It’s always nice to come home after a long day of work to a hot, healthy and home-cooked meal. On a daily basis, many of us wish it was just that simple. Work, social engagements or weather can throw off your routines and put you in situations where it is 6 PM, you’re hungry, and you have no idea what’s for dinner. Using a slow cooker to prepare healthy food that’s ready when you’re ready for it can help you avoid stopping at the drive-thru on the way home or having to cook while hungry.
Tips for using your slow cooker
Using a slow cooker is simple. As you can see with the recipes below, all you have to do is prep any ingredients called for, put them in the slow cooker, and turn it on. Depending on the recipe, 4-8 hours later you will have a delicious meal ready for you!
Before we get to recipes, let’s go over some general tips for making your slow cooker meal as delicious as possible:
- Pay attention to size. Pick recipes that work with the size of your slow cooker. Make sure that you are not under- or overfilling it with food to ensure that it cooks properly. (It is recommended to avoid filling it more than 2/3 of the way full.) Take a minute to make sure the recipe you want to try works with the slow cooker size you have.
- Keep the lid on! While it can be tempting to remove the lid to check on a recipe, it is best to leave it be—this helps to keep the slow cooker’s heat focused on cooking the food. But when you get within 30-45 minutes before your meal is scheduled to be finished, it’s okay to remove the lid to check on your food.
- Be mindful of the temperature and size of your ingredients. It is inadvisable to use frozen foods in a crockpot, so take them out of the freezer beforehand to thaw if necessary. Also, if cooking meat, it is best to cut it into smaller pieces before adding it to the slow cooker to ensure that the meat gets cooked all the way through. Following both of these guidelines can help protect against food-borne illnesses.
Now that you know some general guidelines for using your slow cooker, let’s get to some recipes!
- Chicken Pho – This Vietnamese recipe is great for a slow cooker. It is also a great source of Vitamin C to help keep healthy during cold and flu season.
- Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew – This stew is tasty and filling, and will provide you with plenty of protein!
- Greek Chicken and Vegetable Ragout – This recipe is tasty and has a whole day’s worth of Vitamin A inside!
- Turkey Chili – Hot chili on a cold night is a great combination. Not only will this taste good, but it will also leave your house smelling delicious as well.
- Irish Lamb Stew – This staple of Irish cuisine is a great source of Vitamin A and iron.
- Hungarian Beef Goulash – Chock full of zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and iron, this nutrient-rich recipe is a delicious way to add some spice to your dinner!
- Nonna’s Spaghetti and Meatballs – This mouthwatering Italian dish is comforting on a cold day!
- Minestrone Soup – This soup is low in calories and fat, but high in protein and fiber! You can use it as a main or a side dish.
- Eggplant & Chickpea Stew — This recipe is delicious and very high in Vitamin C and potassium!
- Overnight Oatmeal: Set this one up at night and wake up to a fiber-rich breakfast in the morning! You can even make a large batch to re-heat throughout the week.
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more healthy recipe ideas.
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