Robin’s Fresh Take: Healthy Slow-Cooker Dinners

by in Robin's Healthy Take, January 14, 2011
Robin's Slow-Cooker Mexican Chicken
Robin's Slow-Cooker Mexican Chicken

I don’t know what I would do without a slow-cooker this time of year. I can throw a bunch of ingredients into the pot in the morning (or even the night before) and dinner is ready 8 hours later.  And, if I’m not ready, (if soccer runs late or homework takes too long) the meal stays warm and waits for us.  Plus, when it’s cold outside, there’s no question an aromatic, one-pot feast warms your heart and soul. Here are my favorite healthy slow-cooker recipes.

Slow-Cooker Dinners Made Healthy
It’s super-easy to make slow-cooker meals healthy — they require little fat, and the braising process that occurs over long-simmering keeps lean meats moist and vegetables tender and flavorful.  So what should you put in your slow-cooker?  Check out some of my favorites (and then send me YOURS!):

Savory Pot Roast With Vegetables
Sear a 2-pound beef bottom round roast in a little olive oil until browned on all sides.  Fill the bottom of a slow-cooker with cubed Yukon Gold potatoes, baby carrots, sliced cremini mushrooms and chopped white onion.  Sprinkle the vegetables with salt, black pepper, dried oregano and dried thyme.  Place the beef on top of the vegetables and pour over a 28-ounce can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes.  Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours, until beef and vegetables are tender.  To make gravy, whisk about 1/4 cup of flour into about 1/2 cup of the pan juices and then return the mixture to the rest of the pan juices; simmer on high heat until thickened.

Pork Loin With Apricots and Apple Cider
Place a sliced yellow onion and sliced turnip into the bottom of a slow-cooker.  Place a 2-pound boneless pork loin roast on top of onion and turnip and season with salt and black pepper.  Top pork with 2 cups dried apricots.  Whisk together 1 cup of apple cider, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon ground cumin; pour mixture over pork.  Cover and cook on low heat for 7 to 9 hours, or until pork is tender.

Mexican Chicken With Salsa, Black Beans and Corn (pictured)
Place a sliced yellow onion and green bell pepper in the bottom of slow-cooker.  Place 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each) on top of onion and pepper.  Season chicken with salt and black pepper.  Combine 2 cups prepared salsa, 4-ounce can minced green chilies, 15-ounce can black beans (rinsed and drained), 1/2 cup frozen white corn and 1 teaspoon chili powder.  Pour mixture over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until chicken is cooked through.  Serve with 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese sprinkled over top.

More Slow Cooker Recipes From Robin:

TELL US: What are your favorite slow-cooker recipes?

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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Comments (1,032)

  1. Kelly says:

    I made Robin's Tuscan Chicken with white beans and wilted greens the other day. My husband and I both loved it!

  2. Lindsay says:

    What is that milky liquid at the bottom of the Mexican Chicken dish? I can't figure out what that could be based on your ingredients.

  3. feastonthecheap says:

    Mmmm that Pork Loin sounds phenomenal! I'm also a fan of making Lamb with Sweet Pears and Onions.

  4. I like making chili in the slowcooker. The slow cooking really infuses every last bite with packed flavor

  5. SusieBeeonMaui says:

    A couple of favorites:
    Cuban Beans and Rice http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/10/slowc

    Tri-tip Roast http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/09/compa

    I too wondered about the white liquid in the Mexican Chicken??

  6. These all look great but I'm starting with the pork loin with apricots! Looks yummy. I love the ease of the slow cooker. My only issue is that the food never looks that pretty when it comes out! But it sure is tender and tastes great so I'll keep using a slow cooker.

  7. Casey says:

    I love making roast or beef stew in my crock pot! Also I make beans in there weekly. I make a chicken taco stew similar to Robin's chicken. And I love making chili in it. I have a whole chicken cooking in it now! Love my slow cooker!

  8. I make a really good and healthy vegan chili that can be made in the slow cooker. It's a one pot meal full of everything you need. just serve it with a grain on the side and a salad. yum. you can check it out here: http://veggietestkitchen.com/vegan-chili/

  9. Slow cooking tenderizes, so even a bad cut of meat will come out good!

  10. Julie says:

    I have often thought about buying a slow cooker but always wondered if it is a good idea to have meat lying around at room temp all day! Surely this can't be a good thing or is it somehow sealed off????

    • just sayin says:

      Its not "lying around at room temp all day". Its actually cooking at a low temperature. Just like when my grandmother would put the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven at 250 degrees the night before and let it cook overnight while we all slept. Its a perfectly safe way to cook meats of all kinds. The slow cooker cooks slowly at a low temperature. That's why it takes anywhere from 6-10 hours depending on what your cooking or what setting you have it on. The only danger you will run into is when you don't let the dish cook for as long as it needs to. When a recipe says cook on low for 8-10 hours, you need to make sure that you follow the time guidelines to prevent any food borne illness.

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