Not everyone can spend hours in the kitchen to yield a nourishing dinner every night. As a result, people will often turn to fast food, delivery or frozen meals. The result is often a poor diet lacking in nutrients. Thankfully, there exists a magical object which can yield healthy meals with minimal effort. It’s called a slow cooker!
Even if you’ve heard of them before (which I hope you have), you may not be using your slow cooker to its full advantage. To kickstart your obsession, here are five easy and healthy recipes.
Mac & Cheese
The key to making mac and cheese in the Crock-Pot is to cook the pasta separately. Dried pasta cooked in a slow cooker just disintegrates so boil it separately.
- 3 cups skim milk
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 16-ounce package of elbow macaroni, cooked separately
Combine all ingredients except cooked pasta in a sauce pan over medium heat until the cheese is just melted. Pour into Crock-Pot, along with cooked noodles. Cook on low for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Shredded Buffalo Spinach Wraps
Crock-Pot chicken is amazing because it just shreds apart. Prepare the buffalo chicken in the slow cooker, and then assemble the wrap with baby spinach and fresh sliced mozzarella.
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup hot sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
- ½ tablespoon dill weed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fresh sliced mozzarella
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Spinach wraps
Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine hot sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley flakes, dill weed and salt in a small bowl. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Using two forks, shred the chicken right in the slow cooker. Place chicken on spinach wraps and top with mozzarella and spinach.
Apple Pie Filling Dessert
Apple pie is delicious, but, despite the abundance of fruit, isn’t know for being nutritious. This recipe mimics apple pie filling, and pairs well with vanilla ice cream.
- 10 apples, peeled and cored
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup Stevia
Mix together all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 3 ½ to 4 hours.
Mexican Taco Stew
This is a diverse dish, because you can either add two extra cups of water and make it into a soup, or keep it the way it is and eat between taco shells or tortillas.
- ½ pound ground turkey
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 16-ounce jar salsa
- 2 cups frozen corn
- 1 16-ounce can black beans
- 2 tablespoons cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 cups chicken stock
Cook ground turkey in skillet until done. Drain and place turkey into slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring to combine. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
Risotto is delicious, but standing and stirring over the stove for an hour is exhausting, especially if you ran that day. Made in the Crock-Pot, it is just as tender and flavorful without the knee cramps.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ of a yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
Swirl olive oil around large pan. Cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms until softened, around 5 to 7 minutes. Add rice and cook one more minute. Transfer mixture to slow cooker. Add in broth and white wine. Cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours or high for 1 1/2 hours. Stir in parmesan cheese.