Eating Well

Kate.25.galter-18

Slow cooker for the win!

by Kate Kinne | Nov 06, 2017
Last week was a crazy week for me.  My husband was traveling, I took on some work that kept me in the suburbs all day and then had other work commitments in the evenings.  I had zero time for cooking.  Luckily, I followed my own advice and did a little planning ahead the week before.  I wondered if I could feed the family all week strictly from slow cooker recipes that I could double and freeze so that we could eat the meals AGAIN the next week.  It worked, what a lifesaver.  Dust off the slow cooker and give these a try, asap!

Chicken and salsa: This one doesn't even require a recipe.  Place some chicken breasts in the crockpot, and add salsa.  Cook on low, mine just needs about 4 hours.  Pull the chicken apart and use for tacos, salads, nachos, whatever!  I used the chicken and made a batch of these Baked Chicken Taquitos, which I then froze to pack in the kids lunches. 
FYI, you could also throw in a cup of BBQ sauce instead of the salsa for some BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches or wraps

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti: You've got to brown some ground beef to prep for this slow cooker recipe, but the pasta cooks in the slow cooker so other than 5 min to prep the beef (or ground turkey, which is what I used), it's dump and go!  My kids liked this one quite a bit too.  I recommend whole grain pasta, I actually used penne.  And 2% mozz cheese.  

Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup: Cut some carrots, celery and onion and dump everything in the crockpot.  Doesn't get much easier than this!  Using brown and wild rice provides some great whole grains for a well balanced soup with protein, grains and veggies.

Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese: Ok, so mac and cheese isn't necessarily the healthiest meal, but it's so good, especially after a long, cold fall day.  My husband and I had dinner plans for our anniversay and a sitter was coming, so this was easy to throw together to have the babysitter serve the kids, and then we all enjoyed the leftovers the next day.  You can always make it healthier!  I used 2% evaporated milk, and 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese.  I also always use whole grain pasta, we like Barilla's whole grain elbow macaroni.  Lastly, broccoli is so good with cheese, right?  I like to serve broccoli as the veggie with mac and cheese.  Try this Roasted kind.   I just fill the cookie sheet with broccoli, spray, and roast.  I don't use salt, but you can modify as you like.  

Chili: Everyone likes this chili.  My husband and I have adapted it from a recipe we found online years ago, and the website no longer exists.  I like to give credit to the original source, but I don't remember!  Whoever created it, I'm grateful.  I always double it for my large crockpot.  
1.5 pounds of lean ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped (I use frozen/already diced onion, a little more than a cup)
1/2 tsp of minced garlic
1 can (16oz) red kidney beans (drained and rinsed to decrease sodium)
1 can (16oz) black beans (drained and rinsed to decrease sodium)
1 can (16oz) lima beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp chili sauce or kethcup
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp chili powder
The original recipe called for 1 tsp salt, but I think there is plenty of salt in the canned goods so I don't include.
Brown the meat, drain.  Add all ingredients to slow cooker, cover, stir occasionally.  Heat on low all day.  

Lastly, I haven't made this one yet but it's on the menu for this week.  This Amazing Pulled Pork looks great, and I love that it doesn't use any bottled sauces, you get to make your own (but it's not complicated!).  I'm going to modify by using a pork tenderloin because it's already in my fridge, and it's leaner than a pork shoulder.  I also hate to mess with the bone, so I am ignoring the fact that the recipe calls for bone-in.  I'm going to mix up the ingredients, rub it on the tenderloin, and throw it in the crockpot.  I'll keep you posted!  

Healthy Regards, 
kate