Crockpot Cooking!

We have a busy week ahead of us so I won’t have much time to prepare healthy meals. It’s going to be hard enough to find time to eat them! So I went searching for some nutritious, filling and EASY meals to make this week. When I want easy, I turn to my crockpot! I love the dump it and forget it method of cooking! Don’t get me wrong, I do love to cook, but when we have weeks like this, it’s the last thing I want to do. So here are the 5 recipes I am making for our weeknight meals.

Sweet and Sour Beef Tips

Ingredients

•2 pounds beef top round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
•2 large onions, chopped
•4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
•1 large green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
•1 cup canned pineapple chunks, drained
•1/2 cup cider vinegar
•1/4 cup packed brown sugar
•1/4 cup light corn syrup
•2 teaspoons chili powder
•2 teaspoons paprika
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•Hot cooked rice

Directions
•In a large skillet, brown beef in oil in batches; drain. Transfer to a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker.
• In a large bowl, combine the tomato sauce, onions, carrots, green pepper, pineapple, vinegar, brown sugar, corn syrup, chili powder, paprika and salt; pour over beef.
• Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until beef is tender. Serve with rice. Yield: 8 servings.

Braised Chicken with Potatoes

Ingredients
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 (8 oz.) package frozen artichoke hearts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lemon

Preparation
Rinse chicken and pat dry; season with salt and pepper. Spread flour in a shallow bowl and dredge each piece of chicken on both sides. In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add chicken and fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides (but still raw inside), 8 minutes. Transfer Friday chicken to a slow cooker.
Reduce heat on stove to medium and add wine to pan (it will steam vigorously). With a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits that cling to pan. Bring to a boil, then pour liquid into slow cooker.
Add broth, potatoes, artichoke hearts and garlic to slow cooker. Peel two 3-inch strips of lemon peel and add to slow cooker, along with juice from lemon.
Turn slow cooker to high. Cook until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and tender, 2 hours and 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 to 4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
Two 6-ounce cans tomato paste
Two 4-ounce cans sliced mushrooms
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon celery powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

Preparation
1. Layer onion over bottom of a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add chicken pieces to cooker. Combine next 12 ingredients and red pepper, if using; pour over chicken in cooker. Cover and cook on Low 7 to 9 hours or on High 3 to 4 hours.
2. Serve over pasta or rice.

*Little side story about why I am excited to make Chicken Cacciatore…my favorite tv show of all time is Bewitched. 🙂 I have lots of great memories of watching that show with my mom when I was little. In one episode Samantha mentions to her mother in law that she can’t make any of the fancy dishes like Chicken Cacciatore. Samantha was in the kitchen a lot, like many of the housewives of her day and she made a lot of delicious looking meals, so I’ve tried to make almost all of the meals mentioned on Bewitched. This will be the first time I make Chicken Cacciatore! 🙂 As far as I know, Samantha never mastered Chicken Cacciatore, even with her magic! So we’ll see if I can do any better!

Seared Scallops With White Beans and Garlic Bread

* I will be altering this recipe. My changes will be in parenthesis. And this is not a crockpot meal, but not difficult at all!
Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
*1 1/2 pounds sea scallops (scallops were $8 for a small bag and I wasn’t going to spend that kind of money! So I am substituting diced chicken breasts.
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained (I am using Bush’s Northern Beans)
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Preparation
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops evenly with salt. Add scallops to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove scallops from pan; keep warm. (Since I am using diced chicken, I will do just about the same steps, but I will be making sure my chicken is almost fully cooked before going onto the next step.)
2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add pepper and garlic; cook 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 1 minute or until most of liquid evaporates. Stir in broth and beans; cook 2 minutes. Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; stir in basil.

Grilled garlic bread is great for dipping into the brothy beans. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush 1 tablespoon olive oil evenly over 4 (1-ounce) slices French bread. Add bread to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Rub one side of each bread slice with cut sides of a halved garlic clove.

Tator Tot Casserole

*This is also a non-crockpot meal, but it’s so easy to fix and throw in the oven, it made the “filling, easy and fast” cut. Not so much nutritious, but oh, so yummy!!

Ingredients

2 lbs hamburger
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 bag tator tots
1 bag grated cheese

Preparation

Brown hamburger in skillet
In a mixing bowl, mix cream of mushroom soup with 1 and 1/2 soup can of milk
Add browned hamburger to the soup mixture
Pour the mixture into a greased 9X13 pan
Put a single layer of tator tots ontop of the meat/soup mixture
Top with grated cheese
Bake @ 350 for 30-35 minutes. My oven is touchy, so the time may be different for you. Just make sure tator tots are browned and slightly crunchy.

As I write this post, I have an dessert baking in my crockpot! My daughter found this on Pinterest and wanted me to make it for her. We are usually Pinterest failures, but this one may actually turn out! Here’s the recipe:

Crockpot Apple Cake

Ingredients
1 c. flour – 1/2 white flour, 1/2 wheat flour
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 apples
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla

Preparation

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
Peel, slice and dice apples
Coat with flour mixture
Mix eggs and vanilla
Pour over floured apples
Spoon into greased crockpot and cook on High for 2 hours

Here is the link to where I found most of my recipes: Crockpot Cooking. There are a few more recipes there for you to try!
Happy Crockpot Cooking everyone! If you have a favorite crockpot recipe, please share it below!!

Til next time, Kids!

sjb

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