contraption, the slow cooker seems to fall into a somewhat seasonal pattern. People bring it out at the first sign of crisp autumn air, and stow it away once the mercury begins to rise.

It doesn’t have to be like this, though. Slow cookers are just as adept at creating summertime creations as they are at cooking cold-weather meals – even on warm Austin days.

Show your slow cooker some love this summer with these genius simple recipes:

Slow cooker granola

You’ll need some fuel for your summer adventures. Pack this snack from Amy’s Healthy Baking in your bag to keep away the hunger pangs.

First, coat the inside of your slow cooker with a non-stick spray. Then, pour in old-fashioned oats and brown rice cereal. Next, whisk together honey and room-temperature egg whites; pour over the oat mixture.

Cook on high for 2-2.5 hours, stirring occasionally to ensure none of the granola burns.

Finally, add in your favorite granola treats: nuts, dried fruits, or even chocolate – customize to your heart’s content.

This snack is delicious on its own, or mixed into your yogurt, atop your salads or stirred into your pancake batter.

Barbecued chicken

Barbecued chicken is a summer staple, but did you know you can make this delicious entree without the grill?

Place a whole cut-up chicken in your slow cooker. Coat with your favorite barbecue spice rub (paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper work great).It’s true! Southern Living proves it with this simple recipe:

Make a sauce from a dark soda, like Coca-Cola, Pepsi or Dr. Pepper, ketchup, apple cider vinegar and bourbon. Pour over the chicken, making sure to spread over all pieces. Slice up a lemon and layer the discs over the chicken.

Cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 6.5-7.5 hours.

When done, transfer the chicken to a serving dish, then pour the juices from the pot over the chicken. Eat as is, or pull it apart for barbecue chicken sandwiches.

Summer frittata

Summer veggies make amazing breakfasts, and The Foodie Corner demonstrates this perfectly with the frittata with courgettes (zucchini), tomato and feta.

First, grate the zucchini, sprinkle with salt and let drain. Squeeze the juices out until it’s tightly packed.

Next, whisk up eggs, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper and parsley.

Crumble some feta and halve your cherry tomatoes.

Mix everything together in your slow cooker, then cook on low for 2.5-3 hours. Your breakfast is ready when you can slide a knife or toothpick into the center and remove it dry.

These three are just a start to the many summery meals you can create with a slow cooker. Dust off this helpful kitchen gadget and start cooking!