chicken lettuce wrapsI bought my first crock pot/slow cooker last fall. Once I started using it, I only wished I had been turned onto the brilliance of this appliance sooner. With summer here, I'm using mine more than ever. While I previously associated crock pots with hearty stews and warm winter-fueling foods, I've found a whole host of crock pot recipes perfect for warmer weather.

It's so much better than heating up the whole house with the oven, and I love setting off in the morning for a carefree summer day, only to come home to a house full of wonderful smells and dinner almost ready. Here are seven of my favorite summer crock pot recipes.

Pulled Pork

All barbecue food doesn't have to happen on the grill. This pulled pork is easy and makes some downright delicious sandwiches.

Bacon Bourbon Baked Beans

If the main course is happening on the grill, these beans are the perfect side dish. They're also great to bring to a picnic or other gathering.

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

This zesty, flavorful chicken cooks up in your slow cooker, then you just toss it on a nice cool, crisp salad when you're ready. It's a summer staple for me.

More from The Stir: 3 Delicious, Easy Ways to Do Fried Chicken & Potato Salad

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Just add to crisp lettuce leaves, roll, and eat. A more perfect summer meal I can't imagine.

Creamy Summer Vegetable Stew

Get all of those good-for-you veggies in one delicious bowl. It's especially satisfying if you grow some of them in your own garden!

Sweet and Sour Ribs

No smoke required for these tasty ribs. Just put them in your crock pot in the morning and dig in that night.

Beer Brats

These are incredibly easy to make, and so good you'll forget they weren't grilled.

What are your favorite summer crock pot recipes?

 

Image via snowpea&bokchoi/Flickr