Tuesday, February 27, 2024

9 Delicious Reasons Your Crock-Pot Isn’t Just a Winter Thing

Pork Carnitas

1 Pork Carnitas crock-pot

Keep your crock-pot in the kitchen this summer and make some delicious pork carnitas. This tasty summer dish is cooked to perfection in the slow-cooker. Serve your pork carnitas with a side of brown rice and black beans. The following recipe will yield about 10 servings.

Here’s what you’ll need to make pork carnitas:

Soft flour or corn tortillas (warmed)

  • 1 trimmed pork shoulder (3 pounds, boneless)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup diced cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 diced chipotle chiles
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

Begin by making half-inch slits along the outside of the pork roast. Stuff these openings with garlic. Combine the cumin, black pepper, salt and oregano in a bowl. Place the roast in the crock-pot. Sprinkle in the spice mix in an even manner. Next, combine all of the juices and the chipotle chiles. Apply the juice mix to the pork. Cover the cock-pot and cook it on the lowest possible setting for 8-10 hours. When the pork is fully cooked, remove it and shred with forks. Be sure to discard the fat from the liquid. Serve on tortillas with a topping of salsa, cilantro and onion.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

2 Sweet and Sour Chicken crock pot

Just about everyone has tried sweet and sour chicken from the local Chinese spot. Yet few have tried sweet and sour chicken from a crock-pot. Gather the following ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken thighs sliced into one-inch pieces
  • 3 cups cooked white or brown rice
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper also cut into ¾ inch pieces
  • 2 cans of pineapple chunks (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup

Combine all ingredients but the rice in your crock-pot. Cover and cook on the lowest possible setting for 6 hours. If you don’t have 6 hours to spare, cook it on high for 4 hours. Serve atop rice.

Crock-Pot Meat Will Rival Meat Cooked on Your Barbecue

3 meat crock-pot
Robyn Mackenzie

Summer is the time of year for barbecuing yet cooking meat in a crock-pot produces equally tasty entrees. You can cook anything from ribs to chicken drumsticks and pork chops in your crock-pot. The beauty of crock-pot cooking in the summer is that it is not necessary to stand over the hot grill for hours on end. Just put your ingredients into the crock-pot, turn it on and come back in 4-8 hours to find a scrumptious meal beneath the lid. Or, use the crock-pot to pre-cook those extra tough cuts of meat and finish cooking them on the grill.

Santa Fe Black Beans

4 Santa Fe Black Beans crock-pot
Melissa Brandes

This Mexican dish will take about 10 hours in the crock-pot yet it is worth the wait. Santa Fe Black Beans will produce about a dozen servings. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of dried black beans
  • 1 cup queso fresco (crumbled)
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups died onion
  • 2 tablespoons diced chipotle chiles
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro

Wash the black beans before putting them into a Dutch oven. Cover the beans with water. Bring them to a boil and let them cook for two minutes. Remove the beans from the heat, cover and let them stand for about an hour. After an hour passes, drain the beans and dump them into your crock-pot. Stir in the chicken broth along with the garlic, salt, onion and chipotle chiles. Cover the crock-pot and cook on low for about 10 hours. At this point, you can mix in the lime juice. Use a potato masher to mash the bean mix until it is somewhat thick. Add the queso fresco and cilantro before serving.

A Crock-pot Meal Won’t Heat up Your Already-hot Summer Home

5 Crock-pot Meal Won't Heat up Your Already-hot Summer Home

The dog days of summer are the worst possible time of the year to turn on the oven. Yet we all desire hot food for dinner. Use your crock-pot for an entree and you won’t have to heat up your home by turning on the hot stove or oven. You can even bring your crock-pot out to the garage, basement or porch to keep the heat away from your living space.

Coconut Chicken

6 Coconut Chicken crock-pot

This flavorful crock-pot dish can be made with little effort. It yields about six servings. Gather the following ingredients:

  • 8 chicken thighs (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 onions (quartered)
  • 5 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons of diced lemongrass
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of chile paste (sambal oelek)
  • 2 carrots (quartered)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • A two-inch piece of fresh ginger (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ cup diced green onion
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces uncooked brown rice noodles

Begin by putting the coconut milk, chile paste, lemongrass and chicken in a bag. Seal it, flip to coat and leave it in the refrigerator for 10-24 hours. Place the ginger, carrots, onions, stock and garlic in your crock-pot. Take the chicken out of the marinade and place it atop the onion mix. Cover the crock-pot and cook on the lowest setting for 7 hours. After this time has passed, take the chicken out of the slow cooker and shred it into small pieces. Trash the bones. Sift out the cooking liquid’s solids with a colander and bowl. The leftover cooking liquid should now be combined with the lime juice, soy sauce and sugar in a saucepan. Boil this mix until the sugar has fully dissolved. Cook the noodles as directed by the instructions on the package. Once cooked, place the noodles in bowls and top each with green onion, cilantro, cucumber and chicken.

Crock-pots Will Help in Your Quest to eat More Vegetables

7 vegetables crock-pot
Hootsuite-David Franklin

Just about everyone struggles to incorporate vegetables into meals. The crock-pot will ameliorate this challenge. It can caramelize onions for frittatas and create a myriad of other vegetable sides for your summer entrees.

Smoky Beans

8 Smoky Beans crock pot

Smoky Beans made in the crock-pot will produce about 10 servings. You’ll need these ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons diced thyme
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 cups Great Northern beans
  • 3 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Add the garlic, onion and thyme to a saucepan. Let them cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the water, the garlic/onion mix and each of the remaining ingredients to your crock-pot. Cover the crock-pot and cook on the highest setting for 6-8 hours.

Spinach Crab Dip

9 Spinach Crab Dip crock pot
val lawless

This lovely crab dip tastes amazing when served with crackers or pita pieces. The following recipe will produce 20 servings. Feel free to adjust the ingredient quantities to your particular tastes. Gather the following:

  • 2 cups crab meat (shell fragments removed)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup jalapeno cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 10 ounces chopped spinach

Put these ingredients in your crock-pot. Stir vigorously. Cover the stirred mixture and cook on the lowest setting for two hours.