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Friday, August 21, 2015

10 Quick, Easy, Healthy Crock Pot Dinners for that Back to School Craziness

The time has come where some kiddos have already headed back to school! Around me, the kids begin next week!  Teachers have been SUPER BUSY setting up their classrooms this week and life is about to get a bit more hectic! Back to school means new schedules, new routines, after school activities, sports, homework.....YIKES!!  I know for myself, my youngest daughter will be starting preschool, my oldest daughter will be heading to Kindergarten, and she is also involved in soccer, so we are at the beginning stages of the craziness! Whether you are a teacher heading back to work or just getting used to a new schedule as your kids head back to school, it's always nice to have some quick, easy, HEALTHY staple dinners that you don't have to put too much effort in to.  So, I have compiled a great little list of crock pot meals that I think will hopefully help you as the Back to School season gets in to full swing!



This is HANDS DOWN my FAVORITE crock pot meal!!  Seriously, it is SO good! So here's my tips....add some extra chicken and extra balsamic when you cook this.  Then, you can use that extra chicken in a salad or wrap for lunch the following day or two!

Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients:
Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken
  • 4-6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 1 Medium Onion thinly sliced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp each: dried oregano, basil, and rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • Ground Black Pepper and Salt to taste
Directions:
1. Pour the olive oil on the bottom of slow cooker.
2. Add chicken breasts, salt and pepper each breast..
3. Put slicked onion on top of chicken then put in all of the dried herbs and garlic cloves.
4. Pour vinegar.
5. Top with tomatoes (optional)
6. Cook on high for 4 hours or  low on 8 hours. 

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Flank Steak Fajitas

Ingredients:
Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas
  • 1 1/2 lbs Flank steak
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-5 bell peppers (color of your choice)
  • 100 percent whole wheat tortilla
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Shredded lettuce/spinach (optional)
Directions:
  1. Combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  
  2. Rub the spice mixture over the flank steak and place steak at the bottom of slow cooker.
  3. Sprinkle the soy sauce on top of the steak.  
  4. Top with diced jalapeno and minced garlic.
  5. To top it off, add the sliced bell peppers and onion.
  6. Turn the slow cooker on HIGH and cook for 5 1/2-6 hours.  Steak should be easily shredded.  
  7. Drain the meat and peppers well then serve on a 100% whole wheat tortilla with toppings of your choice. 
Busy Tip:  During my typical Sunday meal prep,  I slice all of the peppers and onion. Then, it literally takes about 5 minutes to put this together before letting it cook for the day.  The kitchen smelled great and the meal tasted even better! 
 
 
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Slow Cooker Chicken Salsa

Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Chicken Salsa
Ingredients:
  • 1-2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 4 large diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups (roughly) of your favorite natural salsa 
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flake
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (if you want to make it spicy) 
Directions: 
1. Place the chicken in a crock pop, as well as all of the other remaining ingredients on top.
2. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
3. After 7 hours, shred the chicken in the crock pot and allow it to cool down before serving.   
**Before serving, I added some diced onions, red and green bell peppers, and a little lime to enhance the flavor! This goes GREAT with some brown rice!

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 Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos


Ingredients:
Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
  • 4 raw, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 bell peppers (I used a red and green one)
  • 1 cup natural salsa (no sugar added) 
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 1/2 sweet onion 
  • Hard taco shells or 100% whole wheat tortillas

Directions:
  • Place the chicken in the crock pot.
  • Add the salsa.
  • Top with the black beans, peppers, and onions.  
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until chicken can be pulled apart easily.
  • Serve in hard taco shells or on whole wheat tortillas  
 
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 Slow Cooker Balsamic Pear and Portobello Mushroom 


Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Balsamic Pear and Mushroom
Ingredients:
  • 2 raw, large chicken breasts (about 7 ounces each)
  • 1 medium pear, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/4 pound Portobello mushroom, sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:
  • Place all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the chicken easily falls apart when stirred.  (5 hours was good enough for me)
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Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup


Ingredients: 
Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
  • 2 lbs chicken (raw) cut up into 2 inch pieces
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 chopped carrots
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta
 
Directions:
  •  Add all of the ingredients, except the noodles, in the slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours (6 worked perfect for me). The last hour of cooking, add the pasta and continue cooking for about one more hour.   
 
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 Slow Cooker Chicken and Spinach

I found this recipe from The Gracious Pantry and it fits PERFECTLY with my theme of "quick easy crock pot meals!"

Ingredients:
Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Chicken and Spinach
  • 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1 pound frozen spinach
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 jar of (18oz) of clean / natural marinara sauce
Directions:
  • Place all ingredients in a 5 quart slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Chicken should easily fall apart. 
 
 
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Another yummy recipe from The Gracious Pantry!

Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken 
 
 
Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken
 Ingredients (Serves 4):
  • 2 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar of your favorite clean salsa
  • 4 small raw zucchini, halved, quartered, then sliced (shredding works too)
  • 1/4 medium, fresh pineapple
 Directions:
  1. Turn on slow cooker to the low setting and put in the chicken and salsa. Cook for about 4-6 hours. Slow cookers vary, so base the time on that. The chicken should fall apart easily when finished.
  2. Shred the chicken using two forks and mix in your raw zucchini and fresh pineapple.

 

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Slow Cooker Nacho Soup  
 

Ingredients:
* 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Nacho Soup
* 6 mini sweet peppers, cut or diced into small   pieces
* 1 medium onion
* 1 can organic black beans
* 1 can low sodium corn
* 1 large can of organic diced tomatoes
* 4 cups of vegetable broth (I use organic)
* 1 1/2 tsp cumin
* 1 tsp chilli powder
* pepper
* light shredded cheese
 
Directions:

1. Cook the chicken on high for 4 hours in the slow cooker with some broth (I just added broth enough to cover the chicken) and 1/2 an onion. 
2. Once cooked, cut the chicken in to small pieces, or you can shred it.
3. Add the rest of the onion, sweet peppers, black beans, corn, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, cumin, pepper and chilli powder. Cook on high for about 1 hour. 
4. Sprinkle some cheese, top with some left over sweet peppers, and enjoy!

**You can also serve with a side of yellow or black corn tortilla chips!
 

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 Slow Cooker Chicken Rice Soup
 
Ingredients:
Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners, Health Crock Pot Dinners, Crock Pot meals, Clean Eating, Healthy Dinners, Meal Planning, Easy Dinners, Successfully Fit, Lisa Decker,
Slow Cooker Chicken Rice Soup
  • 1 1/2 half to 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup carrots (chopped)
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 10 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (garnish)
  • Salt and Black pepper to taste
 
Directions:
  1. Combine onion, carrots, celery, garlic, rice, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper in slow cooker.
  2. Top with chicken breast halves.
  3. Add chicken broth.
  4. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 6 1/2 hours or on high for about 3 1/2-4 hours.
  5. Remove chicken and shred then return to the slow cooker.  While you have the chicken out, remove the bay leaves as well.
  6. Stir soup, add parsley, and serve!
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There you have it!  I've included several of my (and my family's) FAVORITE crock pot dinners and even added a couple of new ones in there!  I hope this helps ease your crazy schedule as you and your family start back to school! 


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