A home-cooked meal can soothe the soul after a long day at the office, but it can be tough to find the energy to prepare a solid meal. Rather than reaching for the takeout menus, why not whip up a hearty, healthy meal in the morning? Slow cookers are a must as the weather cools down since they allow you to cook a meal while you’re at work. All you have to do is throw all of your ingredients into the pot, set the timer and the temperature, and when you get home you’ll have a hot meal ready to eat. Another perk is that you can make large batches so you have plenty of leftovers for more dinners, late-night snacks and lunches to bring to work!
Check out these three easy-as-pie slow cooker recipes to try the next time you want to take a break from cooking. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you when you skip the delivery order.
This recipe from Shape magazine, which serves four, is heavy on the veggies and packs a flavor punch.
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bunch kale, chopped and stemmed
- Combine the onion, carrots, red pepper, garlic, chickpeas, tomatoes and their juice, vegetable broth, spices and cinnamon sticks to your slow cooker in the morning. Set the temperature to high and let it cook for six hours. Then switch the setting to warm and add in the kale about 20 minutes before you want to eat so it can wilt. Serve the stew over rice.
Eggplant pasta sauce
- Homemade tomato sauce is unbeatable, and this healthy variation from Fitness magazine is as easy as they come. The recipe makes enough for six portions, and each serving only has 346 calories, including the pasta.
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1 6-ounce can Italian-style tomato paste
- 1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- Black pepper to taste
- Cooked penne pasta
- Combine eggplant, onion, tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, mushrooms, red wine, water, garlic and oregano. Cook on low heat for seven to eight hours, then on high for another three and a half to four hours. Once it’s done, fold in the olives and parsley and scoop over pasta. Shred some parmesan cheese over your dish for added flavor.
Pinto bean stew
- If you want something hearty and flavorful with a Latin twist, this stew from Eating Well might be right up your alley. This recipe makes enough for eight servings, and each has less than 300 calories.
- 1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 6 cups water
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium red pepper, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 cup canned corn, drained
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Shredded Monterey jack cheese
- Tortilla chips
- Combine all your ingredients in your slow cooker, save the lime juice and salt. Cook for eight hours on low. If you want to cook the stew faster, set it to high for four hours. When time’s up, stir in the lime juice and salt and ladle into bowls. Top with cheese and crumbled tortilla chips, or serve the chips as a side, and enjoy.