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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 12, 2017

Healthy crock-pot meals for an on-the-go lifestyle

By Katie Westphal, BSN, RN | Oct 12, 2017

With cooler evenings on the horizon, warm meals and comfort food start to make a comeback this time of year.

With jam packed schedules and school activities in the evenings, it can be difficult to find the time to make a healthy meal at home. This will often lead to fast food, take out, and more easy dinners on the go.

Unfortunately, this can also add up to a lot of extra money and calories. In this month’s newsletter, I am sharing three Crock-Pot meals that you can prep ahead to help make your life a little simpler. Nothing feels better than knowing you have dinner ready before you even get home from work!

 

Asian Broccoli and Beef

Ingredients

2 1/4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (optional)

3 cups broccoli florets

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon orange marmalade or 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel

1/3 cup dry-roasted cashews, coarsely chopped

3 cups hot cooked cellophane noodles or brown rice

 

Directions

1. Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 2-inch pieces. Place meat in a 4-quart slow cooker. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of the orange juice, the ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Pour mixture over meat in cooker.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. If desired, stir in sesame oil. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Add broccoli to cooker. Cover and cook about 15 minutes more or just until broccoli is tender.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a medium bowl. Using two forks, break meat into smaller pieces. Add broccoli to meat in bowl; cover and keep warm.

4. For sauce, strain cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan. In a small bowl stir the water into cornstarch; stir into strained cooking liquid. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in orange marmalade and the remaining 1 tablespoon orange juice.

5. Add cashews and about half of the sauce to meat mixture; toss gently to coat. Serve over hot cooked noodles. Pass the remaining sauce.

Nutrition Facts:

Makes: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup broccoli beef mixture plus 1/2 cup noodles

PER SERVING: 327 cal., 8 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 70 mg chol., 481 mg sodium, 34 g carb. (2 g fiber, 5 g sugars), 28 g pro

 

Italian Herbed Chicken and Mozzarella Melts

Ingredients

Non-stick cooking spray

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total)

2 medium green sweet peppers, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1 cup bottled spaghetti sauce

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)

1/4 cup snipped fresh basil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

8 slices whole grain Italian bread

Apple slices (optional)

 

Directions

1. Lightly coat a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Lightly coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook about 2 minutes or until light brown on both sides, turning once.

2. Place sweet peppers in prepared slow cooker. Top with chicken. Sprinkle with rosemary. Pour spaghetti sauce over chicken.

3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 1/2 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 hours.

4. Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil; set aside. Using a slotted spoon transfer peppers and chicken to a medium bowl, reserving cooking juices. Using two forks pull chicken apart into coarse shreds. Add olives to chicken. In a small bowl combine mozzarella cheese, basil, and Parmesan cheese.

5. Place bread on prepared baking sheet. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until toasted. Turn over bread slices. Top each slice with some of the chicken mixture; drizzle each with about 1 tablespoon of the cooking juices. Sprinkle each with cheese mixture. Broil 1 to 2 minutes more or until toasted and cheese is melted. If desired, serve with apple.

Makes: 5 servings

Serving Size: 1 open-face sandwich

PER SERVING: 296 cal., 10 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 118 mg chol., 584 mg sodium, 20 g carb. (6 g fiber, 4 g sugars), 31 g pro

 

Italian Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients

1 pound ground pork

4 cups water

2 14 1/2 — ounce can lower-sodium beef broth

1 14 1/2 — ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained

1 6 — ounce can tomato paste

1 cup chopped onion (1 large)

3/4 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, crushed

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 9 — ounce package fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)

 

Directions

1. In a large skillet cook pork over medium heat until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks; drain off fat.

2. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker combine cooked pork, the water, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, uncooked wild rice, garlic, Italian seasoning, paprika, fennel seeds, black pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper.

3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Stir spinach into soup.

4. Serve topped with cheese.

Makes: 8 Servings

Servings Per Recipe: 8 PER SERVING: 274 cal., 11 g total fat (5 g sat. fat), 45 mg chol., 315 mg sodium, 24 g carb. (6 g fiber, 8 g sugars), 20 g pro

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