10 summer recipes for the slow cooker

On a steamy summer day, nothing is more miserable than standing over the flickering flames of a hot grill or tending to the smoldering coals of a smoker. And don’t even think about turning on the oven. If you’re looking for a cooler way to cook, consider using an appliance you’ve likely had tucked away since winter: the crock pot. Yes, your slow-cooking machine isn’t just for hearty stews and comforting classics — it’s a great way to prepare summer favorites as well. From peach cobbler to short rib sandwiches, here are some of our favorite summer slow cooker recipes.
This June 8, 2015 photo shows bratwurst grinders with apple, cheddar and sauerkraut in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
No need to light the grill or boil the beer. These bratwursts cook for a few hours in the crock pot with onions, apple cider and herbs. A crunchy and creamy broccoli slaw adds a refreshing topping to the summer sandwich. Recipe: Chicken Bratwurst and Onions with Broccoli Slaw (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) (AP/Matthew Mead)
** FOR USE WITH AP WEEKLY FEATURES **  Peach and Berry Almond Cobbler combines delectable summer fruits in a familiar dessert with a nontraditional bonus almond flavor in its dough, which includes almond paste. It's simple to make from scratch. (AP Photo/Andre Prost/Odense)
Making a cobbler, pie or buckle is a great way to make use of summer’s fresh berries. The good news is, you don’t need to touch the oven to enjoy the fruit-filled dessert. In this recipe from the Food Network, all of the ingredients can be assembled in the slow cooker, and in three to four hours, it’s done. Just don’t forget a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. Recipe: Slow Cooker Berry Cobbler (AP Photo/Andre Prost/Odense) (AP)
This Jan. 19, 2015 photo shows slow cooker pulled chicken Greek pitas in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
A simple crock-pot pulled chicken recipe goes a long way. You can use the meat to make everything from quesadillas to pizza, nachos and more. But if you want to keep the oven off, try these Greek pitas. Adding cucumber to the sandwich adds even more coolness with every bite. Recipe: Pulled Chicken Greek Pitas (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) (AP/Matthew Mead)
Traditional Pork Tacos
If there’s talk of tacos at your next summer shindig, remember that your slow cooker can be your friend in the preparation. Cook the meat in a crock pot to bring out all of the flavors while keeping it moist. Then spoon the pork onto tortillas of your choice. Recipe: Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/bhofack2)
This Nov. 10, 2014, photo shows slow cooker short ribs in Concord, N.H. Slow cookers are a lot different than a generation ago. Many models now let you brown or saute right inside them, which saves the step of having to brown meat or vegetables in a skillet on the stove, then transfer them to a slow cooker. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
The short ribs in this Associated Press recipe can be enjoyed a number of different ways. The author suggests spooning the tender meat over a bed of noodles, rice, mashed potatoes or grits. However, the ribs can also be put on a sandwich — perfect for a summer picnic. Recipe: Slow Cooker Short Ribs (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) (AP/Matthew Mead)
Pulled Pork
This recipe needs a little bit of prep work, but turning the stove on for a few minutes is worth it for the flavors that come together in the slow cooker for 6 1/2 hours. This will be a sure crowd-pleaser at your next cookout. Recipe: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Bourbon-Peach Barbecue Sauce (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/docksnflipflops)
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES**      Cod With Tomatoes and Fennel is seen in this Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 photo. While seafood is a less than common meal for a slow-cooker this dish solves the problem of mushy results by adding the fish at the end of the cooking cycle.   (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
Take a break from the burgers and keep your dinner light and healthy with this fresh cod and vegetable dish. Recipe: Cod with Tomatoes and Fennel (AP Photo/Larry Crowe) (AP/Larry Crowe)
Tuna and White Bean Salad
You can even make salads in the slow cooker. The next time you’re in search of a protein-packed side or main dish, try this recipe for a lemony white bean salad. Recipe: Lemony White Bean and Carrot Spinach Salad (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/travellinglight)
Peach Cobbler
This recipe for peach cobbler doesn’t get any easier. Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, dump them in the slow cooker and cook the dessert for 3 hours. Recipe: Slow Cooker Peach Cobbler (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Stephanie Frey)
This Monday, April 4, 2011 photo shows quick Pacific cod and shrimp cioppino in Concord, N.H.  Looking to score a nutritional home run this spring? Consider cioppino, the tomato-based fish stew created by Italian immigrants in San Francisco.    (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
For many, summer signifies seafood. Perhaps it’s all the trips to the beach and time spent by the water. Whatever the case may be, get your seafood fill with Cioppino, a traditional seafood stew. This recipe from Giada De Laurentiis calls for clams, mussels, shrimp and salmon, and takes just a few hours in the slow cooker to come together. Recipe: Slow Cooker Cioppino (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Matthew Mead)
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This June 8, 2015 photo shows bratwurst grinders with apple, cheddar and sauerkraut in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
** FOR USE WITH AP WEEKLY FEATURES **  Peach and Berry Almond Cobbler combines delectable summer fruits in a familiar dessert with a nontraditional bonus almond flavor in its dough, which includes almond paste. It's simple to make from scratch. (AP Photo/Andre Prost/Odense)
This Jan. 19, 2015 photo shows slow cooker pulled chicken Greek pitas in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Traditional Pork Tacos
This Nov. 10, 2014, photo shows slow cooker short ribs in Concord, N.H. Slow cookers are a lot different than a generation ago. Many models now let you brown or saute right inside them, which saves the step of having to brown meat or vegetables in a skillet on the stove, then transfer them to a slow cooker. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Pulled Pork
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES**      Cod With Tomatoes and Fennel is seen in this Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 photo. While seafood is a less than common meal for a slow-cooker this dish solves the problem of mushy results by adding the fish at the end of the cooking cycle.   (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
Tuna and White Bean Salad
Peach Cobbler
This Monday, April 4, 2011 photo shows quick Pacific cod and shrimp cioppino in Concord, N.H.  Looking to score a nutritional home run this spring? Consider cioppino, the tomato-based fish stew created by Italian immigrants in San Francisco.    (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

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