5 Simple Summer Family Dinners from the Slow Cooker

published Jun 25, 2021
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Credit: From Left to Right: Diana Yen, Joe Lingeman

Summer is in full swing at our house, which means between jumping into the lake, riding bikes, and running through the backyard sprinkler, we’re all hungrier than ever. We’ve spent much of the summer already eating easy no-cook dinners or leftovers. While that strategy has its own merits, this week I’m looking at my slow cooker to feed us hearty summer dinners without heating up the kitchen. Most of these recipes just require simple assembly before they cook for the day, and they take advantage of summer produce, dried beans, and bulk meats. Here’s what a week of simple summer slow cooker meals looks like at our house.

(Image credit: Diana Yen)

Monday: Slow Cooker Ratatouille

Yes, this recipe is an excuse to buy all the produce at the farmers market. Double up on the vegetables while you’re shopping for Friday’s pizza too. We’ll be serving this with grilled bread for adults and quick-cooking pasta for the kids.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Ratatouille

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Peach Carnitas

This taco Tuesday recipe makes a ton, which is perfect for feeding my hungry crowd and having leftovers to use later in the week. If you can’t find fresh peaches where you live, frozen peaches work well for the carnitas (and you can substitute plums or nectarines for the salsa).

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Peach Carnitas

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Baked beans for dinner was a direct request from a 9-year-old who loves this recipe. We’ll have these with a side of freezer biscuits and some celery and carrot sticks, but you could easily grill some sausages to serve alongside these, if beans feel like more of a side than an entrée.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Baked Beans

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Thursday: Slow Cooker Breakfast Burrito Bowls

Okay, so here’s my plan for Thursday: I’m going to substitute the sausage in this recipe for Tuesday’s pork and swap in last night’s baked beans. I’ll use a different salsa from Tuesday’s to keep things interesting, but this breakfast-for-dinner meal works well for using up leftovers.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Breakfast Burrito Bowls

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Friday: Veggie Supreme Pizza

Tonight the slow cooker is staying, and I’m totally willing to heat up the kitchen for pizza because pizza Friday is our tradition. I’m making a big veggie pie from whatever market vegetables don’t get used throughout the week.

Get the recipe: Veggie Supreme Pizza

New to meal planning? Start here.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 5 Simple Summer Dinners from the Slow Cooker