It can be tough to find the motivation to make home-cooked meals — especially in the summer, when you’d rather spend your valuable free time outside in Aderra’s beautiful complex.

Using a slow cooker is a great alternative to slaving away in the kitchen for hours while the weather is sunny and warm. Try these 3 simple slow cooker recipes to free up your meal prep time and keep your taste buds satisfied this summer.

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Most recipes for split pea soup include ham, but this vegetarian version does not. It still packs a punch in flavor, and the grilled cheese croutons are like the icing on the cake. It serves four.

Soup ingredients:

1 pound dried green split peas

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 small white onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 bay leaves

Group black pepper to taste

6 cups water

Crouton ingredients:

4 slices sourdough bread, cut into bite-sized squares

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces smoked cheese, cut into thin slices

To make the soup:

Put an even layer of split peas in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the carrots, onion, celery, oil, salt, bay leaves, and pepper. Pour in the water. Cover and cook the mixture until the peas are soft. This should take around 5 to 6 hours on high, or 8 to 10 hours on low. Stir the soup until well mixed.

To make the croutons:

Set the oven to broil. Toss the bread and olive oil in a bowl. Place on a baking sheet in an even layer. Spread the cheese on half of the pieces. Broil until the cheese is melted. Sandwich the bread pieces together and broil until golden brown. Serve with the soup.

Barbecue Pulled Pork

This dish can be simmering indoors while you’re outside enjoying our resort-style swimming pool. Barbecue pulled pork is the perfect addition to any quick summer dish, such as burgers and salad. It serves eight people.

Ingredients:

1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce

4-4 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces and trimmed
Ground pepper and Kosher salt to taste

Mix together the onion, ketchup, dark brown sugar, cider vinegar, molasses, Dijon mustard, and Asian chili sauce. Pour over the pork. Cook on high for about 6 hours, or until the pork can be easily shredded. Move the pork to a work surface and shred the meat with 2 forks.

Pour the ketchup sauce mixture into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook on high until the sauce thickens, after about 15 minutes. Stir the pork into the sauce and season as needed with salt and pepper. Serve with a side of coleslaw or on some hamburger buns with sliced onions and dill pickles.

The pork can be refrigerated and enjoyed for the next four days.

Paleo, Gluten-free and Dairy-Free Garlic Honey Chicken

This recipe is the full package, combining meat, veggies, and sauce all in a single pot. It boasts a sweet and tangy flavor. Serves eight.

Ingredients:

8 chicken thighs, skin removed

½ cup honey

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon chili flakes

2 peppers, sliced (red, orange, or yellow bell)

1 yellow onion, thickly sliced

1 zucchini sliced into 2-inch spears

1 tablespoon arrowroot starch for Paleo diets

1 tablespoon water

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Put the chicken thighs in the slow cooker. Whisk together the honey, balsamic vinegar, garlic, chili flakes, and salt. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high. Add the bell peppers, onion, and zucchini, and cook for another hour.

Mix the arrowroot and water until smooth. Pour into the slow cooker and mix the ingredients together. Cook for 10 minutes until thickened. Add the cilantro, toss, and serve.

You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen every night to enjoy a delicious meal. With a slow cooker you can free up your evening hours so you can relax. These recipes make nutritious food easy and enjoyable, so why not invite your friends over to try out one of them tonight?

Contact us today to view the luxury kitchens at Aderra that are ideal for preparing sumptuous summer meals.