Delicious, Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes!

A slow-cooker is an amazingly convenient kitchen tool that really makes life easier for busy people.  You can basically just throw a bunch of healthy, whole food ingredients into your slow cooker, go to bed, and have a delicious healthy lunch to take with you to work!  Or, have your slow-cooker running while you’re at work to come home to a hearty, healthy soup or stew for dinner!  Especially now, as the weather begins to cool, this is one time-saving tool that you’ll come to rely on for quick, healthy meals.  Check out some of my favorite slow-cooker recipes below… Note how short the preparation time and directions are!

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Stew

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Stew

Serves 6
Hands-On Time: 15m
Total Time: 7hr 30m

Ingredients

  • 4  large organic carrots, diagonally sliced into 2-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
  • 2  medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1  large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  14-ounce can diced organic tomatoes
  • 1  cup organic vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1  zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1  16-ounce can chickpeas, drained

Directions

  1. Combine the carrots, turnips, onion, garlic, tomatoes (with their liquid), broth, salt, cumin, and pepper flakes in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 6 hours, or on high for 3 hours.
  2. Add the zucchini and chickpeas and cook 1 hour longer on low.

{From Real Simple}

Barley Risotto with Fennel

Serves 6
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3-4 hoursIngredients

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and finely diced, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fronds
  • 1 cup pearl barley, or short-grain brown rice
  • 1 small organic carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1-1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups frozen French-cut green beans
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional) — You can substitute nutritional yeast for the vegan option!
  • 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Coat a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Crush fennel seeds with the bottom of a saucepan. Combine the fennel seeds, diced fennel, barley (or rice), carrot, shallot and garlic in the slow cooker. Add broth, 1 cup water and wine, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the barley (or rice) is tender, but pleasantly chewy, and the risotto is thick and creamy, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours on high or low.
  2. Shortly before serving, cook green beans according to package instructions and drain. Turn off the slow cooker. Stir the green beans, Parmesan, olives, lemon zest and pepper into the risotto. If it seems dry, heat the remaining 1/2 cup water and stir it into the risotto. Serve sprinkled with the chopped fennel fronds.

{From Eating Well}

Squash, Chickpea & Red Lentil Stew

Serves 8
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours (including the 1-hour quick-soak for chickpeas)Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dried chickpeas
  • 2 1/2 pounds kabocha squash or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions

  1. Soak chickpeas in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches for 6 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, use the quick-soak method: Place beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.) Drain when ready to use.
  2. Combine the soaked chickpeas, squash, carrots, onion, lentils, broth, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, salt, saffron and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker.
  3. Put on the lid and cook on low until the chickpeas are tender and the lentils have begun to break down, 5 to 6 1/2 hours.
  4. Stir in lime juice. Serve sprinkled with peanuts and cilantro.

{From Eating Well}

Slow-Cooker Seafood Gumbo

Slow-Cooker Seafood Gumbo

Serves 6
Hands-On Time: 25m
Total Time: 5hr 30m

Ingredients

  • 2  stalks celery, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1  medium onion, sliced (1 cup)
  • 1  organic green pepper, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  cups organic vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1  14-ounce can diced organic tomatoes
  • 2  tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2  teaspoons  kosher salt
  • 1  teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1  pound  large raw shrimp, cleaned
  • 1  pound  fresh or frozen crabmeat
  • 10-ounces fresh or frozen okra, thawed and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat olive oil.  Add the celery, onion, green pepper, and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Spoon the vegetables into slow-cooker and add the broth, tomatoes (with their liquid), Worcestershire, salt, and thyme.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours, or on high for 2 hours. Add the shrimp, crabmeat, and okra, and cook 1 hour longer on low heat or 1/2 hour longer on high.
  3. Delicious served over rice!

{Modified from Real Simple}

Organic Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew


Serves 6
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutesIngredients

  • 6 bone-in organic, free-range chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed of fat
  • 2 pounds organic sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into spears
  • 1/2 pound white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 large shallots, peeled and halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Place chicken, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, wine, rosemary, salt and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker; stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook on low until the potatoes are tender, about 5 hours. Before serving, remove bones from the chicken, if desired, and stir in vinegar.
  2. Delicious served over quinoa!

{From Eating Well}

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