As temperatures ramp up, many people slide their crock-pots into the back of the cabinet and dust them off once cooler months roll around. I am a year-around crock-pot lover—and firmly believe the dog days of summer are the perfect time to bust it out for an easy meal or two during the week. Below are three easy summer crock-pot meals.
This is something that we cook up almost every week around our home. It is so simple and extremely versatile—the taco chicken can be used on tacos, in pitas, on flatbread, in a salad, the list goes on and on.
Directions: Place chicken breasts or thighs into the crock pot. For the taco seasoning you can either add a packet of pre-made taco seasoning from the grocery or below is the recipe I use to make my own. Add a cup or two of water (or chicken broth) and a scoop of salsa. Cover and let it cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Right before serving, dice and slice all of your favorite taco toppings (tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, avocado, bell pepper). Warm your taco sized tortillas. Pull the taco chicken out of the crock pot and shred it in a bowl and then start stacking those tacos.
I have been making my own taco seasoning for a couple years now because I find that the store-bought variety can be a bit salty. (Note: I originally found this recipe on Super Healthy Kids and modified it slightly.) When I make the seasoning I prepare enough to store in the pantry so I have it on hand. Below are measuring estimates for the taco seasoning.
- 2 tablespoons of dehydrated onion flakes
- 4 teaspoons of mild chili powder
- 2 teaspoon of red pepper/chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 2 teaspoons of cumin
- 2 teaspoons of salt (optional in my opinion)
- 2 teaspoons of corn starch
My kids love to help prepare the seasoning and it gives them a chance to practice using measuring spoons. Plus, it is something that they can stick their finger in and sample at the end.
I know, chili during the summer? Yes. This isn’t a hearty chili of winter; when topped with sliced avocado this screams summer.
Directions: Rinse and add one can of black beans, one can of kidney beans and one can of garbanzo beans to your crock pot. Add a can of diced tomatoes (we prefer the fire roasted variety). One small can of diced green chilies. One small can of tomato sauce (8 oz). Toss in a packet of your favorite chili seasoning. Since there isn’t any meat, this is a recipe that can be ready in just 2-3 hours when cooked on high.
Scoop the chili into a bowl and top with your favorite summer condiments. Such as, avocado, corn, cabbage, cheese, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.
We often make turkey meatballs in the crock pot because they come out so tender and delicious. I also have one son that loves spaghetti so much he would eat it for every meal if we let him, and another that wouldn’t touch a piece of pasta for anything in the world. Crock pot meatballs allow us to make both meatball sandwiches and spaghetti, so everyone is happy.
Directions: Combine 1lb. ground turkey or ground beef with 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs, ¼ cup of onion, 1 egg, ¼ cup parmesan and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Form the meatballs. Cover the bottom of the crock pot with some sauce, to prevent sticking. Place the uncooked meatballs on the bottom of the crock pot and cover with your favorite pasta sauce until they are all covered up. You can always add additional garlic cloves, parsley and diced tomatoes to fit your family’s preferences. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
Scoop the meatballs directly from the crock pot and onto your favorite pasta or sandwich bread.
A few other favorite easy crock-pot meals:
- BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (Family Fresh Meals)
- Crock-Pot Chicken Caesar Sandwiches (Two Healthy Kitchens)
- Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese (Delish)