Are you preparing your summer menus already?
May temperatures are climbing quickly, an indication for home chefs to begin alternative cooking methods besides the stove and oven. Local hardware stores suggest it’s time to get out the grill, and we can’t resist their urging. The unbeatable two-pack charcoal sales prices make it impossible to pass up. Supermarkets tempt meat lovers to grab the hot sales on ribeye steaks, hamburgers, chicken, and hot dogs. But wait! Grilled is good but not seven days a week. Let’s check out those alternatives.
Slow Cooker Meals
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Go about your day without worrying about dinner when you plan a slow cooker meal ahead of time. Cook steak, hamburger, chicken, or hot dogs. You’ll find plenty of recipes for any of these meats. Need ideas? Try these:
- slow cooker ribeye and vegetables – Cook your ribeye in the slow cooker. Add vegetables, too. Easy and tasty meal.
- Barbecue Shredded Chicken – Slow cook chicken all day with your favorite seasonings and barbecue sauce, or try out the Barbecue Shredded Chicken recipe.
- chili and hot dogs – Make a big batch of this summer chili. Add a package of hot dogs to it. Serve on buns or in a bowl with crushed crackers on top.
- meatballs – Shape hamburger into meatballs and slow cook them in spaghetti sauce all day. Serve over noodles or in a po’boy sandwich.
- meatloaf – Season your hamburger and slow cook as a meatloaf topped with ketchup.
- hot dog mac ‘n’ cheese – Macaroni and cheese can be made in the slow cooker. It only takes a couple of hours at the most. Add hot dogs. Easy meal.
Don’t feel like cooking? Make a salad. Hot summer, or spring, days cause certain individuals to prefer eating lighter meals rather than heavy red beef or even chicken. Save the leftover grilled steak or chicken, slice it into strips, heat up in the microwave or skillet, and serve on top of a salad. That way, all family members will be happy. The ones who don’t want meat can eat only the salad. Meat lovers can eat their salad with the leftover meat.
Chopped vegetable salads taste delicious any time of the year but are especially light for spring and summer lunches. Use a variety of vegetables, add different toppings, and you won’t get tired of salads. If you eat them every day, that’s another story.
Simple Summer Recipes, the new cookbook scheduled for June 15 publication, includes salads such as Angie’s Chopped Vegetable Salad, Broccoli Apple Salad, and more.
Pressure Cooker Dinners
If you haven’t yet purchased a pressure cooker, you don’t know what you’re missing. Purchase one now before summer arrives because you don’t have to heat up the kitchen with baking and cooking. Make an entire dinner in the pressure cooker. It’s easy to use and comes with recipes. Choose one with a slow cooker option.
I received a new Farberware electric pressure cooker as a gift. A friend of mine, a food blogger who cooks in an electric pressure cooker often, came over one Saturday with her husband and son. While the guys helped us with some much-needed landscaping, she helped me figure out how to use the new pressure cooker.
My mother used the old kind of pressure cooker that you set on a stove burner to cook. I traveled in an RV for years and used the stove, oven, electric griddle, slow cooker, and microwave – basic kitchen appliances, but never a pressure cooker. Since mine was a gift, I didn’t need to determine which is best, Instant Pots or pressure cookers. I’ve read reviews and opinions and have come to the conclusion that for me, the electric pressure cooker works perfectly. However, you may prefer the Instant Pot brand. There is an Instant Pot brand that is 7-in-1 programmable and has a pressure cooker and slow cooker similar – and it has a yogurt maker.
The Farberware pressure cooker, 7-in-1 programmable, is easy to clean. The inner pot and lid are removable which makes it convenient for cleaning. Nylon kitchen utensils, heat-proof plastic, or wooden cooking utensils are recommended for the non-stick pot. Cooking option buttons include:
- Time Cook
- Keep Warm
- Slow Cook
- Sear – Roast
- Delay Timer
Cooking with the Farberware Pressure Cooker prepares meals conveniently. I cooked a pork roast, using the Sear – Roast and Time Cook options, with red potatoes, onions, and carrots for my first meal in the pressure cooker. See the recipe and photos below:
Pressure Cooker Pork Roast Meal
Pressure cooker meal-in-one pork roast & veggies
- 1 package pork roast (two small roasts in one package)
- 10 red potatoes
- 1 yellow onion
- 10 carrots
- 1 teaspoon Weber Smokey Mesquite
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Peppercorn Medley
- 2 teaspoon Santa Fe Seasons Six Seasonings
- 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1-2/3 cup water
- 1 cup buttermilk
Season the meat, cut the potatoes in half, cut each carrot in two or three pieces, and cut the onion into large pieces.
Plug the pressure cooker in, push the Start button, and push the Sear-Roast button.
Place the meat into the pressure cooker pot with the coconut oil and sear, and keep the lid off while you sear the roast.
Turn the roast with a nonskid spatula so that you can sear the sides, add one cup of water and one cup of buttermilk, then cook the pork roast on Time Cook for 30 minutes then press the quick pressure release.
When the roast is done, press the Stop button, and add all the other ingredients into the pot on top of the seared roast.
Lock the lid on the cooker, and select Sear-Roast and cook for 20 minutes and press the quick pressure release.
Open the lid, and take the meat and vegetables out and onto a platter.
For the gravy, mix the flour and 2/3 cup water in a cup then cook on Sear-Roast and cook for 10-15 minutes, until gravy is thickened.
You can substitute your favorite seasonings in the place of Six Seasonings, Smokey Mesquite, and Peppercorn Medley. At least add the measurements indicated. However, you may want to add more of the peppercorn and mesquite, according to your taste.
If you have a kitchen herb garden like I do, snip a few rosemary twigs to make an olive oil bread dip. First, wash the rosemary then take the green rosemary off of the twig. See recipe:
Rosemary Bread Dip
A rosemary and olive oil bread dip
- 2-3 rosemary twigs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and honey I used Temecula Olive Oil Company's Honey California Balsamico Bianco
- 4 slices multi-grain bread
Wash the rosemary, take the rosemary leaves off and mix them with the oil, honey, and vinegar.
Toast the bread and slice it into fourths.
Serve as an appetizer or with a meal.
Planning summer menus can actually help you save money. Simply sitting down on a Sunday and writing down the meals for the week helps to steer clear of junk food at the supermarket. Smart meal planning makes nutritious eating easier to adhere to.
Which slow cooker, salads, and pressure cooker meals have you made that are great for summer? Share your favorite pressure cooker or summer meal ideas in the comments section on this page.
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