With all the summer parties and potlucks on the horizon, my slow cooker usage is about to be put into high gear. In addition to its regular spot in my weekly meal plan, it is my go-to for pulling together big-batch sides made for sharing.
Whether I'm the one hosting or I'm heading to a potluck, I use it for make-and-take sides that can be kept warm and served straight from the slow cooker. Here are seven of my top picks.
As we slide into summer, this silky mix of seasonal veggies is the number-one side I will be turning into for all parties and get-togethers. Serve it warm and straight from the slow cooker, or make it ahead and serve chilled.
I love serving this savory, custardy pudding in place of corn on the cob during summer months. When fresh corn is in season I use that; otherwise frozen works just as well.
No matter what's on tap for the main course, warm sweet corm simmered in milk and butter is always a good idea.
Caponata, a sweet and sour Sicilian eggplant relish, is often served as a dip with rounds of baguette, but it is an A+ partner to almost anything that comes off the grill. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
This classic crowd-pleaser is just too good to be reserved for appetizer territory alone. Break this out as a side dish and be prepared to be the hero of the party.
This mac and cheese does double duty, pleasing both camps of mac and cheese-lovers. Served right away, the result is creamy and scoopable (similar to a stovetop mac and cheese). But if you set the slow cooker to warm, the noodles soak up the sauce for a texture more akin to a baked, casserole-style mac and cheese.
What better occasion than a party or potluck to add fresh baked bread to the table? And you didn't even have to turn on the oven. Win!