When winter rolls around, everyone starts running for the hills … “hills” meaning crackling fires, Snuggies, and comfort foods. But despite the slow-down, everyone still needs to head to work in the morning and take care of a jillion chores every night–which is where slow cooker healthy recipes come in. Here are six options to warm your blood and cozy up this season.
Slow Cooker Healthy Recipes To Beat The Winter Blues
1. Braised Fennel with Sausage and Cannellini Beans
Sausage and fennel are a match made in heaven, every bit as well-paired as peanut butter and jelly, or cream cheese and lox. Add some creamy cannellini beans and you’re bound to experience a satisfying meal at home, as shown in this recipe from Southern Living. Serve with crusty bread and a nice slab of butter, and your family members or guests will love you forever.
2. Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and dumplings probably get the gold medal for comfort-iest of all comfort foods. This easy-peasy recipe a) is beloved by all ages and b) actually contains peas, so it makes for some good puns. You know, just in case dinner conversation gets a little stilted. Its lovely base of onions, celery, carrots, and chicken gets a wonderful kick from thyme, bay, and oregano. And of course, let’s not forget a savory topping of biscuit dough and Parmesan. Seconds, please.
3. Slow Cooker Veggie Chili
Don’t worry, vegetarians: there’s something in here for you. A slow-cooked veggie chili is just the thing to spice up a cold winter’s night and works equally well on a hectic weeknight as it does on a lazy Sunday. You’ll enjoy all the classic chili flavors, from cumin and garlic to cinnamon and good old-fashioned chili powder. This recipe even gets some extra flair in the form of cocoa powder, hearkening back to those Mexican roots. Its 7- to 8-hour cooking time on low can be hastened to just 4 or 5 hours if you turn it on high.
4. Macaroni and Cheese
Sorry, did you say mac ‘n’ cheese in a slow cooker? Yup. This amazing recipe combines your favorite ingredients from childhood with a little adult sophistication for a culinary delight that will please all. It’s more of a weekend food, as it only takes four hours to make: three on High and one on Low. Prep time is quick, however: Just a little boiling of macaroni and shredding of cheese, and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to set some cheese aside for sprinkling over the top. (Or, just grate up an additional hundred cups or so and layer that on. Right?)
5. Red Beans and Rice
Bring the magic of a balmy Cajun winter to your kitchen this winter. This red beans and rice recipe is easy as pie, and every bit as comforting. Gimme Some Oven has you covered with a mouthwatering combination of Andouille sausage, garlic, and red kidney beans. Don’t forget the classic combination of onions, bell peppers and, celery, which characterizes Southern and Caribbean cooking, as well as a hefty dose of Creole seasoning. Extra bonus? You can throw the beans in dry and they’ll come out nice and tender by the time you get home for the day.
6. Pulled Pork
Forget going out for barbecue; you can stay in and enjoy a nice pulled pork sandwich with the company of your own Netflix subscription.The simple ingredients and easy whip-together instructions in this traditional pulled pork recipe will make your mouth water. The cooking time calls for 5 to 6 hours on high, but if you want to leave it while you’re out for the day, just turn it to low.
7. Slow Cooker Eggplant Parmesan
Slow cooker healthy recipes like this one mean no excess oil and fat from pan-frying. And by subbing in nutritious eggplant for the usual chicken, you’re able to make a lighter, more vegetarian-friendly take (provided you screen the other ingredients, too). Thanks to marinara sauce and oodles of cheese in this classic Eggplant Parmesan recipe, you’re sure to enjoy a rich, flavorful comfort food right out of your slow cooker, at no cost to your wallet and waistline.
Looking for more slow cooker healthy recipes? Catch this video from One Pot Chef:
Next time you’re feeling a little grumpy about the cold weather, throw on a reindeer sweater and pull out ye olde Crockpot. With just a bit of prep work and a few hours of you’re-at-work-instead-of-standing-at-a-hot-stove time, you’ll have a steamy and delicious dinner waiting for you upon your arrival. Slow cooker healthy recipes: epic! Old Man Winter: defeated!
Loved these slow cooker healthy recipes? Which one will you be making? Let us know in the comments section below!