Basic Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats

Steel Cut Oats for Slow Cooker - Overnight

Breakfast in the slow cooker is a pretty novel idea.  I mean, you throw a few things in there before bed and then wake up to a hot breakfast . . . along with a home that smells warm and cozy.  If you ask me, this is so perfect for fall as most of us yearn for warmer recipes and cozy smells.

If you enjoy oatmeal, you’ll enjoy eating steel cut oats from the slow cooker.  They taste very similar to rolled oats, but seem to taste slightly heartier and also have a heartier texture.  This is a very basic recipe on how to cook steel cut oats in the slow cooker.  I’m hoping to make “fancier” versions this fall to share with you all.  However, because it technically is fall, I added about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the oats when I put them in the slow cooker (this is totally optional).  I think that cinnamon elevates the flavor of oats and makes them taste a little sweeter without adding sugar.  The cinnamon also creates a wonderful aroma when mixed with the cooked oats.  When I dish my portion out of the slow cooker I love to add a little drizzle of sugar-free maple syrup (it’s only about 10 calories, so why not!?) and a splash of milk.

This was definitely comforting and very filling (thanks to the heartiness).  Stay tuned for “fancier” versions in the near future.

Basic Steel Cut Oats for the Slow Cooker

1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Mix oats and the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  If desired, serve with a drizzle of sugar-free syrup and a splash of milk.

Serves 4-5.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 3/4 Cup, Cooked)
Calories:  124
Protein:  5.3g
Carbs:  24g
Fat:  2.2g (0.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.6g
Sugars:  0g

*Note:  Most sites claim that steel cut oats are gluten free.  I know several people who are gluten intolerant that perform just fine after eating steel cut oats.  However, if you have a strong gluten allergy, you may want to buy steel cut oats that are actually labeled gluten free.

Slow Cooker Chile Verde

Tomatillo Chile Verde

I’ve already confessed my love for tomatillos.  We grow them in our garden because we love them so!  Here’s another FABULOUS use for them.  Of course, if you don’t grow your own, you can easily find them in your grocery store (which is what I do during the winter months).

I love chile verde!  I always want to order it when I eat out at Mexican restaurants, but I hesitate to do so because I’m always worried about how they actually prepare it.  Here is a great way to enjoy it at home without any of the worry.  This is SUPER tasty and I’m so glad that my sister Becca shared the recipe with me.  Becca is a wonderful cook and when she gave me this recipe I had no doubt the I would love it.  It’s just what chile verde should taste like.  The tomatillos combined with onion, garlic, green chiles, and cumin is unbeatable.  The white beans add a nice dimension of flavor and texture as well.  (You’ll just want to note that the beans count toward your carb count so don’t overdo it on your rice/tortilla portion.)  Oh!  It’ll make your house smell sooooo good too!

Here’s to a home-cooked chile verde that is as good (or better, I dare say) than what you would find at a restaurant!

Slow Cooker Chile Verde
Recipe Source:  My Sister, Becca

1 lb. chicken (or turkey or pork)
4-6 cloves garlic
1 lb. tomatilloes, peeled and diced
14 oz. chicken broth, low sodium & 99% fat free (Swanson’s)
4 oz. green chiles
1 teaspoon cumin
1 large onion, diced
1 can great northern beans, drained & rinsed
cilantro, chopped (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and cook in slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.  15-20 minutes before serving, shred meat and add ½ cup fresh cilantro, if desired.  Serve in tortillas or over rice.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  149.7
Protein:  20.2
Carbs:  14.9
Fat:  1.6g (0.2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  4.6g
Sugars:  3.1g

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Happy first day of March!  This day is good news to me because I absolutely LOVE spring and summer and we’re getting that much closer to these fabulous seasons!  (Plus it is my nephew’s first birthday today and I love him so much!  Happy Birthday C-Bug!)

But since the weather is still kind of cold, I have another cold-weather meal for you today.  Who’s never heard of Taco Soup?  It seems like it is a common soup option for many.  I mean, what’s not to love about it?  It’s a taco in a bowl and I love my taco coming in a soup option when we’re in the colder months of the year.

The GREAT news about Taco Soup is that it is usually well balanced with proteins, fats, and carbs.  Plus it is loaded with antioxidants (thanks to those beans!).  There are several variations of Taco Soup, but here is one of my go-to recipes and I like it because it’s so quick and easy.  It seems like the most time-consuming part is opening each can of goods with a can opener.  It could easily be called Taco-Dump Soup because mostly all you do is open a can and dump it in the slow cooker.  Pretty easy, right?

If you’re REALLY counting carbs and calories, leave out the corn.  That’s what I did here because I am being strict with my carbs and calories right now (I’m going on a beach vacation soon so of course I’m watching my calories a little closer . . . more on that later).   You’ll see that I calculated the nutritional information for both options – corn or no corn.  So, prepare it as you wish (or rather as you need to), but enjoy every bite!

Slow Cooker Taco Soup
Adapted from allrecipes.com

1.5 pounds (24 oz.) lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 (16-oz.) can chili beans, with liquid
1 (15-oz.) can black beans with liquid
1 (15-oz.) can whole kernel corn, with liquid
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 (14.5-oz.) cans peeled & diced tomatoes
1 (4-oz.) can diced green chile peppers
2 tablespoons (or 1 package) taco seasoning

In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef with 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning over medium heat.  Drain, and set aside.

Place the ground beef, onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chile peppers and remaining taco seasoning in a slow cooker.  Mix to blend and cook on Low setting for 8 hours (or High setting for 4 hours).

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving, without Corn)
Calories:  266.7
Protein:  21.8g
Carbs:  26.3g
Fat:  9.5g (3.7g = Sat.)
Fiber:  7.1g
Sugars:  5.6g

Nutritional Information (Per Serving with Corn)
Calories:  291.5
Protein:  22.6g
Carbs:  32g
Fat:  9.8g (3.7g = Sat.)
Fiber:  7.7g
Sugars:  5.6g

Grandma Grover’s Chili

Hey!  Halloween is here and I just had to post chili today because eating chili is a Halloween tradition . . . in my family and in Beau’s family!  Both of our families host Halloween get-togethers and chili is the main course.  As I talk around my friend circles, I’ve learned that this is a fairly common tradition.  So, if you want a chili that is a little healthier this year – this is a great recipe!

This is a family favorite recipe from Beau’s side.  It’s been passed down through a couple of generations now and it is usually my go-to chili recipe.  Why?  Because it’s fast, easy, healthy, and oh-so-good!  It has a very traditional taste to it.  There are some chili recipes that have spices in them that totally stand out.  While I like those, this recipe is nicely balanced.  It has a chili taste with a rich tomato base.  It really is SUPER tasty and you can about guarantee that I’ll be eating this on Sunday at the Hunter Halloween Carving Party.  The main question for Sunday is . . . what in the world am I going to dress up as?  Hmmmmmmmmm???  Any ideas?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Hearty (Halloween) Chili
Adapted from Grandma Grover

1 lb. ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 15-oz. can chili beans
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes (juice and all)
1 8-oz. can V-8 juice
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1. Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Add ground turkey and chopped onion.  Cook until turkey is brown and no pink coloring exists. Drain well.

2.  In a large pot at chili beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, V8 Juice, ketchup and brown sugar.  Stir to combine.  Add ground turkey/onion mixture to pot and stir to combine.  Cook over medium heat until heated through, about 20 minutes.

SLOW COOKER METHOD:
Follow step 1 as outlined above.
Follow step 2, but add all ingredients to the slow cooker.  Cook on low 4-6 hours, or on high 2-4 hours.  I love this method because I think the slow cooking method really helps the flavors to meld together well.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories: 355.7
Protein:  31.7g
Carbs:  40.1g
Fat:  9.1g (2.9g = Sat.)
Fiber:  10.9g
Sugar:  11.6g

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

As I’m placing this post in here, I’m wondering what in the world took me so long to share it with you!  It has got to be one of the most versatile, yet easiest recipes to make.  When I don’t have time, or I’m at a loss of what to make for dinner – this is probably what I come up with 50% of the time.

In my opinion, the best thing about this recipe is that the finished product can be used in so many ways.  I love to make a big batch of this and use it a couple of times during the week is different ways . . . serve it over rice, in burritos, taco salad, enchiladas, taquitos, etc.  There is no doubt that if I know I am going to have a busy week, with limited amount of time to cook dinner most nights, I make a big batch of this!  It makes meal time a snap to throw together when the chicken is already cooked and ready to go.

This also freezes very well!  So, making a big batch and freezing what you don’t use is a great way to have a meal at your fingertips when you’re just not in the mood to cook one night (like that ever happens, right!?)!

I suppose I must tell you not to be fooled by the simpleness of this recipe.  Slow cooking the salsa with the chicken for all those hours really powers up the flavors!  You can use any kind of salsa with the level of heat you like (I usually use medium heat salsa).  I’ve made this with red and green salsa varieties and I love it every time.   This is tasty right out of the slow cooker as is, or you can always serve it on a bed of rice (one of my favorite ways to enjoy it . . . mostly because I LOVE rice) or any of the ways I mentioned above.

You can definitely find ways to “fancy” this up by adding additional seasonings (taco seasoning, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, etc.) or ingredients (corn, black beans, tomatoes, etc.), but for the sake of keeping the recipe in its most simplistic form, I’ve left all of that “fancy” stuff out on this post.  Why?  Because it is very delicious in its simplistic form (it is delicious in “fancy” forms too) and I thought you should know that so you don’t have to waste time and effort if you don’t have the time and/or effort to spare.

Do not delay . . . add this to your weekly menu and I’m sure it’ll become a family favorite in no time!

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Approx. 1.5 lbs)
1 cup salsa

Add chicken to slow cooker.
Pour salsa over chicken.
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Remove chicken from the slow cooker.  Shred.  Place shredded chicken back in the slow cooker and stir to combine with salsa.  Allow salsa to soak into chicken (about 20-30 minutes) before serving.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 4 oz.)
Calories: 133
Protein:  26.6g
Carbs:  4g
Fat:  1.5g (0.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.1g
Sugars:  0.3g

Slow Cooker Multigrain Hot Cereal

I’m giving a “shout out” to my aunt Annie today!  This recipe comes straight from her and I’ve been in love with this hot cereal ever since she shared the recipe with me! First off . . . I love the cooking method.  I am usually quite busy most mornings, so the option to cook breakfast in the slow cooker overnight works wonders for me!  I don’t even have to really do anything and I just wake up to a hot breakfast.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!  Additionally, I love the taste that comes from the mixture of all these wonderful whole grains.  I might have to say that my favorite grains in the cereal would be the quinoa and the wheat.  I just love the texture that these two grains provide in the cereal and when I eat the cereal it’s almost as if the grains pop in my mouth.  This is one of those hot cereals that I love to throw my Strawberry Topping on.  It makes it SO delicious.  I also like to mix up a serving size of my vanilla protein drink and then pour it over the cereal (like you would milk).  Stirring Greek yogurt into the cereal has also proven to be wonderful as well!  However you decide to enjoy it, I hope you find as much pleasure in the cooking method AND the taste as I do.

Slow Cooker Multigrain Hot Cereal
Source:  Adapted from Aunt Annie

4 cups steel cut oats
1/2 cup barley (whole, not pearled)
1/2 cup red quinoa (or white works too)
1/2 cup kamut
1/2 cup spelt
1/2 cup rye
1/2 cup amaranth
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup wheat

Combine all ingredients making 8 total cups of dry cereal.  (You can easily change the proportions to fit your tastes.)  Put desired amount of cereal into a strainer and rinse thoroughly (this hot cereal cooks in a 3 to 1 ratio . . . 3 parts water to 1 part dry cereal).  Measure 1 cup rinsed cereal to 3 cups water (and a dash of salt), put in glass pyrex bowl and set it inside the slow cooker.  Put enough water in the slow cooker so the water is barely touching the bowl, going about 1/4 – 1/3 up the pyrex bowl.  Cook on high for 4 1/2 hours, then on low for 1/2 hour more. You can also cook on low for 8-10 hours (cooking it overnight so it is ready for breakfast the next morning).

Add desired toppings like strawberry topping, maple syrup, raisins, milk, fresh/frozen berries, protein drink, yogurt, etc.  You can also put in vanilla or almond flavoring.

Alternative Cooking Method
Add to rice cooker in 1 to 3 ratio of cereal to water.  Add a dash of salt and cook as you would rice.

1 Cup Dry Cereal Makes Approximately 4 Servings.

Nutritional Information without Topping(s)
(Per Serving =  Approx. 3/4 Cup Cooked Cereal)
Calories:  134.6
Protein: 5.2g
Carbs:  26.4g
Fat:  2.1g (0.4 = sat)

Meatball Subs

Meatball Subs | Mimi's Fit Foods

I love using my leftover meatballs and turning them into meatball subs.  Talk about fast and easy . . . without sacrificing flavor!  These can easily be eaten for lunch or dinner and, depending on your complex carbohydrate allotment, you can easily adjust the type of bread/bun you eat with these.  Enjoy!

Meatball Subs
Mimi Original

4 Meatballs From Slow Cooker Turkey Italian Meatballs
1/4 Cup of Sauce (From previous Recipe as well)
1 Whole Wheat Bun/Roll

Reheat meatballs (either in the microwave or on the stove top in a saucepan).  Meanwhile, toast bun under broiler (watch carefully to avoid burning).  Once toasted, place meatballs on bun.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Serves 1.

Nutritional Information (With a 100-Calorie Thin Bun)
Calories:  310.8
Protein: 32g
Carbs:  36.8
Fat:  4.5 g

Slow Cooker Turkey Italian Meatballs

Slow Cooker Turkey Italian Meatballs | Mimi's Fit Foods

I usually try to make one night of the week a slow cooker night.  I look at my week in advance and determine the day that I will have the least amount of time to make dinner (usually Tuesday) and that is the lucky day that gets deemed my slow cooker day.  My slow cooker is a HUGE time saver and it allows me to have a healthy, homemade meal on a night when I otherwise would have no extra time to cook.  These meatballs take very little time to throw together, taste great, and I get to come home from work to an Italian-smelling home.  Divine!  All you do is assemble a very basic meatball recipe, layer the meatballs in the slow cooker, pour jarred spaghetti sauce over them, and cook on low for 8 hours.  You can always choose to make your own sauce (which I do on occasion), but I resort to jarred sauce often because the main reason I make this meal is to save time.  These work great as appetizers, but I usually eat them with my serving size allotment of whole wheat pasta (yes, I am a pasta babe!).  However you choose to enjoy these, I hope you find the same pleasure I do in divulging a tasty meal that requires little time and effort.  (And, if you have leftovers . . . I will be providing a great recipe tomorrow to help you take care of those!)

Slow Cooker Turkey Italian Meatballs over Pasta

Slow Cooker Turkey Italian Meatballs
Mimi Original

20 oz (1.3 lb) ground turkey breast 99% lean
1/4 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt

1 jar of light marinara sauce (such as Ragu Light)

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, egg, garlic and salt. Using your (clean) hands, mix all the ingredients well until everything is combined. Form small meatballs, about the size of a ping ping ball (I use my 2 tbsp. cookie scoop).

Carefully layer meatballs in slow cooker.  Carefully pour marinara sauce over meatballs.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  If desired, Serve over whole wheat pasta.

Serves:  5

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 5 Meatballs + 1/2 cup Sauce)
Calories:  253
Protein:  32.6g
Carb:  19g
Fat:  4.3g (1.8g = Sat)