With game-watching parties, tailgating and fall festivals here, a hearty meal centered around piping-hot chili is always a crowd-pleaser. In the past, I’ve created chili recipes with complex ingredient lists, but this version has only five simple ingredients. I find that after I sprinkle on my favorite toppings — avocado, fresh lime juice and whole-corn tortilla chips made with expeller-pressed oil — there isn’t much of a difference in taste. The prep time, however, is noticeably shorter. And this dish uses more kidney beans than beef, helping you improve on plant-based eating efforts. The secret to the chili’s rich sauciness is mashing half of the kidney beans. Read more
Tag: slow cooker
It’s the best time of year for warm and cozy slow-cooker recipes. Keep things healthy for snacks, mains, sides and even dessert with these make-ahead creations.
I’ve waxed poetic before about my love for the slow cooker, a kitchen appliance I always assumed was used by beefy stew lovers or chicken soup eaters and not vegetarians. But in the last few months, I’ve come to learn that the slow cooker has been a lifesaver that helps me throw together vegan and vegetarian meals in a flash. Once I became comfortable with my slow cooker (which took no time at all), I started experimenting with more than just soups and stews. I made baked oatmeal for breakfast, rice and beans for quick lunches, and a plethora of dinners. Here are some set-it-and-forget-it breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas for you to try in your slow cooker.
- This cranberry pumpkin oatmeal cake can be prepped the night before so you wake up to the inviting smell of baked oatmeal for breakfast with pops of flavor from fresh or frozen cranberries.
- Need a change from oatmeal? Try cooking quinoa in the slow cooker with frozen blueberries, honey, milk and a dash of cinnamon so you can enjoy a hot whole-grain breakfast in the morning.
- For something a little more savory, try this slow cooker Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole. I omitted the sausage and added in diced sundried tomatoes. You could also use vegan sausage or soy crumbles to get a meaty texture and flavor.
Relieve your dinnertime stress by making a slow-cooker meal. Toss the ingredients in this easy-to-use countertop appliance, press the button, and enjoy a delicious meal a few hours later. Eating healthier couldn’t be any simpler!
A great dinner can be as simple as a warming soup and salad. Pair one of these on these delicious soups with a homemade salad using whatever veggies are in your refrigerator.
- Slow-Cooker Pork Chops
- Slow-Cooker Shredded Pork
- Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos
- Slow-Cooker Pepper Pork Chops
Confession: I had never used a slow cooker until I developed this recipe. Yes, it feels almost un-American to say, but it’s the truth. If you don’t grow up in a home where a slow cooker sits comfortably on the kitchen counter (my mom, Penny, has never owned one in her life), what are the odds that you’d ever switch on a slow cooker? It took me more than two decades of cooking to finally be curious enough to try one and now I can sincerely say, I get it.
The “set-it-and-forget-it” slogan says it all—almost. I guess I was afraid of the always-possible mush factor and I didn’t exactly want shredded chicken. With a bit of trial and error, I realized that sauteing before adding to the slow cooker and timing exactly when I stir in particular ingredients makes a big difference in the finished meal.
What’s your favorite meal to make in your slow cooker?
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.
Even my strong sweet tooth needs a break after a month of holiday treats. This soul-warming recipe from Food Network Magazine has a touch of brown sugar (swap for honey if you prefer), but most of the flavor comes from the cinnamon and dried fruit. Plus, all the whole-grain fiber keeps me from grazing on leftover cookies mid-morning; the B-vitamins are a good energy boost, too. Top with a few chopped nuts for a little extra crunch.
With the craziness of the holiday season fast approaching, give yourself a break on a weeknight with an easy slow-cooker meal. You may associate your Crock-Pot with fatty, rich soups and stews, but there are many healthy things you can make with it, including dessert!