Editor's Note: The following is an article written by Cooking Channel personality Kelsey Nixon. Here, Kelsey makes a case for summertime slow cooking.
When I got married a few years ago, I was kindly gifted seven slow cookers. You heard me right: seven of them. One of them was even in the shape of a football! I tucked them away, giving them to friends and family who were interested, because I was sure I'd never have use for a slow cooker.
Thank goodness I've put that silly idea out of my head and started embracing my slow cooker! I really fell in love with this essential kitchen tool during cooler months for those hearty dishes that cook low and slow for hours on end. It's the epitome of little effort with big payoff. Ever since, I've been on a crusade to make sure that everyone I know is in on the slow cooker secret. Everyone should have one — I'm convinced.
Find out why slow cooker recipes are ideal warm-weather foods when you keep reading.
While brainstorming ideas for season two of Kelsey's Essentials, I focused on solutions for making the most out of cooking when it's hot out. One of the first ideas that came to mind was meals that don't require turning on the oven. This sparked the idea for a show that was dedicated to using your slow cooker not only in cooler months, but during the summertime as well. I started testing recipes and was sold!
Many recipes that are ideal for slow cooking are also great as leftovers. Call me crazy, but I always welcome a night off in the kitchen, especially during the Summer when I would rather be spending as much time outside as possible. By shifting to light and easy dishes, I was able to come up with fantastic Summer dinner options, like shredded pork and pineapple tacos, which translate into Summer rolls for the next night. I had a blast coming up with dessert in the slow cooker: I developed a tres leches bread pudding that was a huge success. With its beautifully caramelized edges and custardy center, removing it from the slow cooker is like magic.
If you're like me and have limited kitchen storage space, kitchen tools must be treated like wardrobe. If it hasn't been used in six months, then it's out! This puts the slow cooker in dangerous donating territory. Now that I'm embracing this tool during Summer months, it's safe to say that this essential appliance has a permanent home in my kitchen.
Want more Kelsey? Then check out her show, Kelsey's Essentials on the Cooking Channel, airing Saturdays at 2:30 (EDT). This week, she'll share more tips on how to utilize your slow cooker for Summer cooking.