Lemond Nutrition Articles

Super Easy & Healthy Crock Pot Meals

By Angela Lemond, RDN, CSP, LD // Dec 12, 2011

Believe it or not, even the weather in Texas where I live is turning a bit cold. Cold weather certainly lends itself to certain types of warming, comforting foods - doesn't it? And there's nothing better than coming home and smelling the aromas of a meal that has been cooking slowly all day long.  Mmmm. Crock pots are one of those secret weapons for busy families that allow for home cooked mealtimes together, and timely bedtimes during the school year. I don't know about your kids, but mine are ready to eat immediately after I walk in the door from working all day. It's difficult to cook fast enough to feed their hungry mouths!

I love crock pot meals because you come home and the work is pretty much done. If you look at many of the recipes, they allow for some flex on types of meats, beans and vegetables depending on preference or sale that may be going on at your local grocery store.  Search for crock pot meals that have less than 10 ingredients so the amount of preparation time is minimized. If you get the kids to help, they will look forward to getting home later that evening to see their finished masterpiece! Check out a few that I love to make that are super easy - so easy that they hardly need a recipe:

Navy Beans with Ham

Ingredients:2 ½ cups dry navy beans

5 cups water

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup minced onion

1 pound smoked ham, cut in 1” pieces

1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions:   Put beans in cooker, soak overnight in water.    Add garlic, ham and onion.   Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.   Add optional salt during the last hour of cooking time.  

Tips: Add fresh picante sauce or chili sauce for an extra spicy kick!  Serve with a fresh field green salad topped with your favorite colorful veggies.     Super Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

 
Here's the traditional slow cooker pot roast that I made last week.

But for a more color and a unique touch, try red onions, asparagus

and/or purple onions instead.

Ingredients:

2-3 pound round roast or pre-cut stew meat

3-4 cups vegetables

1- 16 ounce can cream of mushroom soup

1 package of onion soup mix Directions:Cut veggies up in 1” chunks.   Add stew meat and pour soup and onion mix over top.   Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Tip: Try different types of potatoes – sweet, new, purple along with red onions and asparagus or spinach for a nice colorful alternative to the typical pot roast meal.
Shrimp Marinara in the Crock Pot

Ingredients: 1 pound cooked shrimp, deveined and de-shelled

1 teaspoon Italian seasonings, fresh preferred

1-6 ounce can tomato paste

2 cups diced tomatoes (or, 1-16 ounce can diced tomatoes)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ - ½ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Directions:Combine tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasonings along with salt and pepper in the cooker.   Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.   Turn cooker on high and stir in shrimp, cooking for 10-15 minutes.  

Tip: Serve over brown rice or whole wheat spaghetti, top with some fresh grated parmesan or mozzarella.
What is your family's favorite crock pot meal?  Let me know!  I'd love swap recipes. :-)


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Filed Under: Holiday Food

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