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3 Delicious (and Easy!) Ideas for Your Slow Cooker

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Katherine Brooking, RD - Blogs
By Katherine Brooking, MS, RDRegistered dietitianOctober 26, 2015
From the WebMD Archives

I have a confession to make: I love eating fresh, nutritious food but I am not in love with cooking. One day, perhaps when I retire, I may find myself happily grocery shopping, chopping, and stirring. But until then, I have a secret weapon to help me enjoy the healthy, delicious meals I love without spending hours in the kitchen: the slow cooker.

Why A Slow Cooker?

It will save you time and money. After just a few minutes of prep time, you can toss in the ingredients and go about your day. No slaving over the stove – the slow cooker does the work for you. You’ll come home to a nutritious and delicious meal and won’t be tempted to dine out (saving you money and calories).

And the slow cooker is eco-friendly. It uses about the same amount of electricity as a light bulb! You can even use it in summer, as it won’t heat up the kitchen like a traditional oven.

Perhaps the best feature of the slow cooker is its versatility. It’s not just for stews and soups. In fact, you can make everything from pasta sauce to seafood…even vegetables and desserts are ideal for this kitchen essential.

Three Easy Slow Cooker Recipes to Try

Here are three dishes that you can cook up anytime you want something easy and wholesome. All recipes are courtesy of Michele Scicolone, author of over 20 cookbooks and a master of the slow cooker.

Pesto Chicken
(Serves 4 to 6)

  • Basil Pesto
    • ¾ cup fresh basil leaves
    • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 4-pound chicken

Make the Pesto: In a food processor, chop the basil, parsley, and garlic until fine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Blend in the oil.

Make the Chicken: Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken cavity and reserve for another use. Trim away excess fat. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper to taste. Carefully lift the chicken skin covering the legs and breasts.

With your fingers, spread the pesto between the surface of the meat and the skin.

Place the chicken in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Serve hot.

Copyright 2010 The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta
(Serves 6)

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds of medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Scrape the onion into a large slow cooker. Stir in the tomatoes, wine, oregano, salt to taste, and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.

Rinse the shrimp and pat them dry. Stir the shrimp into the sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Cover and cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the shrimp are tender and cooked through. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot.

Copyright 2013 The Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Apricot Baked Apples
(Serves 6)

  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 6 Golden Delicious apples, cored
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup dry white wine or apple juice
  • 1 2-inch strip lemon zest

In a small bowl, mix together the apricots and raisins. Stuff the apples with the mixture. Place the apples in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the tops with the sugar. Pour the wine or juice around the apples. Place the lemon zest in the liquid.

Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, or until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife.

Serve hot or cold with the cooking juices.

Copyright 2010 The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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About the Author
Katherine Brooking, MS, RD

Katherine Brooking is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition education from Columbia University. She is dedicated to helping people have better health and live richer lives through sound nutrition and good lifestyle choices.

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