Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

This crock pot meal takes bout 10 minutes of prep time and the incredible smell all day will drive you crazy! It’s easy, nutritious, and makes at least 8 servings at less than 300 calories per bowl…of course, that depends on what you like to put on top – some ideas are, diced avocado, raw onions, shredded cheese, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), tortilla strips, or crushed corn chips…..

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Enchilada Soup

 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 /14 cups red enchilada sauce (store bought – or even better try the recipe below – very easy, healthy, and less expensive!)
1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 – 14 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 – 15 oz can creamed corn, no salt added
1 – 4 oz can diced green chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Add all ingredients – except chicken breasts – to a your crock pot; mix well. Submerge chicken breasts into the soup. Cover and cook for 6 – 8 hours on low. About a half hour or so before you are ready to eat, remove the chicken from the crock pot and use two forks to shred it; add it back to the soup, stir to combine, and let it cook for another half hour.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

1 chipotle pepper, plus 1 Tablespoon of the adobo sauce (the stuff the chipotle come packed in)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce, no salt added
4 Tablespoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Combine the chipolte pepper, adobo sauce, and 1/2 cup of chicken stock in a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth, with no solids remaining.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the four and whisk for 1 minute (being careful no to let it stick to the bottom). Add the tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and onion powder. Continue to whisk and add in the chipolte pepper mixture. Once the everything is totally combined and smooth; add in the chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time; whisking continuously to make sure you don’t get any lumps. Keep whisking until the sauce is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. You can use this immediately or let it cool and refrigerate it or freeze it.

This recipe makes almost exactly enough for 3 batches of the Enchilada Soup recipe above. I usually make this and use one serving for the soup and then freeze the rest in two equal portions – so the next time I want to make this soup, I just grab one from the freezer and I’m good to go!

 

 

Turkey Bar-B-Q – Slow Cooker

1 – 1/2 lb. turkey tenderloin
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (you can substitute water, if desired)

Spray the insert of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place the tenderloin in the bottom in a single layer. Combine the remaining ingredients together in a small box and mix well; pour sauce over turkey. Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours. About a half hour before it is ready, remove the cover and shred the turkey with a large spoon or 2 forks; replace the cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

This is great on toasted whole wheat buns or even served over whole wheat noodles!

 

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
2 cups potatoes, cubed (I use either red or Yukon gold and do not peel them)
2 cups carrots, sliced (I use baby carrots and quarter them)

½ Tablespoon olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons butter (I use Smart Balance Light with Flax)
2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 cups skim milk
1 ¼ teaspoons poultry seasoning – divided (I use Bell Seasoning)

1 cup frozen peas

Spray a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken, potatoes, and carrots into the slow cooker; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the poultry seasoning. In a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and onions; saute for about 5 miinutes and then add the garlic and saute for another 1 – 2 minutes. Add the onion mixutre to the chicken and veggies. Turn up the heat under the pan to medium and add the butter. When the butter is mostly melted sprinkle in the flour and 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning; using a wire whisk, mix well. You will have what looks like crumbs in the pan. Let this cook for about 2 minutes, keeping everything moving and letting the pan get fairly hot. Start adding the milk a little at a time, whisking well after each addition and making sure everything is smooth; letting the pan heat back up again before adding the next milk addition (this will help the sauce stay smooth and lump free). Pour this sauce over the chicken and veggies and mix well.

Cover, and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours. At approximately 7 ½ hours add the frozen peas, replace the lid and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

 

 

Spinach and Artichoke Mac & Cheese

I love spinach and artichoke dip and I love mac and cheese – so why not put them together for dinner!!

Spinach and Artichoke Mac & Cheese

Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese

1 lb. whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 10 oz. bag frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
1 12 oz. jar chopped (or quartered) artichoke hearts
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 cups milk (I use skim)
1-1/4 cups shredded Asiago cheese
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish with non stick spray.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package (I omit the salt). While the pasta is cooking, place a large saucepan over medium-low heat; add the olive oil and then the onions. Saute the onions for about 10 minutes; until they are soft. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 -3 minutes. Add the spinach and artichokes; season with nutmeg and pepper; mix well. Saute until the veggies are warm and well combined (3 – 4 minutes). Place all into a plate and reserve.

When the pasta is done cooking, drain, put pasta back in the pot and then add this veggie mixture to the pasta; blend well and keep warm while you make the sauce.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the butter. When the butter is mostly melted, sprinkle in the flour and, using a wire whisk, mix well. You will have what looks like crumbs in the pan. Let this cook for 2 – 3 minutes, keeping everything moving and letting the pan get fairly hot. Start adding the milk a little at a time, whisking well after each addition and making sure everything is smooth; letting the pan heat back up again before adding the next milk addition (this will help the sauce stay smooth and lump free). Once you have added all of the milk, add in the Asiago and Parmigiano Reggiano and whisk until smooth.

Add the sauce to the pasta/veggie mixture and put it all into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of Mozzarella over the top, cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cover, turn on the broiler for about 3 – 4 minutes to brown the top (watch very carefully!!).

 

 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

If you’ve read my recipes/blogs here before, you are probably surprised that I’m included a “beef” meal. Well, I’ve been adding some beef back into my diet for a little while now; not a lot, maybe 2 times a month. I decided I wanted some more variety and since I’ve been doing a lot of running (getting ready for my 2nd half marathon in November), I sometimes feel like I need it. So here it is, and it’s amazing!

 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1 lb. lean stew beef
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (plus some more for coating)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups low sodium beef broth
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups (approximately) chopped carrots (I use baby carrots and cut them in half)
2 cups (approximately) chopped potatoes
1 cup frozen peas

Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place about 3-4 Tablespoons of whole wheat flour into a zip lock bag; add in a few shakes of black pepper and garlic powder, shake it up. Put all of the stew beef cubes into the bag and shake to coat well. Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef cubes a few at a time to the pan and lightly brown on all sides. When they are brown, remove them and add them to the slow cooker. Once you browned all of the beef add the onion to the same skillet and cook for 2 – 3 minutes (just to very lightly soften them), add garlic and cook for about another 1 minute. Transfer the onion and garlic to the slow cooker with the beef and add in the carrots and potatoes. Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil to the skillet (still on medium heat). Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and using a wire whisk get it completely incorporated into the paste/oil mixture; cooking for a couple of minutes. Add the beef broth a little at a time, making sure to get each addition completely incorporated before adding more. Once you’ve added all of the broth, add in the bay leaves, thyme, allspice, and pepper; bring to a simmer, whisking all the time, until it is smooth and thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Pour into the slow cooker and mix everything well. Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours. Just before you are ready to serve; stir in the frozen peas, replace the cover for about 15 minutes.

Delicious!!

Mexican Shepherd’s Pie

This is a really easy and yummy variation of traditional Shepherd’s Pie using ground turkey, jalapenos, Mexican spices, beans, and corn; topped off with cheesy cornbread instead of mashed potatoes! When I serve it, I like to top it with plain Greek yogurt and avocado slices  😉

Mexican Shepherd’s Pie

Mexican Shepherds Pie
Mexican Shepherds Pie

1-1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small jalapenos, minced
1 Tablespoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 – 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 – 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt added
1 – 13 oz. can creamed corn, no salt added
1 cup frozen corn
1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce, no salt added

Cheesy Corn Bread:

1 cup whole grain cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup skim milk
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup of egg substitute)
1/2 cup canola oil
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450° Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Brown ground turkey over medium heat, when it’s about 3/4 done; add onion and continue cooking until the turkey is cooked through and the onions are soft. Add garlic and jalapenos to the pan and saute for a few minutes; until the garlic is slightly soft (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add the spices and mix well. Add the beans, corn (both types), tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Mix well.

Combine all cornbread ingredients in a bowl and stir until mostly smooth ( a few lumps are ok).

Pour turkey mixture into prepared pan, top with cornbread. Spread the cornbread evenly over the turkey mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown.

 

Section 1. ****VARIATION — Using Leftover Tacos!! ****

My “Healthy Tacos” recipe makes a TON of food; if you don’t have an army to feed, you probably have a big pan of left overs after this meal. What to do…. “Taco Pie” is a great option – but so is Mexican Shepard’s Pie. Here are the super simple instructions:

Ingredients:

Leftover Taco Mixture
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, drained (you can also use chick peas as a substitute)
1 – 13 oz. can creamed corn, no salt added
1/3 cup Salsa (any Salsa you have on hand)

Cheesy Corn Bread (recipe above)


If you don’t like corn bread or can’t eat corn, make Cheesy Drop Biscuits:

Ingredients:

2 Cups Whole Wheat Baking Mix (I use Hodgson Mill Insta-Bake Mix – click here)
1 Tablespoon Butter
2/3 Cup Shredded Cheese (any kind you like, I use sharp cheddar)
2 Tablespoons diced jalepenos
1 Cup Skim Milk
Oven temperature should be at 425° and the baking time will be approximately 14 – 18 minutes with this variation.

Place baking mix in large bowl, cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add cheese, jalepenos, and milk; mix well. Drop by large tablespoons over the taco mixture – do not spread, but make them somewhat close together to cover as much of the top as possible.

 

Preheat oven to 450°; spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Place taco mixture into a large frying pan, add beans, creamed corn, and salsa; mix well over medium heat until heated through. Meanwhile make Cheesy Corn Bread; set aside. Pour heated taco mixture into prepared pan; spread evenly. Top with Cornbread and spread evenly over taco mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden brown.

 

 

 

Chinese Duck Sauce

Today is Super Bowl Sunday! After much discussion over the past few weeks we settled on a slightly less than traditional Super Bowl feast — a Chinese Buffet 🙂 I’ll be making (all as healthy as possible…but this is a special occasion so….):

Chicken Fingers – Steak Teriyaki – Teriyaki Chicken Wings – Veggie Fried Rice – Egg Rolls – Duck Sauce – Chinese Gravy

I’ll be posting more photos and recipes later, but for now here is my Duck Sauce recipe. Eric loves duck sauce, but the store bought varieties are basically nothing but high-fructose corn syrup so he challenged me to make a healthy one. It passed the first taste test as I was preparing it and it’s now cooling in the fridge awaiting kick off.

Chinese Duck Sauce

Duck Sauce

1 cup apricot jam (I used All Fruit)
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger poweder
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon honey (I used Agave)
1/3 cup water (approximately – add slowly until you get a slightly thinner sauce than you want – it will thicken again when it’s cool)

Whisk the ingredients together well in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil on low heat; stirring almost constantly. Cool the sauce and store in the refrigerator.

Salmon Scampi

Salmon Scampi

Salmon Scampi
Salmon Scampi

 

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons margarine (I use Smart Balance Light)
2 – 6 oz. Salmon filets
1/2 cup onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup white wine (or you can eliminate the wine and use 2 cups of chicken broth)
1-1/2 cups fat free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to package directions (no salt)

Heat the olive oil over medium in a skillet, melt in the butter. Add Salmon; season with a little cracked black pepper and  a sprinkle of  garlic powder. Saute over medium heat and break up the filets as they cook. When the Salmon  is about half cooked add onions and continue sauteing until the salmon is almost done and the onions are soft. Now add the garlic, pepper flakes, basil; continue sauteing for another minute or two. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and then add the broth and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes. Pour entire mixture over cooked pasta; mix well. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan!

Baked Beans – Slow Cooker

I just recently started making some recipes in my crock pot and I can’t believe I went without it for so long! I love putting it together in the morning and then having a delicious meal at the end of the day. I can work later in the day, still get in a great workout (I just started P90X3…more about that in another post), shower or a hot bath, and then sit down to a yummy hot meal. I’ve always loved baked beans, but I haven’t owned a bean pot in years so I haven’t made them. Give this recipe a try and let me know how you like it.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

1 pound navy beans

The first thing you’ll need to do is soak your beans. I never remember to do this the night before, so I use the “quick soak” method. Rinse your beans in a strainer; looking for bad beans, rocks, dirt, etc. Dump the beans into a large stockpot and cover with about 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then let them continue to boil for 2 minutes; then take off the heat, cover, and let them sit for 1 hour. After the hour, drain and rinse the beans and they are ready for the recipe.

Navy beans, prepared as instructed
6 oz. can tomato paste, no salt added
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Chicken or Vegetable Stock, low sodium

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray. Combine all ingredients into cooker; mix well. Add enough stock to cover to about 1/2″ above beans. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 – 9 hours or HIGH for 4 to 5 hours. That’s it 🙂

Potato Salad

My sister, Debbie, makes the best potato salad on the planet…..ask anyone who’s ever tasted it. Since we live about 1,200 miles away right now – I’ve had to adapt and learn to make my own. I won’t even pretend that I can compete with hers…but I think this is pretty tasty…and it even has a “kick”. I like to serve it on a bed of mixed greens to give it some extra goodness, but that’s just me 😉

Potato Salad

Potato Salad with Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
Potato Salad with Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

 

5 or 6 medium red potatoes, cut into bite size pieces – big bites 🙂
4 large eggs, boiled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion (I used sweet, but red is awesome also)
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use  Trader Joe’s vegan mayo)
3 Tablespoons plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1 – 1/2 teaspoons Wasabi mayonnaise (more if you dare)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
Place the potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander and rinse with cold water.Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, Wasabi mayo, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Set aside.Place the potatoes in a large bowl,  add eggs, celery, onion, and garlic; toss well. Add the dressing and mix very well. Cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.