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Tis the Slow Cooker Season

I just dusted off my slow cooker and I'm looking for some healthy recipes and tips on how to avoid ruining food. My last attempt was disastrous and my little pork tenderloin didn't stand a chance.

Wed. Nov 7, 11:10am

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LOVE my slow cooker

Just yesterday I threw in few pork chops and a can of saurkraut(sp?) on low for 6 hours. Not the most elaborate dinner, but when I walked in the door at 5:30 and was able to serve it with bagged salad at 5:40 I was thrilled. :)

Sometimes I put in chicken breasts with veggies like peppers and canned diced tomatoes.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 12:35 PM

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healthy turkey tenderloins with cream of mushroom soup (I use a healthy marinade instead) and let is sit. when you come home, you're ready to eat.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 12:37 PM

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I just brought out the slow cooker this morning, for my famous beef stew:

beef cubes for stew (pre-cut in the meat section of my grocery store)
1 package frozen stew vegetables
1 package sliced mushrooms

I sprinkle some barley on the bottom of the slow-cooker, and sprinkle in a littl beef bouillion. Then I add the stew veggies and beef cubes, and sprinkle a little more beef bouillion. Then I add the sliced mushrooms, and sprinkle a little beef bouillion on the top. Then I fill the crockpot with water until I can see it, but it doesn't cover the top layer of food (the mushrooms get seriously yummy when they're "steamed" with the bouillion melting into them on top!) and cook on "low" all day. When I get home, yum!! Great as leftovers too.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 12:44 PM

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Whole "roasted" chicken

I make a while chicken in the slow cooker and it's fall off the bone tender.

Take a whole chicken and remove the pouch if innards, stuff bird with 1/2 bulb of garlic (cut across the middle to expose all the cloves), 1/2 lemon and salt. In the bottom of the crock put 1 chopped potato, 1 chopped onion and a bag of baby carrots. Put the chicken on top. add 1/4 cup of water. Coat the top of the chicken with a mixture of seasoned salt, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Cooks for 4 hours on high or 8 on low.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 1:21 PM

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In general, watch out for recipes that use cans of soup - they taste great, but are full of calories! Look for ones with broths for the liquid instead. It takes some getting used to, but they're good too!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 2:59 PM

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I should use my crock pot more often. I need to start planning my meals instead of trying to figure out what to eat when I get home at night.

I have a question about the crock pot. My husband doesn't like my using the crock pot because he's worried that it might start a fire. Has anyone ever heard of a fire being started by a crock pot?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 3:39 PM

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We put a garlic pork roast in for the whole day with a can of Rotel tomatos, a can of Hatch green chili (very low fat/calorie) and salsa. Then shred and put in small soft warm corn tortillas and add lettuce, it's amazing!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 3:40 PM

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Crock pots are basically designed to be on all day, so they are not going to set a fire.

If your husband is concerned, maybe take him to a fancy appliance store and have one of the people there walk him through how it works. Of course, if he's the type who just doesn't want anything plugged in while not at home, then he may not be agreeable.

A slow cooker on low only heats to around 200 - 250 degrees, or something around that range. It's not the same as leaving the oven on, though many people will leave the oven on time-bake or delay-start when they leave the house too!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 4:30 PM

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To the soup poster - nowadays, you can find a low fat/low sodium/low calorie version of almost any kind of soup. You can get cream of mushroom soup with less than 200 cals in a can. And crockpot meals tend to last for many meals. So you can still do soups w/o ruining the calorie count of the meal; you just have to be careful and read labels.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 4:32 PM

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I used to be worried about leaving my crockpot on when I wasn't at home but after using it several times while I was at home and seeing that there were no problems I stopped worrying about it. Try using your crockpot on the weekends or sometime when you'll be home. After seeing it in action and getting used to it your husband might be more comfotable with the idea of leaving it on all day.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007, 5:15 PM

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one of my fav. crock pot recipes

Tender Beef and Bean Stew

1 lb lean beef stew meat

2 cans (16 oz each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (141/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 ½ cups frozen corn

1 cup hot water

1 cup chopped onion

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies

2 T. uncooked long grain rice

1 – 2 T. chili powder

2 tsp. beef bouillon granules

¼ tsp. salt

1 can (8oz) tomato sauce

Shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for topping if desired

In a slow cooker, combine first 12 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Stir in the tomato sauce; cover and cook for 30 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with cheese and sour cream.

1 cup – 209 calories, 4 g fat, 7 g fiber

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 7:32 AM

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PP - do you cook the beef before you put it in?

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 9:41 AM

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So excited about that whole chicken recipe! I bet its very moist.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 9:56 AM

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Not the PP, but no, you don't cook the meat before you slow-cook it. It gets really tender by cooking all day long.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 10:00 AM

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I am the poster on the stew and yes, you are right, you don't have to cook it beforehand. Everything is really tender and good and I love just dumping everything in. i hope you like it!

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 10:58 AM

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veggies and bean recipes

saluting my crockpot now! Most recipes are basically meat with some form of sauce (can of soup, bottle of barbecue, chicken stock), some veggies and onions thrown on top...I've also been searching for creative healthier recipes...

some ideas:
1) Greek style green beans - start with bacon (turkey) or lean cut of ham, cook or brown in frying pan,drain most of grease, saute some chopped onions and garlic (and green peppers if you want) in frying pan, put in crockpot, add can of whole tomatoes, chopped with juice, 1 lb of fresh green beans, some dried herbs (oregano, basil, whatever you like), cook for about 6 hours on low
(you can even add new potatoes or chopped potatoes or serve with rice separately)

2) red or black beans - I usually start with a lean cut of bacon or pork to flavor it, but you can skip, if you're vegetarian, brown in frying pan, saute chopped onions, garlic, celery and green pepper until tender, add to crockpot with 1 lb beans and about 3 cups water. cook all day.

3) my personal fav - lasagna (yes! in the crockpot) - can use reduced fat ricotta and nocook noodles or make a veggie lasagna with frozen spinach, carrots, whatever

there are lots of good ideas on about. com

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 11:31 AM

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i'm dying to try that beef and bean stew.. thinking of dropping in some chili seasoning for lean chili.

speaking chili recipies, anyone got any healthy crockpot variations?

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 11:51 AM

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oops- mean't (extra) chili seasoning

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 11:52 AM

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4 pork chops (6-8oz each, bone-in)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 lb button mushrooms
1 lb thick-sliced potatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Coat the bottom of the crockpot with 1/4 of the soup. Layer the potatoes on the bottom, then a little more of the soup. Top with the chops, then the veggies. Add a little water, the mustard, and the Worcestershire to the remaining half-can of soup, stir, and pour over everything. 3-4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low. Depending on the cut of pork and size of chop, it's about 300 calories per serving, 4 servings.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 12:45 PM

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To the poster that posted the black bean idea, do you put 3lb of dry beans? Do you soak them overnight before?

I have a recipes - Place a quarted white potato, baby carrots, chopped onions and zuccini on bottom. Place 2 t-bone steak on top that you've seasoned with salt,pepper and lawrys. Pour 1 can of beef broth and 1/2 can of water and cook low for 10 hours. It is SO yummy and the meat just falls off the bone.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 2:27 PM

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I haven't tried this yet, but a friend swears by putting chicken breasts in the crock pot, covering with a jar of salsa. Cook on low all day (8 hours). Serve over rice or on tortillas. I LOVE crock pot cooking--the recipes on this string sound great.

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 4:48 PM

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Healthy chili:

ground turkey
red beans (if from a can, rinsed and drained
can of tomato sauce
chopped onion
chili powder

cook all day

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 5:22 PM

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You can add dry beans to a crock pot, cook all day, and they'll be cooked and tender by dinnertime. However, 3lbs of dry beans is a LOT of beans!

Thursday, November 08, 2007, 5:22 PM

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Dust off a Crock-pot? Mine's on the counter year-round, and in summer sometimes I put it outside so I can be gone all day playing and still cook something--without heating the kitchen.

Most recently I tossed in a tenderized flank steak and piled on lots of potatoes and carrots (from our garden) with a big onion sliced on top.

Chili--all the time. Bean stew. Lentil soup.

I do roast with some au jus seasoning, make my own buns and we have French dips (favorite of the kids here).

I do that chicken-and-salsa thing, only I add bell pepper fingers in the last hour or so and serve it like fajitas. Or I use taco seasoning with boneless skinless thighs, and we have that for chicken tacos, plus extra to freeze for later.

Baked squash...You can cut and seed an acorn, then fit it back together and pile it in there with other re-fitted acorns. Fill the whole pot up. No water necessary--they won't dry out and their own moisture will steam them. I usually add maybe a half-cup though (I have the largest size pot available) just to keep anything that ends up on the bottom of the pot soft.

Friday, November 09, 2007, 12:35 AM

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One brisket plus one whole jar of jalapenos (juice and all), cook all day. Sooooo good!

Friday, November 09, 2007, 12:50 PM

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