5 Easy, Sugar-Free Crockpot Meals
I tend to use the crockpot more in the Fall and Winter, but now that I have a very mobile toddler and have been pregnant, time is of the essence. I kept forgetting to defrost meat from the freezer, or simply couldn’t get to the grocery store for fresh produce around nap schedules, work and diaper changes. The easiest fix was to keep my pantry stocked with low-sodium, organic items like canned tomatoes and beans, and my freezer with a variety of proteins. This way if I forget to defrost something, no biggie, just toss it into the crockpot in the morning, set the timer and dinner is cooking away.
I modified a few ingredients to make them IgniteGirls-approved, but here are several ideas I wanted to share with you:
1) Sweet Potato Chicken and Quinoa Soup, recipe and image from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.
This was DELICIOUS and I froze the leftovers to save for another meal. It made for a great anytime-of-year crockpot meal.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless organic chicken breasts
- 1 cup uncooked, rinsed quinoa
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled (1 pound, or about 3 1/2 cups)
- 1 can (15.25 oz) low sodium black beans
- 1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced, low sodium tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 5 cups low sodium, organic chicken broth
- Optional: fresh parsley
- Spray the slow cooker with nonstick spray. Remove the fat from the chicken breasts and put them into crockpot along with rinsed quinoa.
- Chop the sweet potatoes into cubes adding them into the slow cooker.
- Add canned black beans. Next add petite diced tomatoes, minced garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper and chicken broth.
- Place on high for 3-5 hours, or longer if your chicken is frozen (6-7 hours).
- Using two forks, shred the chicken and stir all the ingredients together.
- Add fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
2) Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti Squash, recipe and image from Oxygen Magazine.
Guuurl, you know as an Italian I love my pasta and sauce! Subbing spaghetti squash for pasta saves on starchy carbs, plus there’s a ton of fiber in squash.
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound grass-fed lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 large egg
For the sauce:
- 2 (14 oz) cans low-sodium diced tomatoes
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 dried bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half, remove the pulp and seeds
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half on the perpendicular. Remove the seeds and pulp and discard. Place the two ends face down in the slow cooker. If you have a small slow cooker, you will probably want to cook the spaghetti squash in the oven or microwave instead.
- Put all ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Combine well. Form 1- to 2-inch meatballs and place them directly into the slow cooker surrounding the squash.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the tomato sauce but leave out the basil. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and squash. Cover and cook on low for five to six hours, or on high for three to four hours. When 30 minutes remain on the clock, add the basil. Test the doneness of the squash by piercing the skin with a fork. If it goes through easily, it’s done.
- Use tongs to carefully remove the squash. Run a fork along the squash pulp to pull out strings of squash. Discard shell.
- Serve meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti squash. Top with Parmesan cheese (optional).
3) “1 Million Dollar” Vegetable Lentil Stew, recipe and image from Chocolate Covered Katie.
A smart vegetarian choice when you want a meatless option while still reaping the benefits of the protein from lentils. To make this a complete IgniteGirls-approved meal from The IgniteGirls Life nutrition plan, add 1 – 2 pounds cubed grass-fed steak. Adjust broth and cooking time accordingly.
- 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups bell peppers, sliced or diced
- 4-6 carrots, sliced
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 6 cups sliced varied mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 (15 oz) can low sodium lentils
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 (15 oz) cans petite diced organic tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (5 oz) box raw spinach
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (important)
- Heat a large saucepan, then add the oil and onion. Sauté 5 minutes, until onions begin to brown.
- Add the garlic, peppers, carrots, and celery, and cook 5 more minutes.
- Then add everything else up to the cumin, and cook 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Now add all but the spinach and lemon zest. Transfer the ingredients to your crockpot at this time. Time will vary if you use a slow cooker, depending on the strength and size of your particular crock pot.
- Add spinach and lemon at the very end, and cook 2-3 minutes until the spinach wilts.
4) Slow Cooker Cherry Almond Steel Cut Oatmeal, recipe and image from The Yummy Life.
With the holidays fast-approaching, this is a healthy option for out-of-town guests to wake up to in the morning. You could also turn this into an Apple Cinnamon delight.
- 3/4 cup dried tart cherries (make sure there’s no added sugar in the ingredients!)
- 1 apple, peeled and grated (approx. 1 cup grated); or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
- 1 teaspoon Truvia (or a little more to taste)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grass-fed, organic butter
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Optional garnish: toasted sliced almonds
- Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours.
- Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.
- To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl, add 1/3 cup almond milk and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.
7 servings (3/4 cup per serving).
Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.
5) Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps, recipe and image from Skinny Taste.
A light, but filling recipe that is perfect for warm Summer nights, or chilly Fall days camped out in front of the TV watching your favorite football team.
For the chicken:
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 celery stalk
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 cups (16 oz) organic low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup Frank’s Wing or Red Hot Sauce
For the wraps:
- 6 large Bibb lettuce leaves
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 2 large celery stalks, cut into 2″ matchsticks
- In a crock pot, combine chicken, onions, celery stalk, garlic and broth (enough to cover your chicken, use water if the can of broth isn’t enough).
- Cover and cook on high 4 hours. If chicken is frozen, add 2-3 hours to cook time.
6 servings (1/2 cup per serving).
I’d love to hear, what are your favorite crockpot recipes? Post the link to the recipe in the comments below! Happy crockpot cooking!
– Coach Keri
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