This year, one of my New Year’s intentions was to master slow cooker meals. Over a month in, I’d say I’m no pro yet but I’ve made enough meals in the slow cooker to want to make more and more. That’s a good sign, right?
Here are just a few benefits of using a slow cooker:
- Dinner is ready when you’re ready for it (or breakfast or lunch)
- Meals cooked “low and slow” retain more nutrition (specifically heat sensitive vitamins) than high heat cooking methods
- Meat is super tender (even less expensive cuts and chicken thighs)
- The slow cooker is doing all the work of “cooking” while you’re working or playing
- Clean up is a breeze as there is only one pot to wash
As an Integrative RDN and Ithaca Nutritionist, I love to cook and bake but I’ve been working a fair amount in the early evening which makes getting dinner on the table in a short amount of time with a toddler “helping” pretty challenging. Enter the slow cooker. I add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker in the morning, set the heat setting and/or timer, and let it do it’s thing while I’m out and about.
Now for the slow cooker recipes. When learning a new skill, I try to follow the learn, do, teach progression. I’m still in the learning phase and not quite ready for creating my own slow cooker meals just yet (I’m sure those will be coming soon and I’ll post what I come up with if it’s a winner). Here are 7 recipes that I’ve made recently that were big hits with family and friends. I hope you enjoy them too!
- Chicken Tikka Masala from The Kitchn – My newest favorite recipe on a cold winter day. I’ve made this 5+ times in the past month and we haven’t gotten sick of it. I made it with coconut milk for a dairy free version. Serve over brown basmati or short grain brown rice for some added fiber and minerals. I also added a bag of frozen peas at the end of the cooking time for some extra green color and protein.
- Red Lentil Coconut Soup from Scaling Back – This recipe isn’t written for a slow cooker but it works great. Cook for about 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Add chickpeas, lime, and cilantro at the very end of cooking, before serving.
- Chicken Tacos from Valerie’s Kitchen – I made this with both organic chicken thighs and organic chicken breasts. Both ways, it turned out excellent. Serve with soft corn tortillas or lettuce wraps for a satisfying gluten free dinner.
- Thai Peanut Chicken from Love at Home – For tender chicken, cook on low. Great recipe if you love Thai food. It takes like take-out but is less expensive, faster, and healthier!
- Enchilada Quinoa Bake from Cooking Classy – I cooked my own black and pinto beans in a pressure cooker and skipped the cheese for a dairy free version. Follow the directions, it will turn out yummy!
- Turkey Chili with Kale from The Kitchn – Excellent recipe to feed a crowd. It’s delicious, packed with protein, and full of veggies. I skipped the sugar and corn and it was excellent. The best turkey chili I’ve ever made, hands-down.
- Slow Cooker “Rotisserie” Chicken from No. 2 Pencil – Follow the directions. It comes out looking just like the picture, no kidding.
By the way, I pin a lot of yummy real food recipes including slow cooker recipes on Pinterest. Are we connected? I’d love to see what you’re pinning to!