Can you actually “buy time” using a slow cooker? Why yes!
If you’re like me, right about now, you’re wishing you had more time. School is in full swing, the holidays are right around the corner and then there’s fall sports to carpool to or tailgate at. All these activities can definitely put a crunch in your schedule.
Unfortunately we all have the same 24 hours in a day. Since someone in the family’s got to “bring home the bacon” (even if it is made of turkey or soy) and you can only cut your sleep for so long so…many us cut time with the only thing left—meal prep. You can do this in many ways, but I’ll cover 3 in this series: Buying Time with a Slow Cooker, Buying Time with Make Ahead Meal Prep and Buying Time with the Drive-Thru/Take Out.
Whether you still have that Crockpot you got as a wedding gift a loooong time ago, or you have one of the latest versions with lots of bells and whistles, you’ll agree that the crock pot has its place in every busy person’s kitchen.
Let’s Start with Breakfast
It really is true—breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Nothing says comfort more than breakfast—even if it’s for dinner! This recipe for Slow Cooker Eggs Over Cauliflower Hash from Lauren RD at www.NutritionStarringYou.com serves up the latest food trend—riced cauliflower! It takes about an hour and 45 minutes to cook, so put it on while you help your kids with their homework—or while you read the news. Bonus—serve the leftovers for breakfast!
It’s never too early to start cooking with fall spices…am I right? This recipe for Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats gives that taste of pumpkin pie you love in a bowl of yummy oatmeal! It’s from Ann RD at www.MyMenuPal.com, where you’ll find many more!
Looking for a chicken recipe that’s simple enough o appeal to kids but different enough to get you out of the same-ole-chicken-rut? ? Check out this kid-friendly recipe for Slow Cooker Garlic Honey Chicken Thighs from Lindsay RD at www.TheLeanGreenBean.com The base ingredients are chicken thighs (higher in iron than the breast), carrots and sweet potatoes, plus some easy add-ins to make it tasty! Pare it with some quick-cooking brown rice and some micro-steamed veggies and you’ve got a meal before you can say “I’m too tired to cook!”
When I think of Chicken Pot Pie, I can only think of the frozen kind that has a gazillion calories and a ton of saturated fat. This healthier recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie from Ann RD at www.mymenupal.com features frozen mixed veggies and whole-wheat biscuits for the topping. It’s a win-win with its high protein content and moderate carb count. And, the chicken and veggies are bite-sized so easier for little ones to eat.
Plant Powered Meals
In case you haven’t heard, the word is that we should fill our plate with more plants—including eating more meatless meals. Why’s that? It’s good for you and the planet—especially when it comes to cancer prevention. With fall upon us, it’s time to think about chili and soup, which provide the perfect platform to go meatless.
This recipe for Slow Cooker Black Bean, Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili from Maria RD at www.halsanutrition.com, features quinoa plus canned black beans and tomatoes. (A stocked pantry saves the day!)
Oh barley, how I love you…so why don’t I use more of you? Hmm… good question! Maybe you can relate. Try this recipe from www.LizsHealthyTable.com for Slow Cooker Barley and Bean Soup to inspire you to enjoy the whole grain goodness of barley. It’s rich in fiber, has that slightly chewy texture is excellent paired with chickpeas and carrots in this vegan soup.
Oh Minestrone…it’s a tasty comfort on a fall day. This recipe for Crockpot Tortellini Minestrone Soup from Tawnie RD at www.krollscorner.com gets an A+ in nutrition from the beans, spinach and tomatoes. It’s definitely a meal in a bowl!
Speaking of comfort food, there’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup, especially when you’re feeling under the weather. This recipe from Jen RD at www.nourishedsimply.com will inspire you to forgo the canned stuff from now on in favor or your own healthier version. She provides a good cooking tip for noodle soups in her recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup. Cook the noodles separately and add to the bowl at serving time to keep them from getting overcooked and please all the varieties of carb eaters at your table!
See you soon, when I’ll cover Buying Time with Meal Prep.
Another way to buy time is to use leftovers. For a yummy twist on using leftover fish, check out my Steelhead Trout recipe here.
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