Slow Cooker, Simple and Healthy Recipes

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Crazy schedules, long work hours, and tempting takeout menus make it tough to even think about cooking most nights during the week. Despite the inconvenience, firing up the stove or oven is almost always cheaper and healthier than ordering in or eating out. What better time for using the crock-pot? It’s an easy way to get in all those vitamins and minerals without slaving over a hot stove for hours at a time.

Most of these recipes involve mixing up ingredients and popping them into a slow cooker for a prescribed number of hours. Save even more time by starting some of these dishes overnight or first thing in the morning and reaping the delicious, healthy benefits later in the day.

Spicy Kale and Corn Soup

Ingredients

  • 14.5 oz. crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 4 oz. can green chilies
  • 10 oz. can creamed corn
  • 10 oz. can corn (or frozen fresh corn)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 cups kale
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. chili powder (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Add everything to the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours.

Each 1 cup serving contains Calories 145, Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 g, Sodium 1059 mg, Carbohydrates 32 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 4 g.

Slow Cooker Tomato Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes, half of liquid drained
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (plus more for serving)
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups fresh spinach (or kale)
  • (I also like to add fresh mushrooms)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the spinach.
  2. Cook on low for 4 hours adding the spinach during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Each ¾ cup serving contains  Calories 227, Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 74 g, Sodium 222 mg, Carbohydrates 12 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 35 g.

Lemon Chicken Artichoke Soup

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 14 oz. canned artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained (frozen works as well)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup long grain rice (not quick cooking)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Add everything to the slow cooker except the lemon juice and parsley. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove chicken and chop or shred and then add back to slow cooker.
  2. Before serving, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley.

Each 1 ½ cup serving contains  Calories 326, Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 56 g, Sodium 465 mg, Carbohydrates 35 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 32 g.

Buffalo Chicken and Quinoa Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. 95% lean ground chicken
  • ¾ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1.5 cups buffalo sauce (like Frank’s)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Mix together all the ingredients except the buffalo sauce until just combined. Be careful not to over mix.
  2. Roll into meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. You should end up with around 36 meatballs. Place onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Bake for 5-7 minutes until just browned on the outside. Pour ½ cup buffalo sauce into the slow cooker. Add the meatballs. Pour into remaining buffalo sauce over the meatballs. Stir lightly to coat all the meatballs.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Each 6 meatball serving contains Calories 250, Fat 9 g, Cholesterol 138 mg, Sodium 538 mg, Carbohydrates 7 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 32 g.

Slow Cooker Superfood Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable juice (no sugar added)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
  • Optional for added nutrition:  add two cups of chopped kale or spinach during the last five minutes of cooking

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker, cover and cook on low 6-8 hours, or until veggies are tender. Add a tablespoon of reduced fat cheddar cheese, if desired.

Serves 8, each 1 cup serving contains Calories 157, Fat 0 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 174 mg, Carbohydrates 32 g, Fiber 8 g, Protein 7 g.

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore with Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves, diced
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 14 oz. canned diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup red wine (or chicken broth)
  • 1.5 tbsp. capers, drained
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup black olives

Directions

  1. Add everything except the chicken and olives to the slow cooker. Stir together. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. During the last 30 minutes or cooking, add the black olives.

Serves 8, each 1 cup serving contains Calories 246, Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 74 mg, Sodium 518 mg, Carbohydrates 14 g, Fiber 4 g, Protein 36 g.

Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 lb.boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lb.boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 packets artificial sweetener (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp.orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 2garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp.fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Add the chicken to the slow cooker.
  2. Mix together the soy sauce, chicken broth, Stevia, orange juice, hoisin sauce, garlic, and ginger.
  3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours until the chicken is fully cooked. Slice or shred.
  4. Top with sesame seeds.

Serves 6. Each ⅔ cup serving contains Calories 207, Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 103 mg, Sodium 588 mg, Carbohydrates 5 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 32 g.