Summer and cooking don't really go together—heat on heat, ugh. Well, unless you're barbecuing. Okay, so maybe I should say summer and indoor cooking don't really go together, given the trapped heat and all. So, when you need to make food for the week and can't even think about turning on the oven since it's so sweltering, there are some go-to summer crockpot recipes you should have on hand. If you're anything like me, you don't actually feel like something to eat when it's hot out unless it's staring you in the face—and these options will literally make your mouth water.
As for what to dish up, there's Mexican chili lime chicken, a vegetarian quinoa dish packed with veggies, and even curry Thai short rib lettuce wraps. Each recipe is refreshing and light (enough) for summer. Plus, this is the busiest season of all, so just throw in your ingredients, set your timer, and go. When you get home, you'll be so lucky you took a few minutes to whip up one of these summer crockpot recipes.
Mexican Chili Lime Chicken
Burrito bowls are quite possibly one of the best meals ever created. In this recipe, Mexican chili lime chicken gets injected with all the flavors in the crockpot; honey and brown sugar balance out the chiles and paprika. Leftovers can be turned into tacos or salads all week long (seriously).
Crispy Chicken Carnitas
You're probably familiar with pork carnitas, but chicken carnitas are a fresh, summery new take on the dish. The meat is slathered in spices and slow-cooked in beer and lime juice. Once it's almost ready, pop it under the broiler for five minutes to get it nice and crispy (but only if you want). Put heaps in your favorite taco shell—from tortilla to lettuce wraps—and enjoy. Bonus points that leftovers can be frozen for up to three months.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Teriyaki
Chicken teriyaki is an amazing comfort food that doesn't get as much credit as, say, a mac and cheese. There's something about the just sweet enough sauce, protein, and sticky rice that's perfection. This simply divine version has a sauce made from soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and cornstarch. Put over rice or indulge slider-style.
Mexican Quinoa in the Crockpot
Calling all vegetarians and veggie lovers. This quinoa salad is hearty and oh so good. A mixture of the grain, corn, tomatoes, black beans, peppers, and chickpeas cooks up really nice on low. There are two ways to serve it: warm with melted cheddar on top or chilled as a cold salad (perfect for summer lunches).
White Chicken Chili
Is it just us, or is there something about a white chili versus a red version that channels summer? The recipe calls for green enchilada sauce, great Northern beans, fire-roasted corn and chilies, chicken stock, and cream cheese to fancy up the chicken. Once cooked, top with all of the fixings like sour cream, salsa, and cheese. If you're throwing a party, try making a batch as a dip for tortilla chips.
Slow-Cooker Carne Adobada
Carne adobada is basically magic—the most delectable mixture of braised beef, onions, and peppers. The sauce comprises chipotle paste, tomatillo husks, chicken broth, lime juice, and jalapeños. This recipe's mixture can work for tacos, enchilada filling, or even the base of a quinoa bowl.
Curried Thai Short Rib Lettuce Wraps
We love lettuce wraps for tacos because they add just that bit of water and crunch—but they just so happen to be as good when they serve as vessels for short ribs. Add mango, a homemade peanut sauce, and a squeeze of lime and you're good to go. Heads up: Things may get messy.
So the next time you're on the hunt for a seasonal dish you can throw in the slow cooker, choose from one of these delicious summer crockpot recipes, and you won't be disappointed.