Preparing slow cooker or crockpot meals in advance is a great strategy to help you put a healthy meal on the table with minimal stress and effort. Chop, slice, dice and place in freezer bags on the weekend and viola one less thing you have to worry about during the busy work week. You can plan just a couple crockpot recipes for the week ahead or do a marathon session to cover much more than that. The choice is yours but one thing is for sure….grabbing a bag from the freezer and dumping it in the the crockpot in the morning knowing your evening dinner prep is complete…ROCKS!
Here are 3 healthy crock pot meals to get you started….
Shredded Mexican Chicken
4 chicken breasts, skinless & boneless
1T chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. lime juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T olive oil
Heat oil in a medium sized sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder and garlic and sauté two more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Turn off and set aside.
Add chicken to the crock pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Squeeze lime juice over chicken, add the cilantro, jalapeno, and pour the onion and garlic mixture over top.
Place in the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred the chicken with a fork & knife. Add shredded chicken to taco sized whole grain tortillas, corn tortillas or make lettuce wraps. Top with your favorite toppings such as avocado, diced tomato, salsa, Greek yogurt and shredded cheese…
Green Lentil, Potato and Kale Soup
2 cups butternut squash, peeled & chopped
2 cups red potatoes, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups green lentils
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
48 ounces container of vegetable broth
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 cups Kale, stems removed, chopped
Place all ingredients in except kale in the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours. Add Kale right before serving.
*feel free to use an immersion blender if you prefer a creamier texture.
Pineapple & Pepper Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small red onion, chopped
1 can pineapple (slices or chunks) drained and juice reserved
1 red bell pepper, seeded & chopped
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 T raw honey
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Toss chicken, pineapple, onion and bell pepper in a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag. In a bowl combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, honey, lemon juice, ginger, corn starch, salt, and pepper and mix until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour into Ziploc and shake to mix. Freeze.
To cook: Thaw in the fridge 24 hours, then cook in the crockpot on for 4-6 hours. Serve with a healthy grain such as quinoa, farro, barley or brown rice.