Use that crockpot!
We all want to serve easy, nutritional meals to our families without having to sacrifice quality time. One way to accomplish this is by dusting off your slow cooker and putting it back into service. Crockery slow cookers are a smart way to save time in the kitchen. And with just a few adjustments here and there, we can turn our one-pot recipes into healthy choices the whole family will enjoy. Here are some great ideas and recipes to get you started.
The Benefits of Crockpot Cooking
Temperature - You can't watch much of the Food Network or Cooking Channel without hearing the phrase "low and slow." That's the secret to why food cooked in your crockpot tastes so wonderful. Ultra low cooking temperatures keep food safe while allowing your protein to absorb the flavors of its cooking liquid.
Economy - Another advantage of slow cooking is that by cooking meats slowly, it allows the collagen to break down into a rich, sumptuous gelatin. This tenderizes the meat and allows you to use cheaper cuts, saving valuable food budget dollars.
Time - Most slow cooker meals can be prepped in just a few minutes. In fact, many take 20 minutes or less to prep and serve. Once in the pot, we're free to spend time with our kids just having fun!
Crockpot Cooking Tip: Quickly sear or blanch your slow cooker meats first to kill all surface microbes before beginning the slow cook process.
Healthy Crockpot Recipes
When we think healthy we often think of chicken. But usually, we think of chicken breasts, which contain less fat than other popular cuts. This tasty recipe uses the more flavorful chicken thigh, and cuts down on fat and calories by removing the skin and excess fat before cooking begins. With just 285 calories and 17 grams of protein per serving, this dish is a winner!
Crockpot Cooking Tip: Many crockpot meals like this one can be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated for up to three days before cooking.
This flavorful dish proves that we don't have to have animal protein at every meal to feel satisfied. Inspired by the flavors of Morocco, chickpeas provide the bulk of the protein for this dish which is accompanied by a host of vegetables and spices. The kids will love the aroma and sweetness of the cinnamon stick and coriander. (This recipe also provides the option to add chicken.)
Caraway seeds and paprika give this streamlined version of goulash just enough spice to keep them wanting more. Serve it over whole wheat egg noodles to round out the dish for a hearty, healthy meal. Without the noodles this recipe has just 180 calories and provides 25 grams of protein per serving.
You may not think of pork as being healthy, but as long as the fat is removed and it's not fried or breaded, it can be a lean, healthy protein choice. This recipes uses pork shoulder flavored with citrus, peppers and spices that can be easily adjusted to your family's preferred level of heat. Serve with whole wheat or low-carb tortillas to complete this healthy south-of-the-border delight.Content by Cherri Megasko.