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Posts Tagged ‘crock pot’

Crock Pot Creation

When many people think of crock pot recipes, they think of not-so-healthy ingredients like cream of mushroom/chicken/celery soup and low-grade meat. I think that’s why the crock pot has gotten a bad rap. Well, that and the fact that the word crock pot (pronounced craaack paaat) just doesn’t sound that appetizing. Maybe that’s why we also have the term slow cooker. 🙂

The crock pot can be a great tool to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle. I’ve heard so many people (myself included) say “I don’t have time to cook healthy meals.” The crock pot is also fabulous for saving time. Who couldn’t use a little extra time in their day? If you have 10 minutes, you can make a healthy meal that will be ready the minute you walk in the door.

For starters, you can lighten up those “typical” recipes by using reduced fat versions of those soups and using leaner meats. Oh, and who says your crock pot meal has to be casseroley (yes, I made up that word) at all? Toss a couple of chicken breasts (fresh or frozen) into your crock pot in the morning and you’ve got tender meat when you get home, ready for shredding. Do this at night and you’ve got lunch-ready chicken at your fingertips.

You can also find recipes out there that incorporate fresh or frozen vegetables into the mix, such as this delicious, homey Smothered Buttermilk Chicken. Similar to a veggie-full version of pot pie filling, it’s comfort food at its healthiest.

The basics for this recipe come from a recipe my friend Kate posted on her blog a while back. The only modifications I make are upping the chicken to 1 1/2lbs. (per my husband’s request), throwing in a cup of frozen corn & a cup of mushrooms when I add the peas. I also use skim milk instead of buttermilk because I can’t justify buying a whole container for just one dish. The result is a little more chunky and a little less creamy, but still full of flavor.

My husband likes his served over biscuits. Can I really claim that I “made” them if they come from a tube?

I ike mine over rice or couscous.

Delicious, healthy & very filling!

NOTE: I can’t post Weight Watchers points, but the original recipe post may or may not have it listed. 🙂 Just be sure you adjust for any modifications you make.

Do you ever use a crock pot? If so, what’s your favorite healthy thing to make in it?

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These were the first words my husband uttered to me at 3:00AM as he was rolling out of bed.

First of all, is it really necessary to say anything at such an hour of the morning when the person you’re talking to has another good hour and a half of sleep ahead of her? I don’t think so, but I let it slide because at least it was something nice.

What he was smelling was Monday night’s supper that I popped in the crock pot Sunday night before I went to bed. When I got up, I spooned everything into a big Pyrex mixing bowl, covered it and popped it in the fridge. More details on that dish later.

Breakfast was a new-to-me breakfast treat. I spotted these Nature’s Path Organic Frosted Blueberry Toaster Pastries in the clearance bin during our grocery trip on Sunday and decided to give them a try.

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I really like the taste of these. They are extremely sweet. Overall pretty similar in texture and flavor to a regular Pop Tart. They are vegetarian, contain whole grains, are low sodium and contain no trans fat. That said, the calorie content is a little on the high side (200 per pastry; 400 per pouch) and the total fat/saturated fat content isn’t significantly lower than the mainstream counterpart. Overall, I’d say these are a better alternative to many non-organic breakfast options, but by no means should it be considered “healthy.”

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Lunch was again mooched from my parents. They had leftover chicken stir fry and rice from their Sunday night dinner. No picture, but it was loaded with veggies including zucchini from our garden that I’d taken to them last week.

I hit my daily sugar slump around 4:00 and decided to break out my last packed snack. I was FINALLY able to get my hands on this Luna bar flavor over the weekend after hearing so many bloggies rave about it’s goodness.

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It was everything I’d hoped for and more. It tasted kind of like cookie dough. I can’t quite put my finger on which kind, though. Not chocolate chip or peanut butter. The bar refueled me and I was wide awake and alert for my drive home.

The same cannot be said for my navigator.

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With the pork main dish waiting in the fridge, dinner was a cinch. I popped it in the microwave to reheat while I got to work on long grain rice and cornbread. Hello carbohydrate heaven!

I also sliced up two medium-sized zucchini, dipped them in egg whites, coated them with a mixture of breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, paprika and parsley flakes and then baked them on a greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

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The meal wasn’t very colorful, but it was tasty. I ended up passing on my cornbread because I was just too full from the pork, rice and zukes to eat another bite.

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Do you ever do prep work ahead of time for your meals?

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Is anyone else watching The Next Food Network Star? I am. Last season was the first time I watched with any regularity and I’m hooked back in this time around. I’m really pulling for Melissa d’Arabian to win this time around. I love all of the tips, tricks and info she shares during her demos and feel like her show would be something I would actually watch.

As a soon-to-be-stay-at-home mom, I enjoy her frugal shopping strategies and home cooked meals that are both healthy and picky-eater approved. On a recent episode, she talked about how she likes challenging herself to skip the grocery and make meals for a week using what she already has in the house.

I find myself going to the grocery just for fun sometimes and end up spending waaaaay more money than is really necessary. I decided to adopt Melissa’s strategy this week, skip my usual Saturday grocery trip and get creative. When I sat down to menu plan, I was extremely surprised at how much food we already have in the house. I’ll be posting our meals as they appear this week.

Lunch

I snapped a pic of my eats for the work day before sticking them in my lunch bag.

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In the picture:

Dinner

We purchased a roast on sale several weeks ago and it’s just been chillin’ in the freezer since then. I popped it into the crock pot (still frozen) with a can of beef broth and a small can of mushrooms. To season, I sprinkled the top with some Garlic, Garlic and Onion, Onion. 8 hours later, voila!

I saw a commercial for these the other day and it reminded me that I’d received a package from the generous folks at Buitoni to sample.

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***Product Review***

Wild Mushroom Agnolotti

Here’s what the manufacturer’s website says about them:

A blend of earthy mushrooms, including sweet, rustic portobellos and delicate criminis, creates an impeccable pairing with fresh-roasted garlic and imported grana padano and parmesan cheeses, wrapped inside thin layers of stone-ground semolina pasta.

I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to break them out and this seemed to be it. The verdict? Delicious! My husband and I both agreed that this pasta needs no heavy sauce to make it flavorful. The rich mushroom filling does the trick just fine. We topped ours with just a bit of beef broth that cooked in the crockpot with the roast. The nutrition information wasn’t necessarily the most figure friendly, but I found that 1/2 of the recommended portion was more than sufficient as a side dish. These were nice for a casual weekday supper and I think they’d also be great for a more formal event as well.

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Tonight’s veggie was zucchini from our garden, cooked just until tender in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and garlic. I topped mine with a little paprika.

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Dinner is served!

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My meat and potatoes husband, was over the moon with excitement for this meal. It makes me feel great when I can prepare something that he really enjoys.

After dinner, I straightened up the kitchen, packed lunches, this workout (3 sets, 15 reps of the advanced moves) from FitPregnancy.com, tossed in a load of laundry and chilled with the hubs and the pup.

It’s off to bed for me now. Hope everyone had a great Monday!

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Not sure where my head has been lately, but I’ve had 0 time to blog lately. Work has been steady and I’ve been so tired in the evenings that I don’t remember how I even got to bed most nights. I’ve missed doing it so I promised myself that I’ll MAKE time in my day somehow.

Yesterday started out with a little Namaste Yoga followed by a sunrise breakfast of Kashi GoLean Crunch, organic skim milk and fresh pineapple. I know I’ve said it before, but I love mornings when I get to eat a leisurely breakfast at home instead of food on the run.

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After breakfast I did a little cleaning, a little laundry and then read for a bit. I tried to take the pup for a walk, but she laid down before we even made it out of the front yard. 😀

I met my friend at noon at the outlet mall near my house for lunch and shopping. No picture of lunch, but it was Chinese. Subway was calling my name, but lunch meat is on my “do not eat” list from the doctor and I just wasn’t feeling a veggie sub. We spent whole afternoon shopping and I only bought two things totaling less than $20! That’s a first. My bank account is thanking me.

I was exhausted when I got home so I took a little siesta. Fatigue has been a regular thing for me lately and I’m trying to figure out any way possible to incorporate a nap into my work day. Don’t think that’ll fly with the boss man. It’s really a shame.

My husband got home a little later than he’d expected. It was a pretty physical day for him at work so he wanted to pass on the gym. I wasn’t feeling extremely well so I bailed, too. We HAVE to stop doing this. It really helps my energy level and he made the comment that his jeans are starting to get snug again.

I put dinner in the crockpot before I left for my shopping trip. All I had to do was bake the biscuits and we were ready to eat! This recipe for Buttermilk Chicken is from my friend Kate’s blog. It’s one of my husband’s regular requests and perfect cold weather comfort food. We’ve also served it over brown rice, salad or pasta and it’s good every which way.

I don’t like any kind of gravy or mushiness on my bread so I had a little scoop of chicken sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan cheese and my biscuit on the side.

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After dinner it was Monday night TV time. We watched The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Jon + Kate Plus 8 before I called it a night.

Looks like another ridiculously busy day of work. I’m hoping to catch up on some of your lovely blogs after the gym tonight.

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