Slow Cooker Meals - Summer is the Best Time to Start

Summer is HERE! The kiddos are out of school, the pool is open and the weather is hot, hot, hot! Who wants to stay in and cook when there’s so much to do outside? And heating up your kitchen every night? No, thanks! Fast food is always an option, but let’s be honest, it’s not always the healthiest choice. Besides, eating out every night can get expensive. So break out that slow cooker that you got at your bridal shower (and never used) and clear off some counter space. Don’t worry – getting dinner on the table will take no time at all. Slow Cooker Meals - Summer is the Best Time to Start

Here are some great reasons to start using your slow cooker this summer:

1.       Keep your kitchen cool: When the weather reaches 90° outside, the last thing you want to do is turn your oven on to 400° inside. Slow cooker meals can be prepped in the morning and thrown in the slow cooker to cook throughout the day. Your oven doesn’t have to be turned on and your kitchen will stay nice and cool.

2.       More time to be outside and play: The majority of slow cooker meals take less than 20 minutes to prep.  That means while the kiddos are enjoying their dose of morning cartoons, you can throw your ingredients in your slow cooker and turn it on. Many recipes cook for 6-8 hours, so dinner can be ready whenever you need it. Now go hit the pool since you WON’T have to be home to slave over dinner for hours!

3.       Clean up is easy: Meals can be cooked and served right from the slow cooker, so clean up is minimal. And there are several different brands of Crock-Pot liners that are sold in stores that make dirty dishes a memory. Line your slow cooker before cooking and simply throw it away when you’re done — no scrubbing required.

Here’s one of my favorite slow cooker recipes to get you started this summer.

Pulled BBQ Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen or thawed)
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • ½  tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Directions:

Spray your slow cooker with a non-stick cooking spray (or use a Crock-Pot liner). Place chicken in the crock pot and season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Thinly slice a red onion and add to the slow cooker. Pour a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce over the chicken and mix well. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Take the cover off your slow cooker and shred chicken with 2 forks. Cook for another 1-2 hours.

This recipe is great served on hard rolls as a sandwich or served plain with coleslaw, fresh veggies or a salad. You can’t get more “summer” than BBQ chicken.

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s very forgiving.  You can add whatever spices you’d like and you can add more or less BBQ sauce. If you’re short on time, try cooking on high for 2-3 hours and one additional hour after shredding.

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