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Food & Recipes
Articles: Food

One Month of Slow Cooking

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Day #1

Roasted Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken - approximately three pounds

Wash chicken inside & out (removing anything inside). Sprinkle seasoning of your choice on the chicken (Lawry's, Mrs. Dash, salt, or pepper). Next put three balls of aluminum foil in the bottom of the slow cooker (this creates a rack so the chicken doesn’t soak in its own juices). Place the chicken in, breast side down, and cook on low for six to eight hours.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value):
Total Fat 5g (8%)
Sat. 1g (6%)
Chol. 115mg (38%)
Carb. 0g (0%)
Fiber 0g (0%)
Sugars 0g
Calcium 20mg (2%)
Iron 1mg (8%)

Side Dish Fare:

Pair your roasted chicken with a side of rice, baked potatoes, or a mashed potato.

Amy’s Tips:

Shred any chicken that is leftover and place it in a freezer bag. Keep adding leftover meat to this bag until you have enough for a soup or casserole.

This tip can also be applied to any leftover side vegetable that you have. You can pat yourself on the back for saving that spoonful of veggies each night when you have a healthy homemade soup to eat.

Day #2

Sloppy Joes

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef (or turkey)
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
  • ½ cups ketchup
  • 6 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef and green pepper; drain off fat. Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, & brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Pour into crock pot and simmer for (at least) two hours. Season with salt & pepper.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value):
Calories 326kcal
Protein 31g (62%)
Total Fat 15g (24%)
Sat. 6g (31%)
Chol. 97mg (32%)
Carb. 16g (5%)
Fiber 1g (5%)
Sugars 13g
Calcium 33mg (3%)
Iron 4mg (21%)

Side Dish Fare:

Pair this dish with pretzels and baby carrots.

Amy’s Tips:

Leftover meat can be popped in the freezer for another night’s worth of meals.

For a creative alternative to the regular old Sloppy Joe, why not make Sloppy Joe Turnovers out of the leftover meat. Buy a tube of biscuits and roll each biscuit out into a 4” round. Place ¼ cup of the meat mixture in the center of each round and fold over the top. Seal edges firmly with a fork and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. It is a great way to get children to eat their meat because it is discreetly pocketed and is a fun Friday night meal in our own home.

Day #3

Italian Veggie & Pasta Soup

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 3 carrots - chopped very small
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes - do not drain
  • 2 cans red kidney beans - drained
  • 3 cans beef broth
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 8 ounces noodles - elbow macaroni works great

Brown the ground turkey in a skillet. Drain fat from turkey and place in the slow cooker. Add to the slow cooker all of the ingredients except for the pasta. Cook soup on low for seven to eight hours or on high for four to five hours. During the last thirty minutes (if on high) or one hour (on low) add the pasta.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value):
Calories 694kcal
Protein 48g (96%)
Total Fat 14g (22%)
Sat. 4g (18%)
Chol. 115mg (38%)
Carb. 94g (31%)
Fiber 22g (90%)
Sugars 19g
Calcium 175mg (17%)
Iron 10mg (57%)

Side Dish Fare:

Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad with all of your family’s favorite veggies.

Amy’s Tips:

If you plan to freeze the soup for leftovers, cook the pasta separately. When serving the soup, ladle in the pasta and then pour the soup on top. The pasta absorbs liquid and will not freeze as well as the rest of the soup. You can make a fresh pot of pasta when you unthaw the soup for another night and it will taste as fresh as the day that you made it.

If you have pasta leftover, keep it for a quick lunch for the kid’s. Just warm up a jar of spaghetti sauce and serve it over the pasta.

Day #4

Slow Cooked Pork Chops

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops - approximately 3 pounds
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Place pork chops in the slow cooker. In a separate bowl, combine soup mix & chicken broth, stir. Pour over chops. Cook on low heat for six to eight hours.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value):
Calories 158kcal
Protein 21g (42%)
Total Fat 6g (10%)
Sat. 2g (10%)
Chol. 60mg (20%)
Carb. 3g (1%)
Fiber 0g (0%)
Sugars 0g
Calcium 18mg (2%)
Iron 1mg (6%)

Side Dish Fare:

Why pay for a box of sodium-ridden box of rice when you can make your own homemade version. Throw in a little broccoli for even more color and a little added crunch to your side dish.

Amy’s Tips:

If you plan to freeze the soup for leftovers, cook the pasta separately. When serving the soup, ladle in the pasta and then pour the soup on top. The pasta absorbs liquid and will not freeze as well as the rest of the soup. You can make a fresh pot of pasta when you unthaw the soup for another night and it will taste as fresh as the day that you made it.

If you have pasta leftover, keep it for a quick lunch for the kid’s. Just warm up a jar of spaghetti sauce and serve it over the pasta.

Rice and Roni

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 pound pasta, vermicelli or spaghetti
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth

Begin by placing the oil in a pot and breaking the dried noodles into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces. Turn on the heat and stir the noodles in the oil until they begin to brown slightly. Add the rice, onion, parsley, and broth. Stir mixture, cover tightly, and cook as you would regular rice, approximately 20 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

Amy’s Tips:

When I made this for the first time, my husband didn’t even believe me when I told him that we were eating pork chops. The meat is so tender that it just falls off of the bone.

To avoid an overdose on sodium, make sure to purchase the sodium-free chicken broth for both the rice and the pork chops.

Day #5

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat - cubed
  • 2.5 cups carrots
  • 2.5 cups potatoes
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 can diced tomatoes - with the juice poured in
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 3 sprigs rosemary

Put beef in a zipper bag with a 1/4 cup of flour and toss to coat. Brown the meat in a skillet and place on the bottom of the crock pot. Coarsely chop vegetables and place on top of the meat. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes with juice, can of beef broth, water, and ground mustard. Place sprigs of rosemary on top and cook on high for four hours or on low for six to eight hours.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value):
Calories 281kcal
Protein 27g (54%)
Total Fat 8g (13%)
Sat. 3g (13%)
Chol. 59mg (20%)
Carb. 24g (8%)
Fiber 5g (18%)
Sugars 4g
Calcium 74mg (7%)
Iron 3mg (16%)

Side Dish Fare:

Serve with a tube of biscuits (for dipping) and a salad.

Amy’s Tips:

I like my stew to have more broth in it, but if you prefer a less soupier version, you can omit the can of beef broth and rely on the tomato juices & the juices from the meat to provide the broth for the dish.

Browning the meat can be skipped if you are short on time. You will not get as pretty of a color on your meat (or as good of flavor), but your family won’t notice the difference.

Day #6

Sticky Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp salt 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 3 lb roasting chicken
  • 1 cup chopped onion

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken and onion. Rub herb mixture inside and outside of chicken. Place in food storage bag; seal bag. Refrigerate overnight. Remove chicken from bag; stuff with onion. Place in crockpot on low 6-8 hours; high 2-4 hours. Chicken juices should run clear and chicken reaches 180*. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value):
Calories 421kcal
Protein 72g (145%)
Total Fat 11g (16%)
Sat. 3g (13%)
Chol. 235mg (78%)
Carb. 5g (2%)
Fiber 1g (5%)
Sugars 2g
Calcium 55mg (5%)
Iron 4mg (20%)

Side Dish Fare:

Serve with a baked potato and corn.

Amy’s Tips:

This is my new favorite chicken. To me, it tastes like a rotisserie chicken (without the price tag!) because it has that slow-cooked flavor.

If you want the chicken to retain its shape in the cooker, rest the chicken on three balls of tin foil (to make your rack) and then it will not be resting in it’s own juices.

If you are calorie-conscious, avoid eating the skin. If you love a crisp skin, the oven can act like a slow cooker when the bird is roasted at 250 degrees for four hours uncovered.

Use any leftover chicken to throw on a salad for the next day’s lunch.

Day #7

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Sauce

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 package Italian Turkey Sausage - mild
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • ½ cup beef broth

Brown the turkey sausage in a large skillet. Place cooked sausage in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour over the sausage all of the other ingredients, including any of your own Italian seasonings. Cook sauce on low for six hours or on high for three to four hours. Serve over your favorite pasta.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value):
Calories 114kcal
Protein 11g (23%)
Total Fat 5g (7%)
Sat. 1g (7%)
Chol. 44mg (15%)
Carb. 7g (2%)
Fiber 2g (6%)
Sugars 4g
Calcium 38mg (4%)
Iron 2mg (11%)

Side Dish Fare:

Rosemary & Cheese Breadsticks

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, Asiago, Romano cheese – made by Kraft in the dairy aisle
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 refrigerated breadsticks - (11-ounce)-container refrigerated breadstick dough
  • 1 tablespoon olive oi

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with silicone baking sheets or parchment paper. Pour cheese and chopped fresh rosemary on a paper plate to roll the dough in. Separate the dough strips. Using a pizza cutter or a large sharp knife, cut each dough strip in half lengthwise to form thin strips. Working with dough strip at a time, coat each strip with the cheese mixture, pressing very gently. Twist each cheese covered dough strip and place onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with the salt, if you wish.

Bake until the breadsticks are golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the warm breadsticks to a basket or tall glass and serve.

Amy’s Tips:

This sauce rivals anything you will ever get at any Italian restaurant. Your house will smell like heaven all day long. This is a great meal to entertain with and your guests will be drooling when they walk through your door.

Leftovers (if you have any left) can be served over another variety of pasta or frozen for a meal later in the month.

Day #8

Sloppy Giuseppes

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 5 pound roast
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 package Italian salad dressing mix
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Trim excess fat from roast. Place roast in the slow cooker. Mix water with all seasonings and pour over roast. Mix vinegar and Worcestershire and pour over all. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours. Remove meat, allow to cool slightly and shred, discarding any fat. Return shredded meat to broth in the slow cooker and cook on high until heated through, 15 minutes to 1/2 hour.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value):
Calories 383kcal
Protein 64g (128%)
Total Fat 11g (18%)
Sat. 4g (20%)
Chol. 154mg (51%)
Carb. 1g (0%)
Fiber 0g (0%)
Sugars 1g
Calcium 63mg (6%)
Iron 6mg (32%)

Side Dish Fare:

Serve with chips and apple slices.

Amy’s Tips:

I served this to my sister-in-law who stated, “I want to drink the juice- it is so good.” It is perfect for any of your family gatherings or potlucks.

Buy the cheapest cut of meat possible for this dish. The meat will cook a long time and the slow cooker will tenderize even the toughest of meats.

Use a slotted spoon to serve meat on large buns or rolls to keep the juice from making buns soggy. Serve the juice in a small ramekin, on the side, for dipping your sandwich.

If you like a tangier beef, load up your slow cooker with more red wine vinegar & Worcestershire sauce (to taste).