One of my favorite wedding presents has to be our slow cooker. In fact, I’m using it right now to make Food52′s Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin while I write this post. Which reminds me, if you haven’t visited Food52 before, you simply must head on over to their site for so much more than recipes. My favorite columns are their “how-to” posts, such as How to Store Cheese and Making Your Own Nut Flour (Without Making Nut Butter). But, I digress. Back to slow cookers.
Ours is a basic 6-quart (I think) Crock Pot with high, low and keep warm settings as well as a programmable digital timer. Since one of my goals is to be a better meal planner and prepper while I’m in grad school (and beyond), the slow cooker is really becoming one of my best friends to have delicious meals ready by the time I get home from work. I love Sunday slow cooker meals too, because I can spend all day either relaxing or running errands and not really have to worry about dinner. And during these coldest of snowy days, what could be better than a warm, comforting meal with little hassle?
It can sometimes be hard to find healthy slow cooker meals, though. A simple search on Pinterest turns up loads of cheese and gravy-laden options, but those in this week’s recipe roundup are much lighter and even tastier.
Easy BBQ Pulled Pork from Lauren’s Latest. This recipe is a no-brainer and can be personalized depending on which BBQ sauce you choose. I’m partial to Stubb’s BBQ sauce right now for the line’s clean ingredient list. Plus, it’s gluten free for those of you that need it. Now if they’d only create a Kansas City-inspired version…
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup from FoodieCrush. Juicy chicken marinated in a sauce of creamy peanut butter and coconut milk? Sign me up!
I’m always looking for ways to sneak plant-based foods, such as lentils and quinoa, into dishes like meatloaf and meatballs, so these Crock Pot Mini Turkey Quinoa Meatballs from How Sweet It Is need to be added to my rotation. This recipe requires a bit of pre-browning so you’ll need to dirty more than the slow cooker, but it’s a necessary step to create a meatball that holds together.
Slow Cooker Sesame Orange Chicken from the Against All Grain Cookbook (which I have and love). Forget Panda Express or delivery – this is the real deal. Photo credit from Fit Paleo Mom, who recreated the recipe here.
I have an unhealthy obsession with lasagna right now. Skillet lasagna, zucchini noodle lasagna and now…slow cooker lasagna! This version from Pinch of Yum is vegetarian, but browned ground turkey, chicken breast or beef could also be added. I also never put in as much cheese as is called for in a lasagna recipe. I use dollops of ricotta (try goat’s milk ricotta) throughout and only a sprinkling of hand-shredded hard cheese like Parm on top. If you’re grain-free, I love Capello’s lasagna sheets. The texture is perfect!
What are your favorite slow cooker recipes?