Garden Produce in the Slow Cooker

You know what one of my favorite things about summer is? Fresh garden produce! But lately it’s just too hot to turn on the stove and cook any of our hauls from the garden.  I love my slow cooker for cooking everything, and it’s perfect for cooking up produce, too!

There are dozens of ways add produce into your meals. But if you’re looking for some ways to straight up cook veggies and fruits, here are some of my favorites.

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Cook Garden Produce in the Slow Cooker

  1. Potatoes Au Gratin
  2. Summer Squash
  3. Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes (and chicken)
  4. Honey Glazed Carrots
  5. Scalloped Potatoes
  6. Sweet Potatoes and Apples
  7. Apple Butter
  8. Apple Sauce

From Other Bloggers

  1. Baked Potatoes
  2. Caramelized Onions
  3. Corn on the Cob
  4. Parmesan Ranch Mushrooms

 

 

 

 

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21 Slow Cooker Sandwiches

Sandwiches are the classic “I need to feed my family–quick!” kind of meals. But quick and easy doesn’t have to mean PBJ or BLTs night after night. There are lots of delicious things to serve between two slices of bread.  Like these over 20 slow cooker sandwiches that you can throw into your slow cooker in the morning and forget about until dinner time. They’re life savers for us during the summer–or any busy time of the year! There’s enough variety that even if we ate sandwiches for a week straight, we’d probably not be tired of them.

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The slow cooker is such a time saver. And when it’s hot–not having to heat up the kitchen is a huge bonus. And thanks to the slow cooker, you get to enjoy big, juicy flavorful sandwiches without slaving over the stove or grill for hours on hot or busy days.  That’s my kind of dinner!

If you want to see how easy these sandwiches are, check out the FB Live demo I did of getting Peach Pulled Pork BBQ in the slow cooker and making up the delicious apple slaw that goes with it!

20 Sandwiches in the Slow Cooker

1. Hawaiian BBQ Sandwiches are a fresh twist on an old favorite with BBQ, pineapple, and provolone.

2. Jerk Chicken Sandwiches are a delightful combo of jerk chicken and cucumber mango salsa.

3. Chicken Bacon & Ranch Sandwiches with creamy slaw are like a sandwich version of this favorite salad flavor profile.

4. Chicken Philly Sandwiches, because a Philly Sandwich doesn’t always have to be beef!

5. Did you know that you can whip up these BBQ Chicken Sandwiches by simply tossing the ingredients in the slow cooker and turning it on? It’s true, you don’t even have to stir them up!

6. Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches – for when you want to serve up the goodness of without the usual prepping and cooking fuss. You’re welcome!

7. Cilantro Lime Chicken Sandwiches pack a refreshing twist of Mexican flavor!

8. Balsamic Chicken Sandwiches from Robin at Add a Pinch

9. Beef Shwarma is made of tender middle-Eastern flavored beef and cucumber-yogurt sauce stuffed in pocket bread.

 

10. Beef Gyros are a tasty twist on the usual roasted lamb gyros.

11. French Dip Sandwiches in the slow cooker are such classic goodness that the whole family is sure to love.

 

12. These African Pulled Beef Sandwiches with yogurt mint sauce are based on a sandwich introduced a few years ago at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They have just enough kick to give them a great flavor without burning your tongue.

13. Italian Beef Sandwiches are full of flavor with a bit of a kick, and they’re absolutely delicious!

14. Pizza Steak Sandwiches – for those who love meat on top of their meat. This one’s for you!

15. Just when you thought a Bacon Cheeseburger couldn’t get any better, we put the bacon in the burger instead of sliding around on top of the patty.

 

16. What happens when you add pasta sauce to an Italian Sausage Sandwich? Italian Sausage and Pepper Subs complete with provolone cheese and the goodness of Italian spices, of course!

17. Peach BBQ Pork Sliders are such a fun and casual way to enjoy BBQ, pork and peach salsa in one tasty sandwich, and add a bit of apple slaw. Yum!

 

18. Pork and Gravy Sandwiches can be served as a “regular” sandwich or open-faced with an extra serving of gravy poured over the top.

19. BBQ Peach Pulled Pork add the sweetness of peach salsa to the classic BBQ pork sandwich.

 

20. Two ingredients and a slow cooker are all you need for these flavorful Beer Brats and an easy dinner.

21. Peach BBQ Pork Sliders are such a fun and casual way to enjoy BBQ, pork and peach salsa in one tasty sandwich, and add a bit of apple slaw. Yum!

 

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21 Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Recipes for Summer

If you have been around my blog for long, you know how much I love Tex-Mex. I love the flavors, the spice and how many easy options there are for Mexican style food in the slow cooker. Needless to say, Tex-Mex slow cooker recipes make a frequent appearance on our dinner table.

 

One of the most popular recipes on the site is the slow cooker fajitas. They require minimal prep time, so you can get them into the slow cooker quickly. And the slow cooking melds the flavors beautifully. Plus, making them in the slow cooker means it’s an easy choice when feeding a crowd!

I love that both beef and chicken are so freezer friendly. That means you can prep them in batches and easily grab one for the slow cooker in the morning! As far as freezer friendly foods go, shredded taco beef is a huge time-saver for me. I make up a big batch, and freeze the leftovers for later. Super easy, and there are so many meals you can make using taco meat as a base.

And speaking of tacos! My kids love tacos because they can build their own. While there are hundreds of recipes out there for delicious Tex-Mex food in the slow cooker, here are 12 of the go-to family favorites at our house. Enjoy!

21 Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Recipes

  • These Beef Fajitas look pretty all prepped in the crockpot and they taste even better after cooking all day.
  • Smoky Chipotle Chicken Tacos – when every word in the name of a recipe makes your mouth water, then you know dinner’s going to be good!

  • Sloppy Chicken Tacos is another Tex-Mex Chicken recipe served the way a taco should always be … slightly sloppy!
  • Chicken Fajitas are a quick and tasty weeknight dinner to toss in the slow cooker before you start your day and they’re ready for dinner whenever you are!

  • The picture and short ingredient list don’t really require an explanation for these tasty Pork Carnitas
  • Beans are so easy to make ahead and pull out on those crazy nights when you need a quick dinner at home. You’ll find all the details for cooking them ahead and freezing for later in this post.

From other Bloggers

These pictures are from the original blogs and, be warned, you may feel more than slightly hungry after perusing the delightful slow cooker Tex-Mex ideas below …

Slow Cooker Enchiladas

  • Layer upon layer of tortillas and enchilada fixin’s make these Slow Cooker Enchiladas from Pocket Change Gourmet a wonderful dinner to come home to at the end of the day!
  • Tamales, in a casserole, in the crock pot? Brilliant! Thanks to Lynn at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures for sharing her Tamale Casserole recipe!

  • Kalyn over at Kalyn’s Kitchen has shared this recipe for her uber-healthy and scrumptious Green Chili Shredded Beef Bowls.
  • Cumin Pork Roast and Beans are the foundation of this delightful slow cooker creation from $5 Dinners and tastes wonderful rolled up in a tortilla or served over a bed of lettuce.

  • These Carnitas and Paleo Nachos from Annie at Worthy Pause are tasty, paleo and made in a slow cooker. It’s pretty much the trifecta of healthy dinners!
  • If you’ve never had a taco stuffed with pulled pork and Mexican slaw, then you’ll want to try this Pulled Pork and Mexican Slaw recipe from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

  • Shredded Pork Tostadas are like a shredded pork taco all dressed up and ready to impress. This recipe from the sisters over at Favorite Family Recipes is perfect for the slow cooker.
  • This Cowboy Casserole from Family Fresh Meals combines everyone’s favorites – potatoes, beef, beans, corn and cheese into one “so-good-it-won’t-last-long” easy prep, easy clean-up meal.

  • If you’ve never tasted Brazilian Feijoada Pork and Black Beans, then let me suggest that you add this dinner from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe to this week’s menu and shopping list. Fejoida has an amazing flavor profile that you’ll want to come back to time and again!
  • Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos in the crockpot? Yes please! Thank you to Katie from Fun Home Things for sharing this one on her blog!

  • Vegetarian Fajitas from Jessica at The Pieper Life are a wonderful option for an easy meatless meal, and it freezes well so you can eat half tonight and save the other half for another day. Yay!
  • Vegetarian Taco Dip from Pocket Change Gourmet is scrumptious with tortilla chips, or on a bed of lettuce for a fresh salad.

  • Deborah over at Taste and Tell Blog has answered the question of how to bundle the goodness of a tamale into a meatball in these Tamale Balls. And the answer is delicious!

Ever wonder what you can serve with Tex-Mex?

Check out this post filled with ideas for some of my favorite sides! 

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11 Slow Cooker Side Dish Recipes

Have I ever mentioned that I love my slow cooker? Yeah, I thought so! Apparently, I’m not the only one too! And why not! You can do basically everything in a slow cooker. From all-day barbecue to slow cooker side dishes, from overnight breakfasts all the way to decadent desserts like cheesecake, the slow cooker can do it all.  They easily qualify as a kitchen workhorse by saving time, keeping the house cool and making food prep super simple for a small family or a large crowd! I absolutely love using my slow cooker for gatherings. It makes my life so much easier in so many ways.

SlowCookerSides

If you’ve never used your slow cooker to make side dishes, pull it out and give it a try! These 11 side dishes you can make in your slow cooker are the perfect place to start. These recipes are easy to put together and are definitely crowd pleasers. Pair them with summer food and you’ve got yourself a party or holiday dinners, whichever you prefer.

11 Easy Slow Cooker Side Dishes

loaded-cheesy-potato-casserole

Loaded Cheesy Potato Casserole are sure to be a hit at your next potluck with all their cheesy goodness!

honey glazed carrots in the slow cooker done

Honey Glazed Carrots in the slow cooker  are both buttery and sweet. Yum!

slow cooker corn casserole

Corn Casserole in the Slow Cooker is a moist slightly sweet side dish with only 5 ingredients and less than 5 minutes of prep.

hashbrown casserole

Hashbrown Casserole in the slow cooker is just as tasty as it looks, and you can fix the meat in the slow cooker at the same time with a simple little trick included in this post

Winter Squash in the Slow Cooker

Acorn or Butternut Squash in the slow cooker is a perfect side dish, especially when you add some butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar!

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Homemade Apple Sauce in the Slow Cooker  is much simpler than you might think and it just might ruin you for the store-bought stuff once you taste this eat at home version. Consider yourself warned!

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Baked Beans in the Slow Cooker are a must for any dinner involving barbecue. These are classic with brown sugar, molasses and bacon. Yum!

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The cheesy goodness of Scalloped Potatoes in the Slow Cooker? Yes, please!

sweet potatoes and apples done

Sweet Potatoes and Apples in the Slow Cooker are a tasty combination of fruit and veggies with plenty of sweet spices mixed in!

slow cooked apples and butternut squash

And if you prefer squash over sweet potatoes, then try this Apples and Butternut Squash in the Slow Cooker recipe.

This Cheesy Cauliflower from Simply Nourished Living is so tasty you won’t believe that it’s actually weight watcher friendly!

Go ahead and feel free to pin the image below so you can easily find these tasty slow cooker side dishes for when you need a quick, crowd-pleasing dish!

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Slow Cooker Beer Brats (or Italian Sausages)

Slow Cooker Beer Brats

I’m not going to lie.  I was skeptical when my sister told me about Slow Cooker Beer Brats.  I’m not a fan of beer and the thought of cooking a brat in it didn’t sound too good.

But she said they turn out so flavorful – not tasting like beer, but just so good.  The fact that they cook in the slow cooker was a plus for me too.  I love a good slow cooker recipe!

So I tried them and my sister was right.  You’ve got to make these!

We topped them with ketchup, mustard, diced onion, mild banana peppers.  I was out of relish or we would have added that too.  These brats can handle a lot of toppings.

One thing that surprised me is how the brats browed during the cook time.  I didn’t expect that since they were cooking partially submerged in the beer.

This recipe couldn’t be easier since it has only two basic ingredients.  This is summer cooking at its simplest – 2-minute prep, the slow cooker doesn’t heat up your house, go have fun while it cooks – my kind of recipe!

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

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Traditional Summer BBQ in the Slow Cooker

You know what one of my favorite things about summer is? All the delicious excuses I have for grilled food and barbecues! I absolutely love grilling out and serving dinner al fresco. But sometimes firing up the grill just isn’t an option, and I just can’t bring myself to heat up the house by cooking more indoors.

That’s the perfect time to pull out the summer bbq slow cooker favorites! The slow cooker is a great way to make barbecue super easy.  Plus, the awesome thing about using a slow cooker for barbecue is that you get those long cooking times that really amp up the BBQ flavors without the hassle of hovering over it to make sure it’s staying just the right temperature. It’s a no-fuss way to enjoy those summer flavors we crave without a lot of extra work and heat.

SummerBBQ in the slow cooker

In honor of summer and barbecue season, I’m sharing nine of my favorite slow cooker summer barbecue recipes with you. From tangy pork chops and pulled meat sandwiches to a complete BBQ Chicken Dinner all wrapped up in one slow cooker, these are the recipes I turn to when I am craving BBQ but don’t have the time or energy to do it the old fashioned way.  I’ve also gotten together a round up of my favorite sides to pair with a good BBQ meal. Together, you have everything you need to make a super easy but delicious no-fuss BBQ meal for you and your family.

Enjoy!

Summer BBQ in the Slow Cooker

  1. Tangy Sweet Pork Chops
  2. BBQ Peach Pulled Pork
  3. Peach Pork BBQ Sliders
  4. Red Eye BBQ Ribs
  5. Apple BBQ Pork Chops
  6. Legs, Sausage, and Potatoes
  7. Teriyaki BBQ Chicken Legs
  8. Pork Chops and Baked Beans
  9. Complete BBQ Chicken Dinner

plus easy sides to pair with your BBQ dinner

Backyard-Barbeque

 

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Sweet Decadent Slow Cooker Desserts

Slow Cooker Dessert Series

Let’s talk about dessert. You probably know that I have a huge sweet tooth, and I absolutely love having something delicious to sit down with at the end of the day. Bonus points if it includes ice cream! You also probably know by now how much I love my slow cooker. Did you know that there are dozens of sweet decadent slow cooker desserts too?

I took my love of slow cookers and my love of desserts and decided to take slow cooking to a sweeter place than tacos and soups. Once I tried making dessert in the slow cooker, I was hooked. Now I’m always looking for ways to convert favorites into slow cooker desserts that I can whip up without turning my oven on at all.

I love making cobblers and crips in the slow cooker because they are super easy desserts by nature, and I like easy! You can add a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream, and it is the perfect summer treat. But there’s more to slow cooker desserts than cobblers. You can make cakes and it makes even something fancy like cheesecake in it too. There are literally so many sweets you can make in the slow cooker–and I’m excited to keep trying more things and finding new favorite treats to make in the slow cooker!

SlowCookerDessert

In the mean time, these are some of my favorite slow cooker sweets. If you’ve made dessert in the slow cooker, I’d love to hear what your favorites are!

11 Slow Cooker Desserts

*pictures from other blogs are noted with their watermark and may cause a bit of drooling

Based on a bread pudding served at ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World, this Bananas Foster Bread Pudding is a big hit at our house!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake is such a classic made easier with the help of your trusty slow cooker.

Blueberry Crisp is always a favorite with the sweetness of blueberries and it’s crisy topping and a side of vanilla ice cream. This recipe was adapted from the book Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and it’s absolutely yummy!

Salted Caramel Cobbler! For those rare days when you want dessert but it doesn’t have to include chocolate. You’re welcome!

This Chocolate Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust and Nut Topping  is smooth and rich and oh-so-very chocolatey.  The pretzel crust adds a bit of salty to the sweet chocolate and the nut topping brings a little crunch to the creamy. If you’ve never tried a cheesecake in the slow cooker, here’s proof that it’s worth it!

This Apricot Crisp is a six-ingredient cobbler that starts with a few cans of apricots, or your favorite fruit and helps end your day on the sweetest of notes.

There’s a reason chocolate covered cherries have been popular for years, they’re a delicious combination of the tartness of cherries with the sweetness of chocolate. These Brownies and Cherries are based on that same delightful combination and make enough for a crowd, unlike a little box of chocolate covered cherries!

This Salted Caramel Apple Cake is a delightful blend of sweet and salty that’s definitely company-worthy.

What happens when you combine caramel and apples and crispy topping in a slow cooker? Well then you have Apple Caramel Crisp and everyone knows that calls for a hearty scoop of vanilla ice cream! Yes, please!

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Sauce may have some of those classic fall ingredients but, trust me, it’s perfectly delightful in any season!

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake from Skinny Ms is the best of both worlds – healthy and decadent!

Triple Chocolate Brownies are 3 times the chocolate from Martha Stewart, and everybody knows that is a good thing!

How fun is this Rocky Road Chocolate Fondue from Six Sisters Stuff for a gathering of friends and family?

This Chocolate Tapioca Pudding from Simple Nourished Living blends the richness of chocolate with the comfort level of tapioca pudding for a fabulous dessert!

The picture alone of this Triple Chocolate Pudding Cake from Deborah at Taste and Tell, is a hint at how yummy it is. Especially when you can fix it in the slow cooker!

Combine a few pantry staples, put it in the slow cooker and a few hours later…ta da! You have a  Chocolate Cobbler with fudgy sauce that pretty much begs for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

And then there’s this Sweet Heat Chex Mix for those “on-the-go” sweet treats that we all need from time to time!

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29 Ways to make Chicken in the Slow Cooker

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Does your family eat a lot of chicken? In our house, I sometimes joke that we eat so much chicken that we could start clucking at any moment. I’m not complaining! I love chicken, and so does my family. Chicken has to be one of the most versatile meat. You can fix it in dozens of ways–Tex-Mex, Italian, Asian and good old American BBQ. It’s a huge plus that chicken also fairly affordable and some of the stores often put a good sale out on it, too!

Now that summer is here, I’m trying to avoid heating up my house as much as possible. So, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I use my slow cooker a lot. It’s a time-saver and a great way to keep the kitchen cool as well. I love trying new things in my slow cooker, and over the years have created a nice little stash of favorite chicken dishes that I can whip up in there.

From mouth watering curry to our favorite Asian chicken to some of my cheater barbeque go-to’s, here are 29 ways I use my slow cooker to cook a winning chicken dinner for my family. Some of these recipes are also freezer friendly. That means you can stock your freezer and then pull one out in the morning on a busy day and pop it in and let the slow cooker do its thing. That’s a huge plus for me, especially during these busy, glorious summer days.  (If you are looking for even more freezer friendly slow cooker recipes, check out this post with 18 of my favorites!)

Now I want to know, what’s your favorite way to cook chicken in the slow cooker?

29 ways to make Chicken in the slow cooker

  1. Chicken Curry 
  2. Chicken Spaghetti
  3. Thai Peanut Chicken
  4. zesty crockpot chicken
  5. apricot soy ginger chicken
  6. Black Bean and Salsa Chicken 
  7. King Ranch Chicken
  8. Italian Chicken with Tomatoes
  9. Lemon Chicken baked on Sauerkraut
  10. Chicken Cacciatore
  11. Creamy Jalapeno Chicken Tacos
  12. Chicken Fajitas
  13. Teriyaki BBQ Chicken Legs
  14. Brown Sugar Chicken and Sweet Potatoes 
  15. Chicken Tacos
  16. Italian Parmesan Herb Chicken and Potatoes 
  17. Chicken Shwarma
  18. Zingy BBQ Chicken
  19. Maple Apple Chicken 
  20. Chili Sauce Chicken Legs
  21. Chicken and Gravy
  22. Chipotle Chicken Tacos
  23. Honey Mustard Chicken
  24. Baked Chicken with Summer Veggies
  25. Garlic Chicken with More Garlic
  26. Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken
  27. Garlic Rosemary Chicken
  28. Italian Seasoned Salt Chicken
  29. Chicken and Broccoli “Stir Fry

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18 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals {Plus Tips and Tricks!}

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Stocking up the freezer is one of the things I do to save me time in the kitchen. And if there’s any season where I want to minimize my time in the kitchen, it’s summer time. There are lots of things I can think of that I’d much rather be doing than spending hours prepping food, or working over a stove. So slow cooker meals that I can pull right out of the freezer are a double win in my book!

Since summer’s just around the corner and I have all kinds of plans and activities coming up, I’m glad to take a little bit of time to stock up the freezer with slow cooker meals. If I do it right, I can get 7 meals knocked out of the way in just about an hour’s time. That’s what I call being a smart cook!

If you’ve never really done freezer cooking, I’ve written a couple of posts with my best tips and tricks for everything from streamlining the process to maximize what you get out of your time to what supplies to have on hand before you start. I also have done several videos to walk you through a couple of my freezer cooking sessions.  If you are more of a visual learner, these may help you get started too. I’ve linked those at the bottom of the list, in case you’d like to take a peek.

With the freezer all stocked and our slow cookers ready to go, bring on the heat, summertime!

18 Freezer Friendly Slow Cooker Meals

  1. French dip sandwiches
  2. Zesty crockpot chicken 
  3. Pork carnitas
  4. Chicken cacciatore
  5. Maple apple chicken
  6. Easy shredded taco beef (For Tacos, Salads, Nachos and more! Super versatile.)
  7. Chicken fajitas
  8. Beef fajitas
  9. Chicken fiesta
  10. BBQ chicken fajitas
  11. Sweet and sour meatballs
  12. African pulled beef 
  13. Hawaiian luau meatballs
  14. Chicken broccoli stir-fry 
  15. Ravioli
  16. Cube steaks and gravy
  17. Beef teriyaki 
  18. Pulled Pork (For Sandwiches, loaded baked potatoes, and more!)

plus bulk cooking meats for the freezer in your slow cooker!

Other Freezer Cooking Resources & Videos (Slow Cooker and Non-Slow Cooker)

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Easy Meals for After Church

Easy Meals for After Church

What do you do for dinner after church?

We usually come home to eat, but everyone is always starving.  If I don’t get some food on the table quick, their bellies aren’t the only things grumbling.

There are lots of options for quick meals after church.  Here are a few tips on choosing your menu items.   [Read more…]

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