Slow Cookers Go Outdoors #GuestPost

I love finding summertime recipe ideas that are family friendly, easy to clean up, and save money. Taking the meal outside is perfect for minimizing your mess and having tons of summertime fun. If you agree, you've gotto read today's guest post is from Dinner With Joy - Kitchen Scentse.

Slow Cookers Go Outdoors

On March 18, in my blog, I discussed using slow cookers for outdoor meals, focusing on the neat, ready serve option to grilling they offered busy people. Recalling years running the meatball sandwich booth at school fairs, I mentioned they could be a big help entertaining outdoors especially for kids parties and act as a safety measure. That point was brought to my attention this week. 

Since our swim club is just across the street, my neighbor volunteered her yard as a base for her nephew’s 9th birthday party. The plan was organized: children would swim, eat burgers at her house, then be bussed to an arcade for cake and ice cream. She and her sister decided only one other mother was needed to help keep the kids busy with lawn games while the burgers grilled.

Whether swimming built their appetites, or the moon was phasing,  the only thing interesting the children was grilling. They clustered around the grill, giving directions, offering to help, even trying to touch “my” burger. The three women were occupied preventing someone getting burned. My neighbor was still concerned telling me about yesterday. Alternatively ladling meatballs and sauce from a slow cooker onto rolls really appealed to her and she tells me to her sister and her friends, too, for future parties.

Normal dinners and children’s parties aren’t the only things to benefit from using slow cookers for outdoor meals. Many recipes appeal to all ages for casual entertaining; food stays fresh, lids keep bugs off and there’s no greasy grill to clean. Understand I love grilling, but it’s easier to wash the pot than scrub the grill. All you need is an outlet, an extension cord and the strength to carry the cooker out at any stage in preparation. You can even do a roast, slice it or shred the meat ahead and return it to the pot to stay warm until serving, but, one warning, never use a cooker to re-heat food.

My blog lists recipes showing the range of dishes slow cookers make for outdoor casual eating. You may be tempted to buy another pot, or at least borrow from your guests before a get-together to prepare the whole meal. These recipes can be multiplied to increase yields but they are only examples to show you the dishes’ construction and point you toward creating your own versions. I’m omitting soups, vegetables and desserts which are better served cold in summer. . 

One additional note, my March 18, posting covers basic facts about slow cooking. First know your appliance. Cookers vary in timing according to manufacturer. Until you’re familiar with the way yours responds, check the cooking progress. In that posting, there’s a conversion chart. Many recipes convert from standard to slow cooker and vica-versa. If you’re interested in using the cooker for some of your favorite recipes, or there’s one you want to try to make conventionally, first consult a conversion chart.

Come join my discussions. 

About the Author
Hi! My name is Joy Wielland. For over fifteen years I owned Suddenly Supper, a personal chef service. I had to be able to offer my clients unlimited menu choices, customized recipes, top quality ingredients, quote a reasonable price, which covered my expenses and still meet my bottom line, all while buying retail. To do this I had stay organized in my planning and be an informed shopper. To help, I developed a method to follow, which when applied to my personal shopping, saved me and the friends with whom I shared it, time and money.

I’ve also written two books illustrating this method of monitoring costs. The first, Dinners With Joy is a menu cookbook, with shopping information and twelve weeks of daily menus, each with cooking tips and complete shopping list including a pantry check. The other book: How to Control Food Bills subtitled The Diet for the Dollar Plan defines store types, includes directives, incentives, helpful tips and over 100 pages of data offering quick references to substitutions, measurements, timing, and information on meats, poultry seafood, oils cheeses and other foods, a valuable kitchen tool alone.


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