Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

Mimi's Fit Foods

I’m always on the hunt for good, flavorful and healthy slow cooker recipes.  I really kind of love my slow cooker.  Dinner time is sometimes hard to predict, especially after adding a little person to the household.  Perhaps there’s been a night (or SEVERAL) when I just couldn’t get around to dinner because of other demands.   Thus, the slow cooker saves us most of those nights (and some of those nights we get saved otherwise).    I’m SURE none of you have ever had this happen, but just in case you’re in my same boat and can relate, I will share my newest slow cooker find.

This is definitely a great addition to the slow cooker recipe family.  I love the rich, Chinese flavors.  I’m a huge fan of Asian cooking and flavors and this recipe didn’t let me down.  In fact, I’ve been enjoying it for a few days thanks to all the leftovers (which also saves us on some of those chaotic nights).

Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken
Adapted from Greatest.com and Emily Loves Food

24 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 4 large)
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water

To serve (Optional):
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped into bite sized pieces and briefly steamed
brown rice  (My favorite method to prepare is to bake it!)
toasted sesame seeds

Place the chicken breasts in the bowl of a slow cooker.

Combine the onion, garlic, honey, soy sauce, tomato paste and oil in a bowl, and pour over the chicken. Cook on low for at least four hours, preferably six.

20 minutes before you want to serve remove the chicken from the slow cooker. (If using, You’ll want to make sure your rice is nearly done at this point and broccoli is ready to be steamed.)

Combine the cornstartch and water in a cup or small bowl to create a slurry, and add it to the remaining sauce in the slow cooker, turning the temperature up to high to allow the sauce to thicken. While it thickens up, shred the chicken with a fork.

Add the shredded chicken back to the thickening sauce, turning the mixture occasionally.

When ready to serve, lay the broccoli over the rice, and top with 3 ounces of the chicken/sauce mixture, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Couldn’t be easier.

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 3 ounces of Sesame Chicken)
Calories:  170
Protein:  18.7g
Carbs:  20.9g
Fat:  1.9g (0.2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0.4g
Sugars:  18.4g

Nutritional Information
(Per Serving = 3 ounces of Sesame Chicken + 1/2 cup brown rice)
Calories:  278
Protein:  20.9g
Carbs:  43.4g
Fat:  2.9g (0.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.2g
Sugars:  18.4g

Fit & Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie with a Crumble Biscuit Topping

I kind of can’t believe that I haven’t shared this recipe yet.  It’s one of our family favorites.  I love making this for company too because everyone seems to love it, it goes a long way, and it’s healthy (without being completely obvious to guests).  I mean, who doesn’t love a classic chicken pot pie?!

This healthier chicken pot pie is so fantastic because we are able to cut calories by cutting out the traditional crust.  And, to be completely honest, I totally prefer this crumble biscuit topping anyway!  I had you at “crumble,” didn’t I?  It is everything that a crumble topping should be.  It requires one extra step, but it’s WAY worth it (and you can skip it if you really don’t care).  You partially bake the crumble separately from the filling, then scatter it over the top and slide it back in the oven to finish baking.  This increases the crunch factor (no soggy topping).

Now, this is an easy version of pot pie.  It goes in the slow cooker for starters.  I used frozen veggies (instead of freshly chopped), condensed soup (instead of making my own roux. . . which for the record, it’s always healthier to make your own roux), and there are no fresh herbs.  That being said, it’s still a winner in my book because the flavor is superb . . . especially when you consider the ease it takes to throw together.  It tastes very traditional and classic.  And, since I have a baby on my hip these days, my time doesn’t always allow for gourmet.  (I’ll share my gourmet version one of these days . . . which isn’t much different other than the fact that I use fresh veggies, make my own roux, and add fresh herbs.  So, you can pretty much do that on your own if you’re handy and have the time.)

This can be stretched to 6 servings if desired (making each serving 264 calories).  It can easily be doubled to go in a 9×13 pan as well.  I do this quite often when I have people over or when I am taking a meal into somebody.

It’s pretty awesome, tasty, and comforting.  Enjoy!

P.S.  This is a great use for leftover turkey.  Since the holidays are coming and you just might be left with some leftover turkey meat, you may want to consider using it in this recipe.


Fit & Easy Chicken Pot Pie
Mimi’s Original

Filling:
2 small red potatoes, cubed
2 cups frozen mixed veggies (my favorite mix is peas & carrots)
1 cup chopped onions (1 medium onion)
1/2 teaspoon chicken seasoning
(such as McCormick’s Grill Mates, Johnny’s Garlic, or Santa Maria)
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
12 ounces cooked, cubed chicken breast (about 2 large breasts)
1 (10-oz) can Cream of Chicken Soup (98% fat free)

Crumble Biscuit Topping:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup milk (I use 1%)
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients for filling.  Transfer filling mixture to slow cooker (before filling slow cooker, I usually spray it with cooking spray to make cleanup a little easier).  Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.

Towards the end of cooking time, preheat oven to 450 degrees and make biscuit topping.   Combine sugar, salt, baking powder, and wheat flour in a small mixing bowl.  Stir with a fork to combine.  Add milk and oil and gently stir with a fork until combined.  Drop pieces of dough (crumble the dough into irregularly shaped pieces that are roughly the same size) on a greased or parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (I line a jelly roll pan with a silicone baking mat).  Bake for 6 minutes (crumbles will barely be getting brown).  Remove from oven.

While crumble topping starts baking, gently stir filling mixture to evenly distribute heat.  Transfer mixture to an 8×8 baking dish (this can easily be doubled to fit a 9×13 baking dish).  Once crumble topping is removed from oven scatter it evenly over top of filling.  Place in a 450-degree oven and bake an additional 6 minutes or until crumble topping is golden brown.

Serves 5.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/5 the Recipe)
Calories:  316.8
Protein:  21.2g
Carbs:  38.9g
Fat:  10.2g (2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  5.8g
Sugars:  5.6g

Green Enchilada Soup

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup - Salsa Verde

Well, surprise!  Another soup option.  Yep, we still love soup in our house and this is one of my go-to favorites.  It’s full of flavor, fast, and easy!  What else can we really ask for, right?  I got a version of this soup from a friend and have adapted it a bit to make my happy in the nutritional information area.  Plus, I think it tastes pretty darn awesome.  I actually whipped this up for lunch (that’s saying something because I don’t really like to cook for lunch) and enjoyed EVERY bite!

Green Enchilada Soup

1 lb. chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 cups chicken broth (99% fat free)
1 1/2 cups green salsa (such as La Victoria Salsa Verde)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
toppings, optional

Heat on high in slow cooker for 2 hours or until heated through or heat in pot on the stove.  If desired (and if you can afford the calories) serve with toppings such as multi-grain tortilla chips, reduced fat grated cheese, light sour cream, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, avocado, and/or olives.

Serves 5.

Nutritional Information – (Per Serving/No Toppings = Approx. 1 Cup)
Calories:  198
Protein:  24.6g
Carbs:  22.1g
Fat:  2.3g (1.2g = Sat)
Fiber:  4.5g
Sugars:  4g

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