Ten Healthy Crock Pot Recipes
When you’re trying to take control of your health and your diet, one of the best things you can do is make it easy on yourself. If you’re particularly busy or just don’t want to stand at the stove cooking every night, the crockpot can become your new best friend for a healthful diet. Take a look at these ten crockpot recipes – they’re good for you, full of flavor, and easy to pull together. Some don’t even require any cooking at all.
1. Wine and Tomato Braised Chicken. Cook 4 slices of bacon until crispy. Drain off all but 2 tbsp of fat from the pan, and cook a thinly sliced onion until softened. Add 4 cloves of garlic (minced), one teaspoon each of dried thyme, fennel seeds, and ground black pepper, and a bay leaf; cook for a minute. Add a cup of dry white wine, bring to a boil for two minutes, add a 28-oz can of whole tomatoes (chopped), season with salt, and stir well, scraping up all the bits. Place 10 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs into the crock pot, crumble the bacon on top, and then add the tomato mixture. Cook fr about 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Wine Tomato Braised Chicken
2. Slow-Cooked Brisket in Onion Gravy. Cut a 5lb brisket into two or three pieces, so it will fit well in a dutch oven. Heat some oil in the dutch oven and brown the brisket over medium, one piece at a time. Move the brisket to the slow cooker. Add more oil to the dutch oven and cook 4 large onions, thinly sliced, until they’re translucent; add 6 minced cloves of garlic, a teaspoon each of dried thyme and black pepper, cook for a minute and add a 6-ounce can of tomato paste. Add two cups of beef broth, bring to a boil, and then transfer the whole mixture to the crockpot. Cover and cook until tender – 4 to 5 hours on high, 8 to 10 hours on low. Move the brisket to a cutting board and slice; transfer the gravy to a pan. Bring the gravy to a boil to reduce it slightly, about five minutes. Meanwhile, mix two tablespoons each of butter and flour. Add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to the gravy and simmer. Stir in half the butter mixture and cook, stirring, until the gravy thickens. If it doesn’t thicken within a couple of minutes, add the rest of the butter mixture and continue cooking. Serve the brisket with the gravy.
Slow Cooked Brisket
3. Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash. Combine 3 stalks of celery cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, a large onion chopped, a large butternut squash peeled and cubed, a pound of brown lentils, 4 cups of water, a can of broth, half a teaspoon of dried rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Spoon into bowls and top with shaved Parmesan or Romano cheese and fresh chopped parsley.
Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash
4. Chinese Pork and Vegetable Hot Pot. Place two cups of baby carrots and two turnips cut into wedges into the crockpot. Add about 2 and 1/4 pounds of boneless pork shoulder cut into cubes and the whites, sliced, from a bunch of scallions. Combine 1/2 cup water, 3 tablespoons dry sherry, 4 teaspoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2-4 teaspoons Chinese chile-garlic sauce (aka Rooster sauce) and 4 minced cloves of garlic in a pot and bring to a simmering boil; pour it into the crockpot. Add a cinnamon stick and a star anise pod. Cover and cook until the pork is tender, about 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Discard the seed pod and cinnamon stick. Mix 4 teaspoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and stir it into the crockpot, cover, and cook on high for about 15 minutes or until thickened. Serve and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
Chinese Pork and Vegetable Hot Pot
5. Fajita Stew. Cut a 2lb boneless beef top round steak into chunks and put in a crockpot. Add one chopped onion and four minced cloves of garlic. Mix together a packet of fajita mix (or two tablespoons of your homemade mix) with two cans of diced tomatoes, including juice, and pour the mixture into the crockpot. Add a can of black beans, rinsed and drained, and then add a green bell pepper and a red bell pepper, cut into strips. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours or until beef is tender. Combine 1/4 cup of flour with the same amount of water and stir into the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for about 15 minutes, until thickened. Serve with cooked rice or couscous, and top with sour cream.
6. Barley Risotto with Fennel. Crush two teaspoons of fennel seeds under a pan and put the seeds, a large fennel bulb (cored and diced), one cup of pearl barley (or short grain brown rice), a chopped carrot, a chopped shallot, and two minced cloves of garlic into the crockpot. Add four cups of chicken broth, a cup of water, and 1/3 cup dry white wine. Stir to combine, cover, and cook on high for about three hours, until the barley is tender but chewy and the risotto is thick and creamy. Just before serving, cook two cups frozen green beans according to the package and stir the green beans, half a cup of grated Parmesan, 1/3 cup olives, a tablespoon of lemon zest, and ground black pepper to taste. Add a little bit of warm water if it seems too dry. Sprinkle with two tablespoons chopped fennel fronds and serve.
Barley Risotto With Fennel
7. Chicken Cacciatore. Combine 3lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, a can of diced tomatoes, a 6oz can of tomato paste, a cup of chicken broth, one sliced onion, four minced cloves of garlic, one chopped green bell pepper, one cup sliced mushrooms, half a cup of dry red wine, two teaspoons Italian seasoning (or more, to taste), and salt and pepper to taste in a crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Just before serving, mix two tablespoons cornstarch with three tablespoons water, stir into the crockpot, and cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes. Serve over pasta.
8. Italian Sausage Soup. Combine a pound of mild Italian sausage with the casings removed, 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup milk, an egg, 1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil and black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, and form into marble-sized balls. Combine four cups chicken broth, a tablespoon of tomato paste, a minced clove of garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in the crockpot, and add the sausage balls. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, add 1/2 cup mini pasta shells. When the pasta is tender, stir in a bag (10 ounces) of baby spinach leaves. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
Italian Sausage Soup
9. Crockpot Chicken and Apples. In a small bowl, combine a can of apple juice concentrate, thawed, with 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1-3 teaspoons curry powder. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a pan and saute one chopped onion until softened, and put the cooked onions into the crockpot. Dip six boneless, skinless chicken breasts into the apple juice mixture and place in the crockpot on top of the onions, pouring any remaining mixture over the chicken. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, until chicken is almost cooked. Add three cored and sliced granny smith apples, and cook an additional 45 minutes. Mix two tablespoons apple cider vinegar with 1/3 cup chicken broth and a tablespoon of cornstarch, and add to the crockpot. Cover and cook on high, stirring occasionally, until the broth thickens. Serve over rice.
Chicken and Apples
10. Turkey Meatloaf. Mix a tablespoon of olive oil, a finely chopped onion, three minced cloves of garlic, 1/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup horseradish, three tablespoons chili sauce, two eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, one teaspoon dried marjoram, 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, and a cup of soft fresh breadcrumbs until well combined. Mix in 2 1/2 pounds of ground turkey, preferably a mixture of white and dark meats. Line the crockpot with strips of aluminum foil, leaving enough foil to hang over the sides. Shape the turkey mixture into a loaf and place it in the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Use the foil to lift the loaf out of the crockpot and let stand for 20 minutes before serving.
With a little bit of prep work, the crockpot can become the biggest asset in your kitchen. These are just ten ideas to get you started with using your crockpot to make your own healthy dinners.
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