Preparing a healthy meal that still impresses doesn’t mean you have to spend hours and hours in a hot kitchen – not when you have your reliable slow cooker ready to lend a hand. These slow cooker recipes are a healthy way to reduce the time you spend preparing while still letting you deliver a meal your family and friends will love.
One of the trickiest feats when preparing your Thanksgiving or any holiday meal is having each dish arrive on the table piping hot: solution – your slow cooker.
Slow-Cooker Squash, Chickpea & Chard Stew
RECIPE INSPIRED BY FOOD NETWORK MAGAZINE
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 ½ cups dried chickpeas, rinsed
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Crusty bread for serving.
1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil, sliced onion with garlic, and cook until soft and golden brown, between 4 and 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook 1 more minute. Stir in ½ cup of water and scrape up bits on the bottom of the skillet. Transfer the skillet contents to your slow cooker.
2. Add chickpeas, squash, chard stems (not the leaves), 2 teaspoons of salt, and 7 cups of water to your slow-cooker. Stir, then cover and cook on low for 8 hours. If you’re in more of a hurry, cook on high for 4 hours.
3. Ten minutes before serving, stir in the chard leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to slightly break up the squash. Ladle the stew into bowls; top with grated parmesan if desired and serve with crusty bread.
Tip: If you’d like a creamier stew, use your stick blender to puree about 1/5 of the squash and chickpeas in the slow cooker before you add the chard.
Slow-Cooker Italian Chicken
RECIPE INSPIRED BY DELISH
2 lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 yellow bell peppers, sliced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
½ c. Knorr Chicken Broth
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/3 cup capers
8 oz. cooked linguine for serving
1. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and place in your slow cooker. Add peppers, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, and broth, then season with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours, until chicken is cooked through.
2. Remove chicken from slow-cooker and stir capers into the sauce. Serve chicken over cooked pasta with sauce.
Slow-Cooker Mushroom Soup
RECIPE INSPIRED BY YUMMLY
4 cups boiling water
2 cups of porcini – (about 1½ ounces)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sliced shallots (about 8 ounces)
1 garlic clove (minced, about 1 teaspoon)
1 cup dry sherry
3 pounds fresh mushrooms (assorted, such as cremini, portobello, shiitake, and button, sliced)
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ cup of heavy cream
1. Boil 2 cups of water and pour over the porcini mushrooms, let the mushrooms steep for 20 minutes. Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the mushroom broth; set the mushrooms aside. Stir in soy sauce, salt, pepper, and the remaining 2 cups boiling water into the mushroom broth; set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots are soft for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the sherry; bring to a boil, and cook for 30 additional seconds and remove from heat.
3. Stir together the mushrooms, broth mixture, shallot mixture, fresh mushrooms, and thyme in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until the vegetables are very tender and the flavors blend, about 4 hours. Uncover and cook another 20 minutes to thicken. Either transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender and blend or use a stick blender to blend about ¼ of the soup. Return the puréed soup to the slow cooker; gently stir in the cream. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve hot.