Beat the heat with your slow cooker
When you think of slow cooker meals, what comes to mind? For many people, it's things like hearty soups, stews, and other stick-to-your-ribs winter warmers. Although the slow cooker certainly is great for that, it's also the perfect way to keep the kitchen cool and put some delicious, fresh meals on the table all summer long.
What sets summer slow cooker meals apart from those heavy classics that make their way into the cool-weather dinner rotations of so many families? First, it's about using seasonal ingredients. Instead of winter squashes and root vegetables, choose lighter ingredients that are in season, such as herbs, asparagus or zucchini. It's also about keeping in mind the way many of us eat in the summer weather. Summer is for handheld foods that can be easily taken outdoors, on a picnic, to a BBQ, etc. Anything you can serve in a bun or wrapped in a tortilla is a good choice. Finally, if you want to use your slow cooker to feed your family this summer, it's important to consider the sides. Instead of mashed potatoes, heavy casseroles, etc. pair your slow-cooked main with something fresh -- a big salad, grilled vegetables, or even just some fresh bread from the bakery. The result is a lighter, more summer-friendly meal that will still be delicious!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Warm dips, such as spinach-artichoke dip, serve with pita and fresh vegetables
Do you use your slow cooker in the warmer months? What are your go-to recipes?