Busy Summer? Put Your Slow Cooker to WORK.

Unless you live in Northern Indiana, you are probably aware that summer has arrived ;) You may or may not know, but I am the slow cooker QUEEN. I own 4 of those bad boys...it's an obsession! In fact, we get so much use out of ours during the summer that we haven't refilled our propane tank since 2017! #WINNING 

I love summer. I love hot weather. I love squeezing every minute out of the sunshine that I can. I also enjoy cooking, but summer > cooking. The last thing Doug or I want to do is stand at the stove or grill creating a meal from start to finish. We would rather be playing tennis in our driveway (we classy like that), catching up with friends, or going down to the local elementary playground with the girl tribe. 

I know...you're probably yelling at the screen telling me the crock pot is for soups and beef and noodles. I promise it isn't just for fall and winter comfort food. One solution that we have found fits into the fun of summer has been to set up "bars" -- themed around whatever is in our crock pot. Not only does it make shopping for the week easy, but the girls have so much fun building their plates themselves.

We love the way this shredded chicken turns out for a taco bar. We are the only ones in our house who like chicken tacos, so in our mini crock pot we make a pound of ground beef for the kids. The slow cooker is my absolute FAVORITE way to cook ground beef for tacos. You have to try it!  We cut most recipes in half, but if there are leftovers we either freeze, save for lunches, or plan a "nacho bar" for later in the week. Here are other ideas to use up leftovers.

Baked Potato night is also a fav. Yep -- we LOVE them in the crock pot! It does make the potatoes softer if you rub a bit of olive oil on them before you place them in foil. Don't skip that step! The girls like to top theirs with chili and broccoli. Next to the big mama I have the mini going to warm up the chili. Seriously, the 2 qt crock pot is a game changer if you don't have one. Amy's is our go to!  To make broccoli prep faster, I buy the steam bags from the freezer section. Other ideas are bacon, cheese, chives, etc! Sweet potatoes work great too

We make this Sausage + Peppers recipe at least once a month. This is one of few meals that I can get everyone in our house to eat. The best part? It's even better reheated. We usually to serve this over a bed of lettuce with some rice or garlic bread. If your family doesn't mind some heat, I recommend throwing in a small jar of drained banana peppers

Last but not least, we love fresh peaches and this crock pot peach cobbler is bomb. Not quite as good as cooking a cobbler from scratch, but tit is a close second :D

Let me know some of your favorite ways to use the slow cooker year round! 

I sent a survey to you amazing people that stop by readers earlier this season. After writing about a broad variety of topics for 6 months, I wanted to ask what you wanted to read. I was surprised 82% of you responded you would like this space to share more lifestyle posts. I don't consider myself to be much of a "lifestyle" writer, but I am happy to share what helps keep my life sane from time to time :) 

PS: These are our all time favorite to-go containers to pack up those leftovers!

PSS: I really wanted to type "werk" in the title, but ya know.....

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