Seasonal Swap: From the Grill to the Crock-Pot
Imagine coming home after a busy day at work or running the kids around, and a healthy hot meal is ready for you. Better yet, there's only one pot to wash after enjoying a wholesome, satisfying meal! How is this possible without an in-home personal chef? The answer: Perhaps my single most favorite kitchen appliance … the Crock-Pot!
By tossing all ingredients in a slow cooking pot to simmer all day, not only do you end up with a delicious meal, but a healthy one too. I'd like to share the recipe for one of my favorite go-to Crock-Pot meals that warms the body and soul on a cool autumn day and can be used as a guide for many variations. You can even prepare the ingredients the night before so you can set it and forget it before heading out the door for your busy day. Enjoy!
Recipe #1: Ham & White Bean Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours
Serving Size: 1 cup
- 5 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 15 oz. can Italian diced tomatoes
- 2 cups cooked ham, chopped (cooked chicken also works well)
- 1 ½ cups dried navy or cannellini beans
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 bouillon cubes
- 6 cups water
- In a Crock-Pot, combine first seven ingredients. Stir in water. Add bouillon cubes.
- Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours (or on high for 6-7) or until beans are soft.
Nutrition Information per 1 cup serving: 160 calories, 2g fat, 25g carbs, 8g fiber, 11g protein
Serve with whole grain French bread or over a bed of brown rice.
Mexican Variation: Swap pinto beans for white beans, cooked chicken for ham, and fire-roasted tomatoes for Italian diced tomatoes. Top with fresh cilantro and shredded cheese.
Hearty Beef and Potato Stew: Swap ham for 1 lb. beef stew meat, 3 cups low-sodium V8 for half of the water, and 1 ½ cups diced potatoes for beans.
Veggie-licious: Omit meat and add 2 cups kale when soup has 1 hour left to cook.