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5 Freezer to Slow Cooker Summer Dishes


August 1, 2014
By: Kyrie Collins
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Many people use their slow cooker in the winter months to make delicious comfort foods like stews, soups, and casseroles, but it is perfect for summer cooking too! Spend the day at the pool or the park and let your appliance do all the cooking, without heating up your kitchen!

Freezer to slow cooker meals are my favorite. I can devote one afternoon to meal preparation and make enough dinners to feed my family for a week. Double or triple it to make extra meals to take to a friend or neighbor in need, or to save for one of those too-busy-to-cook weeks.

Print out the following recipes and laminate them (you can use clear packing tape if you don’t have a laminator) so you can easily reuse the instructions over and over. Fill a gallon-size zipper bag with the contents of each meal and tape the instructions to the outside. Move a bag from the freezer to your refrigerator the night before you plan to cook it to let it thaw overnight, then place the contents of the bag (along with any additional ingredients) in your slow cooker the next day.

SAVORY CHICKEN
IN THE FREEZER BAG: 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup honey, 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
IN THE SLOW COOKER: Place contents of bag in slow cooker and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.
ON THE PLATE: Serve with quinoa and steamed green beans.

HAWAIIAN MEATBALLS
IN THE FREEZER BAG: 1 can pineapple chunks (do not drain), 1 large green pepper (cut into bite-size chunks), 1/2 cup honey, 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch
IN THE SLOW COOKER: Place contents of bag and a 32-ounce package of cooked frozen meatballs in slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours.
ON THE PLATE: Serve with brown rice, a large salad, and sliced pineapple (grilled if you have time)

BBQ RIBS
IN THE FREEZER BAG: Stir together 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; rub all over 3-4 pounds trimmed pork ribs and place meat in the bag (may need to cut ribs to get them to fit)
IN THE SLOW COOKER: Slice an onion and lay rings on the bottom of a greased slow cooker. Add ribs; pour 1/2 cup apple juice over ribs. cook on low 8-10 hours.
ON THE PLATE: Serve with baked beans, grilled corn, and a large salad. Note: You can serve the ribs as is, but to add a little crunch, coat with BBQ sauce and broil for 5 minutes on a foil-lined cookie sheet.

PULLED PORK SANDWICHES
IN THE FREEZER BAG: 3-pound pork loin roast (OK, you don’t actually have to put it into a zipper bag … just leave it wrapped as you purchased it!)
IN THE SLOW COOKER: Slice an onion and lay rings on the bottom of a greased slow cooker. Add contents of bag and 1/2 cup water. Cook on LOW 8-10 hours. Carefully remove meat and shred using two forks. Dispose of the onions and juices. Return shredded meat to the slow cooker and stir in 1 18-ounce bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (we love Stubb’s All-Natural BBQ Sauce in Spicy or Smokey Mesquite), 1 1/2 Tablespoons prepared mustard, 1 1/2 Tablespoons honey, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
ON THE PLATE: Serve on whole-grain buns with a side of coleslaw and fresh fruit.

STEAK FAJITAS
IN THE FREEZER BAG: 2 pounds round steak cut into strips, 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies, 2 Tablespoons lime juice, 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 onion (sliced), 3 bell peppers (seeded and sliced)
IN THE SLOW COOKER: Place contents of bag in slow cooker and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours.
ON THE PLATE: Serve with warm flour or corn tortillas and fajita toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, and pico de gallo or salsa. NOTE: I prefer my onions and peppers crunchy, so instead of adding them to the bag and slow cooker, I sauté them in a skillet with a little olive oil while warming the tortillas in the oven (or microwave).