I love to cook, but when it’s 100 degrees outside my desire to turn on the stove melts away like an ice cube on a hot sidewalk. One good thing about summers in Texas, the heat seems to bring out my creativity. I’ve devised several ways to continue to enjoy my favorite meals without using my oven.
My slow cooker is my “go-to” appliance in the wintertime for soups and savory dishes, but I’ve discovered that it’s perfect for the summer months as well.
The slow cooker can be used, with a few adaptations, for many recipes that are traditionally prepared in the oven. Most slow cookers are sold with a recipe booklet. Expanding on the suggested slow cooker recipes to incorporate ones that usually require baking time in the oven is a great way to conserve energy and keep your home cool.
Summertime Hawaiian Chicken
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Hot cooked rice
Thinly sliced green onions,
Step 1. Coat chicken thighs with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with poultry seasoning and cayenne pepper. Place chicken in a 3-5 quart slow cooker.
Step 2. Using a medium-sized bowl, mix together the pineapple, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, mustard, cinnamon, black pepper, onion and garlic until well-combined. Cover the chicken thighs in the slow cooker with the pineapple mixture.
Step 3. Cook, covered, on low until chicken is tender, 4-5 hours. Serve with rice. If desired, top with green onions. Serves 4.
Angela Shelf Medearis is a culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her website is www.divapro.com.