After a long day of work, school or whatever else consumes your day to day life, sometimes cooking is the very last thing you want to do. It is in these times where we often find ourselves resorting to the frozen food section and the grocery store or the drive through line at the nearest fast food restaurant.
Fortunately, slow cookers allow you to have a delicious and healthy home cooked meal without actually having to spend time cooking at the end of the day. Depending on what you are cooking, it is as easy as dumping in the ingredients, hitting start in the morning, and having a tasty meal ready by dinner! Here are 5 healthy slow cooker recipes to prepare for the days when you know you won’t want to cook!
- 8 skinless chicken thighs
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup mild salsa
- 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce or fish sauce
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Season chicken with fresh ground black pepper and place in slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients except cilantro.
- Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken and place on serving platter. Pour sauce over chicken.
- Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges
- 1 cup red quinoa, uncooked
- 2 15-1/2-oz cans red kidney beans
- 2 15-1/2-oz cans diced, no-salt-added tomatoes
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced, or more to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon
- 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground chipotle powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook 8-10 hours on low (or 4-5 hours on high).
- Remove bay leaf and stir well before serving.
FOR THE PORK AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH
- 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 canned chipotle chilis packed in adobo, coarsely chopped* (add more for more heat)
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the canned chilis
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons Pompeian Jalapeño Red Wine Vinegar (or substitute regular red wine vinegar or additional orange juice)
- Corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and feta cheese or queso fresco
- Arrange the squash around the edges of a 4-quart or similar slow cooker. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Season the pork with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, cinnamon, olive oil, chipotle chilis, and adobo sauce to form a paste. Rub all over the pork. Place the pork in the center of the slow cooker (it may overlap slightly with the squash). Top with the onion and garlic. Pour the orange juice and red wine vinegar over the top.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours (the actual cook time may vary based on your slow cooker). Once the meat is tender and cooked through, remove from the slow cooker and transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Shred the pork, then transfer to a large bowl, along with any of the rub that may have come off during shredding. With a slotted spoon, remove the squash and onions from the slow cooker and place in the bowl with the pork. Toss to combine.
- To serve: warm the tortillas in the microwave
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 16 gluten-free chicken meatballs such as Al Fresco
- 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
- Cut spaghetti squash in half, crosswise. Place in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker, cut-side down.
- In a processor or blender, combine tomatoes, salt, garlic powder, pepper and oregano. Puree until smooth. Pour into bottom of slow cooker.
- Place meatballs over tomatoes, around spaghetti squash. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
- Using tongs and kitchen gloves, remove spaghetti squash from slow cooker. Scoop out seeds and discard. Scoop out flesh into a sieve or colander and let drain a few minutes to reduce moisture. Transfer to a bowl and toss with butter or olive oil.
- Divide between 4 plates and top with sauce and meatballs.
- 15 oz part-skim ricotta
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup spinach, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cups homemade tomato sauce* or your favorite sauce
- 4 medium zucchini, sliced ⅛” thick
- 16 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, spinach. Stir well and set it aside.
- Lightly coat the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Ladle about 1 cup of homemade tomato sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker and spread it well.
- Layer 5 or 6 zucchini slices to cover.
- Place some of the ricotta cheese mixture and top with the mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat the layers until all your ingredients are all used up.
- Top the lasagna with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Cover and cook on high for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.
- Turn off the slow cooker and let stand for about 45 minutes or 1 hour. This will allow the liquid to be absorbed.
- Before serving top with fresh parsley