Quick and easy slow cooker meals

Dinner can be a challenge. After a long day at work, coming home to start chopping and cooking can seem less than appealing.  However, coming home to a hot, delicious meal sounds great!

A slow cooker can be a great tool to make healthy dinners easily. Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 cup diced walnuts
  • 28 oz can pinto beans
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1+ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • Avocado for garnish

Directions:

  • Throw all the ingredients into a crockpot on a low setting for 8-10 hours
  • Garnish with avocado if desired
  • Serve as is or as “sloppy joes” or “tacos”

Source: www.oneingredientchef.com

 

Apple Cranberry Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large apple, chopped (approx 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 pounds chicken, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup farro or quinoa or rice, uncooked
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth **only needed when cooking, not freezing**

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients except broth to a large ziploc bag
  • Be sure to add the farro last so it stays at the top of the bag
  • Freeze if desired
  • When ready to cook, smack the bag against the counter a few times to loosen. Dump contents into slow cooker. Add 1.5 cups chicken broth. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours

Source: www.theleangreenbean.com

 

Buffalo Chicken and Quinoa Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. 95% lean ground chicken
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 celery rib, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1.5 cups buffalo sauce

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix together all the ingredients except the buffalo sauce until just combined. Be careful not to overmix
  • Roll into meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. You should end up with around 36 meatballs. Place onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes until just browned on the outside, or do not bake and place in crockpot for 6 hours
  • Pour 1/2 cup buffalo sauce into the slow cooker. Add the meatballs. Pour into remaining buffalo sauce over the meatballs. Stir lightly to coat all the meatballs
  • Cover and cook on low for 4 hours

Source: www.theslenderkitchen.com

 

Butternut Squash, Bean and Barley Stew

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup dry kidney beans (or mixed beans)
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 28 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder (or Italian seasoning for a non-spicy version)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin (leave out if using Italian seasoning)
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Soak the beans overnight in water. Alternatively, you can use boiling vegetable broth when you start the recipe if you forget to soak the beans
  • Add everything to the slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 8 hours or until beans are tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper

Source: www.theslenderkitchen.com

 

Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic gloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cumin or coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup dried green peas
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • Serve with avocado and chopped red onion slices (optional)

Directions:

  • Throw all the ingredients into a slow cooker on a high setting for 4 hours or on a low setting for 8 hours
  • Blend with a hand blender and serve