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This time of year, it’s hot outside. And the last thing you want to do when it's hot outside is heat up your house using the oven to make dinner. That’s where the slow cooker comes in. Just in time for the summer season, here are 4 recipes you can make that will keep you and your family cool, calm, and fed!

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May 28, 2019

Between the summer parties and long days spent by the pool, you’re going to need a few recipes in your back pocket that you can prep before a busy day. There are few things better than coming home from a busy summer day to food already made, right?

The Starter – Crock Pot Appetizers

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

a person scooping up spinach and artichoke dip with a piece of bread

Heading to that neighborhood block party? Bring this appetizer along and don’t forget the dippers! Pack some tortilla chips, crusty bread, and vegetables – and be prepared to share the recipe card for this one!  

What You’ll Need:

  • Fresh spinach – roughly chopped, stems removed
  • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts – chopped and drained
  • 8 oz. package of light cream cheese – cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 4 gloves minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How You Make It:

  1. Spray bowl of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients above.
  3. Transfer mixture to slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

The Entrees – Crock Pot Dinners

Pulled Pork

a person pouring barbeque sauce over a pulled pork sandwich

Who doesn’t love pulled pork? Not only is it great on a sandwich, but you can also use the leftovers on nachos, on top of a salad, or just eat it on its own. With just a few ingredients and about 8 hours, you have a delicious (and easy!) meal.

What You’ll Need:

  • Pork butt – about 3 pounds
  • 1 liter root beer – any brand is fine!
  • 1 18 oz. bottle of barbeque sauce – pick your favorite

How You Make It:

  1. Place pork butt into a large slow cooker.
  2. Cover pork butt completely with root beer – this will keep it moist and full of flavor!
  3. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on low for about 8 hours.
  4. Remove pork from slow cooker and discard almost all the liquid.
  5. Shred pork and return to slow cooker.

The last steps are up to personal preference! We recommend keeping the pork in a little bit of the root beer so it doesn’t dry out and adding the barbeque sauce while serving, allowing everyone to add as much (or as little!) sauce as they want. You do you!

Veggie Fajitas

a pile of red, green, and yellow peppers

Whether you’re a full-time vegetarian or you’re making more of an effort to get your family to eat more vegetables, veggie fajitas are an easy way to make that happen.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 onion – cut into thin strips
  • 2-3 bell peppers – cut into thin strips
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Sprinkle of taco seasoning
  • Small flour tortillas, grated cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc. (for serving)

How You Make It:

  1. Place the first four ingredients in the crockpot and combine. Cook on high for about 1 ½ hours.
  2. Serve in tortillas and top with whatever your heart desires!

The Sweet Stuff – Crock Pot Dessert

Ooey-Gooey S’mores Cake

a tray of graham crackers with chocolate chips and marshmallows on top

Summer and s’mores are synonymous and you won’t need a campfire to enjoy this treat. Once your family tries this fudgy cake, we guarantee they’ll be asking for more!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 box of chocolate fudge cake mix and all the ingredients listed on the box to prepare
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chocolate chips of your choice
  • Graham cracker squares

How You Make It:

  1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Make the cake batter as stated on the box and pour the batter into the slow cooker.
  2. Cover with the slow cooker lid and cook on high for 2 to 2 ½ hours. Cook times can vary depending on slow cooker, so begin checking around the 2-hour mark and cook until toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Once done, turn off slow cooker and sprinkle the mini marshmallows and chocolate chips over the cake. Cover with lid for 10 minutes. Scoop warm cake into dishes and serve with graham crackers.

And as always, don’t forget to consult with your doctor before trying a new diet. If you’re taking these dishes along to a gathering, remember to exercise caution when transporting your food in the slow cooker. Be sure to secure the lid and place the slow cooker in a sturdy box or laundry basket with padding around the slow cooker. Don’t let a burn from hot food take the fun out of your summer.

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