If you know me at all you know I am a crazy planner and prepper. Which is really intimidating sometimes. But as I wrote in this blog it is not because I am organized it is because I am LAZY! http://livingnaturallyessentially.com/super-organized-kitchen-for-weight-loss-and-maintenance/. While I use my crockpots all year round. Fall and Winter even more. Easy planning ahead. Cook for the whole week or even the month. Using your crockpot means you can put it all in and all away for hours to do other things. Making healthy and easy meals for the whole family
Sunday Protein Prep
First things 1st I have 5 crock pots. 3 Smaller ones and 2 large. I love to cook large amounts of chicken breasts, Lean beef and beans.
I like to use my smaller crockpots and make several different types. So put 3 chicken breasts (whole to shread) or cut into strips or cubes depending on how you are going to use it. You can add then frozen or fresh. I also cook chicken breasts in the crock pot for 4 hours and then throw on the grill for a minute or 2 to get the grill flavor. Then I know they are cooked through.
*Salsa (try to find no sugar added salsas), low sugar BBQ sauce, chicken broth, dry seasoning (I love Montreal or ranch) , Red Hot, enchilada sauce, 505 green Chili
Add to salads, tacos, soups, eat alone cold or hot.
Meals with chicken
Easy Mexican Chicken dinner
Add a can or 2 of black beans (drain and rinse) , corn ( drain) , tomatoes with chilis, 2 cups chicken broth and 3 cubed chicken breasts. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours Stir and serve with corn tortillas or chips. You can also add more chicken broth to make more of a soup.
Easy Chicken soup
A bag of frozen mirepoix (in freezer section it is onions, carrots and celery chopped up. You can also make your own) 3 cups chicken broth (or more if needed) 3 chicken breasts cubed. 2 TB Montreal chicken seasonings. Cook for 4 to 6 hours on low. You can add cooked pasta or rice before serving. Serve with crusty bread.
Spicy Chicken Tenders
(healthy replacement for wings)
Cut chicken breasts into strips cover with a jar of Franks Red Hot ! Cook for 4 hours on low. You can throw those on the grill for a minute for that charred flavor. SOOOOO Yummy. You can make a light blue cheese dip with a cup of fat free, sugar free Greek yogurt and ounce of blue cheese a few drops of Red Hot and salt and pepper blend and enjoy.
Everything above can be done with beef. I love making fajitas in the crockpot. Just cut steak into strips and add your favorite fajita or taco seasoning. I make a lot of roasts with pearl onions and chunky carrots, peppers and celery. Then I use for French dips, roast over rice or potatoes.
Can be used on burgers, steaks, soups, stews, chilis.
Start with 4 large onions cut into slices add 2 TBs olive oil lots of salt and pepper and Mrs Dash onion garlic seasoning (I used 1 TB garlic and one TB butter flavored Olive Oil) Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours stir turn down to low for 4 hours. ( you can do low over night). Perfectly caramelized onions. You can also freeze the onions and use anywhere it calls for caramelized onions
To make French onion soup
Add 32 oz low sodium beef broth 4TB Worcester sauce. Cook a couple hours on low. . SP 2 per cup. Serve with crusty bread and Swiss cheese.
You can do this with sweet or bakers. My favorite way to cook baked potatoes is to throw a bunch on the crock pot and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. I have decided wrapping them in foil works best. Wash poke, salt and pepper them then wrap in foil sheets. DO as many as I can fit then I use them for hash browns, baked potatoes, Twice baked potatoes to.
Light sour cream, light cheeses, broccoli and cheese soup, chili, Salsas, turkey/regular bacon, Green Chile, cottage cheese, enchilada sauce.
This is a basic way to cook beans in the slow cooker. Your beans will turn out the best ever if you do in a slow cooker on low. 1st soak your beans over night…..why?…..to de-gas ( so why not).
Soak the beans overnight Rinse the beans running water and remove any ugly beans . Transfer them to a bowl and cover with several inches of clean water. Let sit overnight. Drain before cooking. FYI: If you are cooking kidney beans, boil them for 10 minutes before cooking. This neutralizes a toxin called phytohemagglutinin that can cause acute digestive distress.
Then add beans to slow cooker. DO NOT OVERFILL you will have beans everywhere they will double possibly triple in size.
3 1/2-quart or smaller slow cooker, for 1 pound of beans or less
OR 5-quart or larger slow cooker for 2 pounds of beans or more
Add aromatics: onions, seasonings
Cover with water : Pour enough water over the beans to cover them by about 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve.
Beans freeze beautifully cool completely then put 2 cups in quart freezer bags freeze flat. To defrost you can throw in a pot of boiling water (in the bag PS buy GOOD FREEZER BAGS)
I hope this was a fun. Educational blog for you. If you have fast crockpot ideas. Please Please share. Leave me a comment if you have any questions. Enjoy!
Do not forget the crockpot liners they are a life saver. I could not do all of this without them!!!
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