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Simmer Your Way to Dinner This Summer With Our Seasonal Slow-Cooker Meals

Simmer Your Way to Dinner This Summer With Our Seasonal Slow-Cooker Meals

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For delicious, make-ahead, summertime meals, nothing beats a slow cooker. Our collection of easy mains are brimming with fresh ingredients that highlight the vibrant flavors of the season.

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26 Summer Meals That Don’t Require a Stove

When you’re sweating it out in the summer, the last thing you want to do is turn on the stove and make an elaborate dinner. We’ve whipped up a list of our favorite easy summer meals that don’t involve cooking, from refreshing salads to colorful summer rolls to simple crockpot meals. Read on to get your fill of stove-free dinner ideas.

30 Summer Freezer Meals in 3 Hours

Usually, I think of slow cooker foods as “winter” foods but that is so far from the truth. There are all kinds of great recipes that can be slow cooked all day with minimal prep and are perfect for even the hottest summer day. I picked 15 different recipes but I’m sure you could find more.

Are you new to freezer/slow cooker meals? I have to say I was skeptical at first — really would it save me that much time? The answer is yes. Absolutely. The freedom of not wondering what to do about dinner, the not scrambling around at 3 pm, the saving money by not ordering take out because I “forgot” to cook. These meals are life savers.

Here at Who Needs A Cape? we have put together quite a collection of freezer meals. Like I said previously, I’m using 15 different recipes and doubling them to make 30 meals. However, if one of these meals isn’t exactly you and your family’s taste, browse through our 40 meals, 20 meals, and 7 meals.

If you don’t have a lot of freezer space, consider making the 15 meals and NOT doubling. Or definitely, check out the 7 meals. Perfect for the people who don’t have a ton of room. You could even cut my 15 meal list in half and pick the dinners that really appeal to you.

A few tips that we have discovered here while doing these meals to make your life easier:

  1. Use pre-minced garlic. Yup fresh garlic is probably tastier — but honestly, you are freezing the garlic anyways. And garlic is in a lot of recipes so save some time!
  2. Make the sauce in one bowl when doubling. Then use a measuring cup to put the same amount in each freezer bag
  3. If the recipe calls for a can of this or that — just put that directly into the freezer bag — no need to mix until you’re cooking it.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Seriously! Make sure you have a Sharpie and make any notes on the bag — i.e., label the bag with what it is. Run out of celery? Write it on the bag — needs celery. Want to serve it with rice? Write it on the bag so you know when you pull it out
  5. Pull the bag you want to use the night before and let it semi-thaw in the refrigerator overnight. It will be thawed enough to get into the slow cooker and it will be great.
  6. Going to be gone all day? Don’t want to buy an expensive slow cooker with a timer? Use a light timer that the slow cooker plugs into. It’s a great, cheaper alternative.

I know a lot of you (myself included) use these meals to watch your budget. I admit that this time I have a few recipes with pricier meats. You have a couple of choices — one, wait for a great sale or two, use a cheaper/similar meat.

If you don’t want the expense of boneless pork ribs? Cheaper bone-in OR bone-in pork chops would work. It will be a slightly different meal, however, the sauce will be great on it anyways. I allowed myself the splurge on meats, it is simply a personal preference.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!

The meals: NOTE: All of these recipes were doubled to make 2 meals

  1. Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  2. Sweet and Sour Pork
  3. Sweet and Spicy Drumsticks
  4. Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches
  5. Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce
  6. Raspberry Chipotle Chicken (This is a grilled meal. All the ingredients in the slow cooker for 8 hours on low)
  7. Maple Dijon Pulled Chicken
  8. 2 Salsa Pork Chops
  9. Ribs with Zesty BBQ Sauce
  10. Jambalaya
  11. Buffalo Chicken Pasta
  12. Orange Beer Chicken
  13. BBQ Chicken Roll-Ups

I print out the recipes for all of these first. Then I print the Shopping List. Look over both and cross off what I already have in my house.

I’d love to tell you I shop and cook on the same day, but I don’t. I shop and then prepare the meals the second day. No need to do it all at once although you can if you like!

Prepping day: I cut all the veggies according to the shopping list (it tells you the onion needs to be diced/sliced/quartered/etc.). I put the veggies in bowls and have them ready to go.

Next, I gather all the ingredients I need and get them close — I pile everything on my dining room table, but do what works for you! (I do keep the meats in the fridge/freezer until I’m ready to use them.)

Get your first recipe and start assembling. Label your bag and then freeze it immediately. Repeat until you’re done!

A money saving tip: If you can’t find a sale on chicken — I buy the 10-pound bags of frozen chicken breasts. It’s about $2 a pound that way (which is about my sale price in NJ). I’m going to freeze them anyway so I don’t mind buying them pre-frozen. Just make sure to only have them out long enough to place them in the correct bag and then right back into the freezer!

Melting chocolate can be a pain. You either have to set up a double boiler, pop it in and out of a microwave in ten second increments, or take the risk on a low burner. Chocolate melts at such low temperatures it is super easy to have it burn on you, which also means you have to watch it like a hawk. Enter your slow cooker. If I have a lot of chocolate to melt, I toss it right into the pot, but for smaller amounts, I use a canning jar.

If you are melting right in the pot, just dump your chocolate in and turn the cooker on low, and lay a clean lint-free tea towel over the top. The lid will get condensation, and any water that gets into your chocolate can make it seize. Check it every 30 minutes and give it a stir until it is melted. For smaller amounts, put the chocolate into a canning jar and fill the cooker about two inches high with water and turn on low. Check the chocolate every 30 minutes.

Best Slow Cooker Pork Recipes

3-Ingredient Ranch Pork Chops (shown) - Yes, this recipe really only uses three ingredients! But, that certainly doesn't mean it lacks flavor. This is the perfect slow cooker recipe for ranch lovers.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (12 ounce) package lasagna noodles
  • 12 ounces cottage cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat cook the ground beef, onion, and garlic until brown. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, and oregano and stir until well incorporated. Cook until heated through.

In a large bowl mix together the cottage cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Spoon a layer of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a double layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles. Break to fit noodles into slow cooker. Top noodles with a portion of the cheese mixture. Repeat the layering of sauce, noodles, and cheese until all the ingredients are used.

21 Keto Crockpot Recipes Chock Full Of All The Good Stuff

Yeah, yeah, the Instant Pot pressure cooker took 2019 by storm. But so did the keto diet, and there's a better prep option for that one: the slow cooker (a.k.a. Crock-Pot).

Unlike the sped-up version that lets you cook an entire meal in minutes instead of hours, a slow cooker actually gives food enough time to develop flavors and the meat to become fork-tender&mdashwhich you absolutely need when you're already so restricted by the types of food you can eat.

But beyond that, a slow cooker allows keto dieters to master meal prep&mdasha crucial component to sticking to keto, since finding restaurant options can be disastrous. With a slow cooker, you simply throw a few things (ahem: cream, cheese, butter, meat, and low-carb veggies) inside the pot before you leave for work in the morning, and by the time you get home&mdashbam, keto meal at the ready.

Because the keto diet (and any diet, really) can make it tough to come up with fresh and exciting recipes on your own, I pulled together the best keto slow cooker/Crock-Pot recipes that'll hit that sweet high-fat, low-carb spot every time. Enjoy!

Proof You Can Still Use Your Slow Cooker in the Summer

Sweet and savory weeknight dinner ideas that inspire.

Published on July 19, 2018

During the winter months, slow cookers can practically be considered a staple in our culinary repertoires. How else can one prep for dinner in the morning with minimal effort and find themselves with an outcome that pretty much always satisfies? A saving grace, no doubt, it’s one kitchen item we tend to retire as the season turns. Let’s face it, when it comes to cooking in warmer weather, a slow cooker is hardly the first method that comes to mind. But we’re here to change all that. Enter: The mouthwatering summer crockpot recipes that will make you reconsider.

Yet another summer classic, made surprisingly easy, thanks to your trusty slow cooker. Once cooked, pair with homemade coleslaw, pickled jalapeno slices, and lightly toasted buns.

Summer and corn go hand-in-hand and so naturally, we’ll be whipping up this Cajun-spiced version from Taste of Home. The best part? You don’t have to worry about burning it on the grill.

It seems like once the warm weather hits, we can’t help but crave light and fresh flavors, especially when that involves guacamole—these mini bowls of shredded chicken definitely fit the bill. Comprised of a mix of sweet and spicy flavors, the tender chicken makes for the ultimate weeknight dinner.

During the season in which seafood is at its prime, we’re all for getting a little creative with our dinners. This scallop and shrimp-based stew combines a dynamic slew of flavors with a spicy tomato broth.

Recreate this takeout staple by Damn Delicious in a slow cooker for a healthier take that’s loaded with veggies.

Summer wouldn’t be complete without chips and salsa. This no-fuss recipe from the Recipe Critic features tomatoes slow-cooked with a medley of fresh herbs and peppers for added heat.

Consider this the dish from Bakers Royale that’ll make you the hostess of the season. Pair your typical plate of nacho fixings with a sweet ale and ginger spiced pulled pork garnish.

Yep, you can make sangria in a crock pot. Simply let the flavors of the wine and fresh fruit blend in the slow cooker for a few hours and then refrigerate overnight for a chilled effect.

These crispy taquitos by Le Creme de la Crumb feature cream cheese, jalapenos, and a generous handful of shredded cheese.

Skip the takeout and make this Thai classic with a recipe from Foodie Crush. Double the curry, add whole lemongrass and basil leaves (remove before eating), and throw in a whole jalapeno for an extra kick of spice.

What makes these tacos from Host the Toast so special? The chipotle cream sauce and pickled onion and jalapeño garnish may have something to do with it.

A light yet creamy take by Le Creme de la Crumb on the classic chicken chili starring cream cheese, beans, and plenty of spice.

These fire roasted shrimp tacos by Cotter Crunch are saturated with roasted tomatoes, chili peppers, and fresh cilantro.

Skip the campfire ritual and opt for this utterly decadent marshmallow layered brownie treat created by Something Swanky.

Delish concocted a fresh summer crab baked into a deliciously creamy dip with scallions, garlic, and parmesan.

Homemade lasagna doesn’t get easier from the crock pot variety—it pretty much does all the work for you. Repurpose this recipe from Gimme Some Oven with squash or zucchini for a refreshing summer twist.

For when you just don’t feel like firing up the grill, these fall-off-the-bone crock pot ribs by Six Sisters’ Stuff are there to save the day.

Yes you can make dessert in a crock pot, and YES, we can’t believe that a nutella swirl bread this good exists (thanks, Blog Lovin).

Serve these spicy garlic by Little Broken meatballs up at your next outdoor fete in lieu of the typical hors d’oeuvres.

Lemon bars made in a slow cooker are easier than you think, and it comes with a crispy edge.

Try this summer classic as a dip: Girl Versus Dough’s recipe calls for shredding the corn and placing in the slow cooker with sour cream, lime juice, hot sauce, and cheese.

This sweet and spicy mix created by Carlsbad Craving features a bean blend soaked in a brown sugar and dijon marinade, and slow cooked to hearty perfection.

With Old Bay seasoning, fresh lobster tails, and a creamy garlic broth, this classic soup is guaranteed to be a hit.

7. Spinach, Tomato, and Quinoa Breakfast Casserole

There’s something magical about one-pan (or pot!) recipes — dump a bunch of ingredients into a pan and then a delicious, nutritious meal emerges. And there’s only one pan to clean!

This breakfast casserole recipe is so simple and easy you make it once and you’ll be on easy eating street for days.

What you’ll need:

Nonstick cooking spray
2½ cups cooked quinoa
8 large eggs
¾ cup reduced-fat (2%) cottage cheese (or part-skim ricotta)
4 cups raw spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes
½ cup basil
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste optional)

31 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes for When You're Craving Comfort Food

Coming home to a hot meal after a long day of work is the ultimate gift. The slow cooker method is a lifesaver for busy families: simply toss your ingredients in, set it, and forget it until dinnertime. Slow-cooked chicken, beef, vegetables, and more are incredibly tender, too. For dishes you know you'll want to eat again soon, we recommend doubling up on ingredients and tossing leftovers in the freezer.

This appliance has come a long way in recent years. Many newer models have auto-shutoff and keep warm settings (for times you get tied up in meetings or traffic), LED-lit digital displays, delay start functionality, and multiple temperature settings. Don't be intimidated: all of these fancy features help make slow cooking even more convenient.

Ready to slow cook? Keep scrolling for our best, super easy slow cooker recipes.