Slow-Cooker and Dutch Oven Meals for Summer

Though your slow cooker and Dutch oven are surely packed away in a dark corner of your kitchen cabinet, it’s time to take them out and dust them off. It may seem foolish to break out these heavy-duty pots that normally turn out hearty cold-weather meals, but there really is no better time to put these pots to use for an easy-to-prep summery spread.

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

©2012, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Shredded Pork and Pineapple Tacos

Making a fiesta in a slow cooker is a great alternative to turning on the stove. These spiced, fork-tender pork tacos get light, fragrant toppings, such as fresh pineapple, cilantro, lime wedges and piquant pickled red onions.

Get the Recipe: Shredded Pork and Pineapple Tacos

Pepper Pork Chops

Instead of firing up the grill for your pork chops, try slow-cooking them with caramelized onions and thyme. Sauteed fresh vegetables would make a great summer side dish for the peppery meat.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops

Asian BBQ Ribs

Whip up a quick, tangy Asian barbecue sauce and slather it on ribs before letting the slow cooker do all the work. Six to eight hours later, you'll have fall-off-the-bone meat.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Ribs

Cheeseburger Mac Attack

Feel the nostalgia with cheeseburger macaroni and cheese. Thanks to cauliflower and turkey meat, you won't even feel guilty about the carbo load.

Get the Recipe: Cheeseburger Mac Attack

Korean Nachos

These aren't your average ballpark nachos. Korean-marinated short ribs are cooked until they fall apart, then they're sprinkled over addictive fried wonton chips.

Get the Recipe: Korean Nachos

Hummus For Real

The secret to Alton Brown's super-creamy hummus is cooking chickpeas in a slow cooker before blending the legumes to a smooth finish.

Get the Recipe: Hummus For Real

Slow-Cooker Bread

As this bread bakes slowly throughout the day, your house will smell like a bakery and you won't overheat in the process. It's a win-win situation.

Get the Recipe: Crock Pot Bread (Fast Bread in a Slow Cooker)

Chicken Jambalaya

Studded with fresh peas and peppers, this chicken jambalaya is the perfect light meal to make in your slow cooker or Dutch oven.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Jambalaya

Turkey Roast Dip with Melted Gruyere

This recipe begins with turkey and fresh herb butter roasted together in a slow cooker, and it ends as a baguette sandwich dipped in an herbaceous turkey au jus.

Get the Recipe: Turkey Roast Dip with Melted Gruyere

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with Blue Cheese Aioli

This clever take on buffalo chicken wings will be the star of any summertime cookout as the chicken becomes meltingly tender in the slow cooker and each sandwich gets topped with crisp celery leaves and blue cheese aioli.

Get the Recipe: Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Aioli

Risotto Primavera

Creamy risotto is slowly cooked with seasonal ingredients including fava beans, asparagus and zucchini. Serve with a lightly dressed salad on the side for a wonderful vegetarian main.

Get the Recipe: Risotto Primavera

Drip Beef Sandwiches

The tantalizing aroma from your Dutch oven will test your patience, but you’ll find it’s worth the wait when the seared beef is braised until tender and falling apart. Top each sandwich with peppers and caramelized onions and enjoy this summertime main with a cold beer.

Get the Recipe: Drip Beef

Irish Oatmeal with Bananas and Berries

Oatmeal is more of a winter comfort food, but when it tastes like banana bread and is topped with fresh berries, it's perfect for summer too.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Irish Oatmeal with Bananas and Berries