Have you ever thought of a crock pot as a transformative element? As a tool that could revolutionize healthy meal making?

One month ago, my life as a cook changed. All because of a crock pot. Or slow cooker. Whatever you want to call it. My vision of having preparing healthy meals instead of finding myself scrambling (and making unhealthy decisions) One month of starting to rely on my slow cooker on a never ending quest to find healthy recipes.

Looking for recipes when I was just getting started with slow cooking, I started with slow cooked beef chuck roast cooked flooded in red wine. The result was pretty tasty. After one month, we have two that have made the favorite healthy slow cooking list to be cooked again (frequently).

Finding Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes Line

Looking to broaden my healthy slow cooking horizons I attempted a recipe that I found thanks to my friend, Christy from Quirky Fusion. Her recipe for Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Tacos looked delicious, and now it has a place of honor on our google doc of favorite meals (yes, we have a google doc for everything).

Healthy Slow Cooking for 2013 | LiveDoGrow

We used  yogurt (no cream cheese) and vegetable stock (low sodium) instead of chicken.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that we could adapt it for each our tastes and needs (aka Weight Watchers Points).  I did not want to use any taco shells in mine and made a salad with more lettuce, whereas my husband wanted  a layer of taco shells. Each of us was happy, until a few days later when I discovered the left overs were gone.

Healthy Slow Cooker Meals for 2013 | LiveDoGrow

Finding Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes in Recipe Books

Then of course, came the recipe books. My first slow cooker recipe book was the Williams Sonoma The New Slow Cooker: Comfort Classics Reinvented where I found an appealing butternut squash and apple soup recipe. I tweaked it…to fit our needs, and the end result was scrumptious.

healthy slow cooking for 2013 | LiveDoGrow

Butternut Squash Apple Soup (tweaked by us)

1 butternut squash

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons  canola oil

1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 cup apple juice (unfiltered)

1 cup white wine (we used Riesling)

1 cup vegetable or chicken stock

1 apple (we used a Granny Smith), peeled and cored into chunks

1 cup fat free plain yogurt

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

chopped parsley

fried shallots for garnish

This recipe is not just “throw it all in the slow cooker” and walk away. First up, brown the butternut squash before putting it in the slow cooker. Saute’ the onion, adding in the apple juice, wine, and stock and then add the mix to the slow cooker for three hours on low. Then, add the apple and recover, cooking for one more hour.  The apple and squash should be tender.

Using a hand blender or food processor, mix until smooth  Add in 1/2 cup of yogurt.  Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Separately, mix together the remaining yogurt, curry powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. (for the record, this is possibly my new favorite combination over anything that needs a bit of “dressing.”)  Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle each serving with the curried yogurt.  Add parsley and fried shallots for garnish.

Healthy slow cooker meals for 2013 | LiveDoGrow

According to my Weight Watchers Recipe Builder, this recipe, tweaked to use yogurt and less canola oil is five points per serving, which makes it a very healthy option for lunch or dinner.

The good news is that having a slow cooker has forced us to do more meal planning, which has led to healthier meals each week.  So healthy that I have lost 1.8 lbs according to my most recent Weight Watchers weigh-in.  I just ordered The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes by Anupy Singla, and look forward to sharing our favorite recipes with you next month.

What about you? Do you use a slow cooker? What are your favorite healthy recipes?
elena sonnino
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Written by Elena Sonnino

Elena Sonnino

Chaser of Dreams. Life coach, wellness and travel writer, yogini, former teacher, adventure seeker, hiker, foodie …and oh right, cancer survivor. Elena writes about finding everyday wellness in far-flung lands and in her own backyard in the Washington D.C. suburbs.

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