By Norelle Done, www.simpleliving.com
There’s a reason why the term “comfort food” was invented – sometimes we need it! For me, that desire starts happening in the fall, when the weather gets colder, the days shorter, and I come home from work in the dark. So I decided to give myself the ultimate comfort food experience – I hauled out my old, trusty crockpot. You remember those things from 50s nostalgia? My crockpot is still one of my all-time favorite kitchen appliances.
Think about it – I work all day, and my husband works all day. Lots of times, the last thing we want to do when we get home is cook. And on those dark, fall days? We love nothing more than the idea of walking into the house being greeted by the smell of a hot dinner bubbling on the stove.
Enter our crockpot. When I’m in a crockpot mood, I’ll spend some time on the weekend pulling together a few simple crockpot recipes, and I’ll also do my grocery shopping, so I have all of my ingredients ready for the week ahead.
Crockpots are so wonderful, because all you have to do is throw the ingredients into a pot in the morning before you leave for work, and by the time you return at night, the house smells like heaven, and dinner is ready. I am a huge fan of crockpots – especially during fall and winter. Plus, fall gives you a chance to take advantage of some of the great seasonal bounty. Here are a few easy and healthy crockpot recipes to get you inspired:
- Ten minutes is all it takes to prepare this Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup recipe. The chicken and black beans add important protein. If you can get them, I suggest using fresh tomatoes in place of canned, and substitute gluten free tortillas as needed. However, it’s also a good idea to keep canned tomatoes on hand so you can still enjoy recipes like this when you don’t have fresh tomatoes, and when you don’t feel like going out to the store.
- Talk about taking advantage of the fall harvest! Lots of important beta-carotene and more vitamin A than we can count in this Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup. The antioxidant properties make sweet potatoes a most important veggie to target, and lentils provide dietary fiber and plenty of folate and iron.
- Protein packed Granny’s Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili will keep you warm on cold fall nights and is perfect for tailgate parties, too! Spend just 15 minutes in prep time in the morning. This one serves well with corn bread or over whole grain rice for more nutrition.
- This Jerk Turkey Slow Cooker Soup has a nice south of the border kick to it and is also packed with protein.The fire roasted tomatoes and chilies will keep you warm at night!
- It doesn’t get any easier than tossing the whole chicken into the crock pot with veggies over the top and you are good to go! Your hardest work with the Slow Cooker Chicken Soup will be the 8 minutes it takes to slice the carrots, celery, and onion. For this recipe, you can cut and prep the veggies and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them. Talk about ridiculously easy!
Now you’ll have plenty of time in the evening for your workouts or just relaxing, as you try out some of these recipes. And please share your favorite crockpot recipes with us, too!
Featured photo source: ChowHound.com