Fireworks with a Side of Slow Cooker

Today I’m pulling out the citronella candles, lawn games, paper plates, bug spray and…my slow cooker! Along with the fireworks, this weekend is full of potlucks and cookouts and potluck cookouts—it’s all been so much simpler since I discovered the secret of the summer slow-cooker recipe.

Anyone who knows me knows that chocolate cake is my favorite…but that doesn’t mean it’s my favorite to cook in July. Once again, my slow cooker comes to the rescue: just 15 minutes of prep and no slaving away in front of a hot oven. Once you try this Slow-Cooker Double Chocolate Cake, you’ll love it as much as I do!

 

Slow-Cooker-Baked-Potato-bar-63775My family loves baked potatoes alongside our burgers and grilled chicken, but I hate to turn the oven on when it’s already so hot outside. The solution? Slow-Cooker Loaded Cheesy Potatoes. All it takes is some foil and four hours on high, and I have perfectly cooked potatoes and a nice, cool kitchen.

 

Easy-Crockpot-Country-Style-Ribs-64353

Recipe courtesy of Liz Mays of Lizventures

I used to think fall-off-the-bone tender ribs could only be achieved by cooking them low and slow in the oven or on the grill. Then I tried these Easy Slow Cooker Country-Style Ribs. Of course this makes sense, since a slow cooker basically cooks everything low and, well, slow. Just add the ribs, barbecue sauce (for super-simple savory, sweet and smoky flavor) and some seasonings, then voilà! You have juicy ribs and plenty of space on the grill.

 

54420_640x428Everyone knows you can make chili in a slow cooker, but did you know you can cook hot dogs in there right along with the chili? These Slow-Cooker Chili Dogs are my go-to solution when I know there’ll be a lot of hungry kids running around the barbecue. They’re not known for being particularly patient, so this way I can have something warm and ready to serve the minute they walk in the door (or whenever hunger strikes).

 

166179_HCA_65294v0CRThis one is for all my vegetarians out there! I always have salads, meat-free burgers and grilled veggies on hand, but sometimes I want to go the extra mile for my veggie-loving friends and family. Enter this oven-free Slow-Cooker Mushroom-Spinach Lasagna, beloved by vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Looking for more ideas to round out the cookout? Check out these July 4th recipes. And if you’re new to slow cookers (or even if you’re not), make sure to check out our page of slow-cooker tips and tricks.

 

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