• Dina Cohen

Dinner, Done!



These supper solutions are brought to you by Sara Gutman, a dietetics student trying not to be too busy in the kitchen!


It’s been a long, tiring day. Two of your kids are fighting in the back seat of the car, and you have a bunch of packages to lug in. The poor baby has another ear infection and the poor mommy has not slept for two consecutive hours in a week. You mentally run through your fridge and freezer for something that can be prepared in half an hour and come up with nothing. Nothing at all. As you walk in, a delicious aroma hits you. It's your lucky day! You already made dinner this morning! It was a ten-minute process to put the chicken, potatoes and veggies into the crock-pot and then spice it up and add water. You feel like you just won the lottery! You have the peace of mind to relax with the kids and settle into a smooth supper and evening routine.

Your crock-pot (aka slow cooker) can make magic in 4-8 hours. Do yourself a favor on the days that you know will be very hectic or tiring and try a crock-pot dinner. I hope you find something from this list that will speak to you and your family!


Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

By: Linda Larsen

Prep time: 15 Minutes

Cook time: 6-8 hours


Ingredients:

· 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

· 1 teaspoon paprika

· 1 teaspoon curry powder

· 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

· 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

· 1 onion, chopped

· 1 cup peach preserves OR apricot preserves

· 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

· 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

· 1/2 cup chicken broth or water

· 2 tablespoons cornstarch


How to Make It:

Sprinkle the chicken with salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, curry powder, and  ginger. Rub the spices into the chicken.

Place the sweet potatoes and the onions in 3-1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker and top with the chicken. Top with the peach preserves, vinegar, and soy sauce.

 Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked to 160°F (test it with a meat thermometer) and the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine the chicken broth and cornstarch in a small bowl and mix well with a wire whisk until smooth. Add this mixture to the  slow cooker and stir gently to combine.

Cover the slow cooker again and cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Serve immediately over hot cooked rice, couscous, or pasta.


Crock-Pot Meatballs and Spaghetti

Cook the spaghetti the night before, add a touch of oil, put into a container or bag and refrigerate until serving.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time

Low: 6-8 hours

High: 4-6 Hours


Ingredients

· 3/4 cup bread crumbs, seasoned generously to taste

· 1½ lbs. lean ground meat

· 1 egg, lightly beaten

· ½ cup water

· 2 cups sliced mushroom

· 2 medium green peppers, sliced (about 2 cups)

· 4 cups (if jarred, use 26 oz. jar plus 1 additional cup of sauce) spaghetti sauce


How to Make It:

Combine bread crumbs, spices to taste, meat, egg and water. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place in slow cooker, top with mushrooms, peppers, and spaghetti sauce and cover with lid.

Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours, or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Serve over spaghetti.


Crock-Pot Chili

This dinner takes a bit more time, and has a whole bunch of ingredients, but the flavor is so complex and delicious.


By: Chayie Schlisselfeld

Prep time: 25 Minutes

Cook Time

Low: 8-12 Hours

High: 4 hours


Ingredients

· 1 onion, diced into small pieces  

· 1 teaspoon garlic powder  

· 1 red pepper, finely diced  

· 1 green pepper, finely diced  

· 1 1/2 pounds ground meat  

· 15 ounces tomato sauce

· 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

· 6 ounces tomato paste  

· 1 bottle beer  

· 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed  

· 1 (15-ounce) can navy beans, drained and rinsed  

· 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed  

· 2 teaspoons oregano  

· 3 tablespoons chili powder  

· 1 tablespoon cumin  

· 1 tablespoon coriander

· 1 tablespoon brown sugar

· 2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

· 1 tablespoon smoked paprika  

· 1 (12-ounce) package Mexican-style chorizo sausage, sliced into round circles


How to Make It:

Place pepper and onion in the bowl of a slow cooker. Add ground meat and tomato sauce and mix well. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.

Let it cook on low for eight to 12 hours or on high for four hours.

To enjoy this chili, serve it over a plate of pasta or a bowl of rice. For a fun meal, you can also enjoy the chili on its own, and scoop it up with taco chips. (Make sure you have lots of napkins!!)


Crock-Pot Balsamic Chicken

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook time

Low: 8 hours

High: 4 hours


Ingredients:

Chicken

· 4 chicken legs, skinned 

· 1 very large Spanish onion, chopped

Dressing

· 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 

· 2 Tbsp olive oil, optional 

· 1 Tbsp garlic powder or 4 cloves garlic, crushed 

· salt to taste 

Rice 

· 1 cup white rice 

· 2½ cups boiling water 

· 2 tsp Kosher salt OR 1 tsp table salt


How to Make It:

Place chopped onion on bottom of crock-pot; place chicken on top in a single layer, overlapping if necessary. 

Combine balsamic vinegar, optional olive oil, garlic powder and salt.. Pour evenly over chicken. 

Cook on low for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours. 

Tip: If you want the chicken to be extra juicy, leave on skin but pull it back and season the chicken under the skin. Then pull back skin on top of chicken, arrange in crock-pot, and pour dressing over all the pieces.

When you come home:

One full hour before chicken is ready, pour rice, boiling water, and salt into a crock-pot liner/bag. Tie the bag with a knot. Place bag on top of chicken in crock-pot. Cover crock-pot and continue to cook on HIGH for 1 hour. 

To serve, pour sauce and onions from bottom of crock-pot over rice, and serve with chicken. 

Tip: This puffed white rice method works great with any crock pot recipe. It comes out perfectly puffed, no mushiness at all.


Crock-Pot Veggies

For a day that you have a easy protein you want to grill but would be thrilled with an already-prepped side dish.

From: Chocolate Covered Katie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 4 hours


Ingredients:

· 2 bell peppers, cut in large slices

· 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes

· 3 small zucchinis, cut in thick slices

· 1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves

· salt, herbs of choice, and oil such as 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, and 2 tbsp olive oil.


How to Make It:

How to cook crock-pot vegetables in the slow cooker: Grease your crock-pot, then add all the veggies. I used a 4-quart slow cooker, season with the salt, herbs, and oil, then stir to evenly coat.

Cook 3 hours on high (or longer on low), stirring just once every hour or so. At this point, you can open the lid and drain the liquid for another use. Don’t discard it; the liquid is seriously delicious! The veggies will be a softer texture than oven-roasted veggies, but they are even more flavorful and sweet.

Crock-pots—thanks to their slow and steady heating—are known to heighten the flavor of whatever you’re cooking.


Here's one just for fun (or dessert):


Walnut-Stuffed Slow Cooker Apples

By: The Seasoned Mom

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time:

Low: 2-4 hours

Hight: 1 ½-2 hours


Ingredients

· 6 large apples

· ¼ cup raisins

· ¼ cup chopped pecans

· ½ cup brown sugar

· ½ cup water

· ¼ teaspoon salt

· ½ teaspoon cinnamon

· ¼ teaspoon nutmeg


· Optional, for serving: Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, additional chopped nuts, granola, oatmeal, caramel sauce


Instructions:

  • Core apples.

  • In a small bowl, combine raisins and nuts.

  • Fill centers of apples with nut mixture. Since there is a hollow center in the apples, I find that it's easiest to hold the apple in the palm of one hand (blocking the bottom opening) and use a spoon to push the oats into the top of the apple. Then just slide the apple from the palm of your hand directly into the slow cooker -- nothing will fall out the bottom!

  • Place apples in 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

  • Next, combine the brown sugar, water, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Heat and boil for about 5 minutes, whisking regularly, until syrup thickens. Pour syrup over apples in the slow cooker.

  • Cover and cook on LOW for 2-4 hours or on HIGH for 1 ½ - 2 hours (or until apples reach desired softness).

  • To serve, place apples on plates or in bowls. Spoon syrup over apples. Garnish with optional toppings.

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