Summertime crock pot recipes, you may ask? But the crock pot is only used for "cold-weather meals" such as stews, roasts, and other hearty stick-to-your-ribs type meals. Wrong! The crock pot has truly received a seasonal stereotype and sits in many kitchen cupboards all summer long. Bring it back to your kitchen counter during the summer; there are so many benefits and fabulous light summertime meals that can be prepared in the crock pot! Most people already know how wonderful crockpot cooking is; throw a few ingredients in a pot, turn it on, and come back eight hours later to a wonderful home cooked meal. We also know that cheaper cuts of meat turn out tender and juicy because they're cooked with moist heat over long periods of time. Crock pot cooking is perfect for the busy homemaker, the office mom, the busy dad, the work-at-home mom, anyone who has anything to do during the day and is tired by dinnertime, not wanting to spend countless hours preparing dinner for their family. But crock pot cooking is also perfect for the summertime.
Where I live, we have humid, hot, sticky summers where the last thing I want to do is turn on my oven or fire up my gas stove, much less spend time standing around them preparing meals! During the summer I don't crave meals like chicken and dumplings, lasagna, beef stew, or pork roast. I want light meals with little or no preparation so I'm not standing in a hot kitchen getting even warmer and stickier. So, I use my crock pot! Out of any of the cooking devices in your kitchen, it sets off very little heat and can allow you to put everything into the slow cooker in the morning (when your kitchen is cool) and spoon it up at dinnertime (when your kitchen is not).
Sandwiches are among our favorite summertime meals, especially paired with corn on the cob and a salad. Put a 3 pound beef or pork roast in your crock pot with 1 cup of water. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove roast and shred meat, replace to crock pot and add a bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce. Stir, cover and cook on high an additional 15-20 minutes.
Serve on sandwich buns - a great summertime meal. Brats are also a huge summertime meal where I live, and many techniques have been created to prepare them properly. Many simmer their brats over a low flame on their stove in beer for hours, heating up their kitchen as they do so. I use my crockpot! Place 12 brats in your crock pot, cover with 3-4 cans of beer (the cheaper the better), add one chopped onion and 4 cloves of minced garlic. Cover and cook on high 7-8 hours. Remove brats and grill over a low flame until browned.
Serve in hot dog or brat buns with ketchup, mustard, minced onion, and other desired toppings.
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