Tag Archives: crock pot

Basil Garlic Marinara Sauce (Crock Pot)

I am very passionate about my sauce ! My Italian Grandma and Mom taught me well :) I have been making my own since I was 16 and over the years developed a recipe that is LOVED and CRAVED by many. That recipe included cooking sausage and meatballs in the sauce – and that gives it a very rich flavor. But it also adds calories. So in my quest to keep things lower cal, I’ve been trying a few batches of sauce without meat and this one is really, really good. It comes quite close to my regular recipe !

I’ve added beef bouillon to make up for some of the lost flavor from the meat, I’ve added roasted garlic which gives a great depth of flavor (much different than dropping in raw or sautéed garlic) and I make sure to use tomato paste. Tomato paste is to tomatoes what lemonade concentrate is to lemonade – – it is highly concentrated and adds a different flavor than any other tomato product out there. And finally I add 2 secret ingredients – shhhhhhh ! Fennel and anise seeds add the flavor you would get if you cooked sausage in the sauce. It is the finishing touch that so many sauces are missing. You only get the slightest hint of taste of the seeds in the finished product. But let me tell you, without them, the sauce is just not the same.

If you’ve never tried sauce before – try !! This one starts from canned products, not raw tomatoes – so it is NOT labor intensive. And even a bad batch of homemade is better than a jar of Ragu ;) It’s what makes a pasta meal special, so do it up !

Basil Garlic Marinara Sauce
Basil Garlic Marinara Sauce

12 servings
58 calories per serving

8 cloves roasted garlic, minced
2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
¾ c water
1 T oil
2 t basil flakes
6 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 t oregano flakes
½ t red pepper flakes
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
½ t whole anise seeds
1 t whole fennel seeds
2 packets or 2 cubes beef bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot, cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-5 hours.

You can also put this in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes or simmer stove top for 2-3 hours.

The length of time does make a different – the sauce tastes much richer when simmered for hours than a quick sauce (which have their place in some recipes, but don’t equal a traditional slowly simmered sauce).


Freeze your extra portions and next time it’s pasta night, just defrost in the frig over night and quickly reheat in a sauce pan.

Let me know how you like it ! :)

Easy Pork Carnitas

This is another great authentic recipe that cooks all day in the crock pot – it turns out a fantastically tender and juicy meat that is easily shredded and tastes great with a bit of lime and avocado.

Easy Pork Carnitas
Easy Pork Carnitas

4 servings
208 calories per serving

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth
1 lime cut into wedges

Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a bowl. Rub spice mix into the pork.. Place the bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker and add the broth then put the pork on top. Cover and cook on low about 10 hours, turning half way through. Remove and let cool then use 2 forks to shred the meat. Use the left over liquid to moisten the meat. Plate and squirt each portion with a bit of lime just before serving. I like to serve this on a flour tortilla with some avocado slices (not included in calorie count above – add 210 calories for a flour tortilla and 2 -3 slices avocado)

Hamburger Soup (Crock Pot)

This is so tasty – it’s something I have made many times and everyone who eats it is always delighted with the great heartiness and warmth. Beings this is a crock pot recipe, you can start this one before work, come home, drop in the noodles and in 20 minutes you’ll have a healthy soup ready to go. Serve with some low fat biscuits or some Cheesy Spirals.

Hamburger Soup (Crock Pot)
Hamburger Soup (Crock Pot)

6 servings
260 calories per serving

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped coarsely
1 stalk celery in slices
1 package Lipton dry Beef Mushroom soup mix
14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
6 c water
½ t salt
¼ t pepper
1 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
2 c frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained
1 c uncooked fine egg noodles

Brown ground beef and drain thoroughly. Combine all ingredients except the noodles and frozen veggies in the crock pot, cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. 20 minutes before serving add thawed veggies and noodles and mix well. Increase heat to high, recover and cook another 20 minutes.

Black Bean Chili (Crock Pot)

This is one of the most awesome chili recipes I have ever made ! The depth of flavor was amazing. This is a truly authentic, rich, aromatic and spicy chili that is just plain PERFECT. Don’t forget the squirt of lime just before serving – it actually makes a big difference in the total package.

Black Bean Chili (Crock Pot)
Black Bean Chili (Crock Pot)

10 servings
280 calories per serving

1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed
1 T oil
1 T mustard seeds
2 T chili powder
1 1/2 t cumin seeds
1/2 t cardamom seeds (or ground cardamom)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
8 oz. jarred salsa verde (medium heat)
1/4 c water
4 c vegetable broth
6 oz. can tomato paste
½ t salt
2 T minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 1/4 c shredded low fat cheddar cheese
1/2 c low fat sour cream
1/2 c chopped cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges

Place beans in a bowl with 2 quarts of water and soak overnight. Mix oil, mustard seeds, chili powder, cumin and cardamom and place in a hot Dutch oven for 30 seconds to release more flavor then add in onions, mushrooms, tomatillos and water. Cover and cook 7 minutes then uncover and cook 15 minutes to lightly brown the veggies. Then add broth, tomato paste, salt and chipotles and mix. Place beans in a slow cooker and pour over the vegetable mix. Cover and cook on high 6-8 hours. Place into bowls and garnish with sour cream and cilantro and squirt with lime.

Chinese Pulled Pork (Crock Pot)

This recipe was really interesting. Usually when you think of pulled pork, you expect a spicy Southwest flavor. But this one has an awesome Chinese sauce that is mellow and mild and is perfect with pulled pork.

Chinese Pulled Pork
Chinese Pulled Pork

8 servings
227 calories per serving

1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c hoisin sauce
3 T ketchup
3 T honey
2 t minced garlic
2 t grated fresh ginger
1 t dark sesame oil
1/2 t five-spice powder
2 lb. boneless pork roast, trimmed
1/2 c chicken broth

Mix soy, Hoisin, ketchup, honey, garlic, ginger, oil and five spice and place in a zip loc bag. Add roast and mush it around so the spice adheres to the roast. Place in refrigerator for 3 – 24 hours. When ready to cook, place in crock and cook on low 8 hours. Remove roast and cover to keep warm. Place broth in croc, re-cover and cook another 1./2 hour or until sauce thickens. Shred pork and serve with extra sauce.

If you do not have Chinese 5 spice, here’s a quick recipe so you can make it yourself:

Mix all of this in a spice grinder and then use the appropriate amount in your recipe:

1 T peppercorns
1 T cloves
1 t anise seed or 1 T star anise
1 T fennel seeds
1 T cinnamon

Sausage and Bean Stew (Crock Pot)

What a great appetizer or lunch. The sausage, beans and garlic make a perfect stew. Served with cheese toast, this makes a great dish to serve to guests. Even with the bread, this dish comes in under 400 calories !!

Sausage and Bean Stew (Crock Pot)
Sausage and Bean Stew (Crock Pot)

6 servings
350 calories per serving

2 t oil
3 t garlic, minced
4 2 oz. turkey sausages (any flavor you like, I used Italian hot) cut into chunks
1 c water
1 c chicken broth
2 19 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 c baby spinach
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1/8 t salt
½ t garlic powder
2 T lemon juice
6 T shredded provolone cheese
6 1 oz. slices French bread

Heat oil and cook sausage until almost done. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add water, broth to crock pot then add spinach. Add salt and pepper and garlic powder. Add beans and then add sausage and garlic and any pan drippings to the top. Cook on low 3 hours. Add the splash of lemon during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve with Cheese Toasts. To make toasts, sprinkle bread slices with cheese and broil 2 minutes to melt cheese.

If you don’t have a crock pot, you can do this stove top is a soup pot – after cooking the sausage and combining all the ingredients, simmer on very low for 1 hour.

Mexican Pork Stew (Crock Pot)

This turns out a dish much like pork carnitas, but with a bit more juice so you can enjoy it as a stew. Serve it piping hot and enjoy !

Mexican Pork Stew (Crock Pot)
Mexican Pork Stew (Crock Pot)

8 servings
252 calories per serving

3 lb. pork loin
1 1/2 c salsa verde
1 3/4 c chicken broth
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 t ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained well
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/2 c low fat sour cream

Trim meat and cut into 2 inch chunks and place in crock pot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a saucepan mix salsa, broth, onion, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil then pour it into the crock pot. Add tomatoes and mix. Cover and cool 6-7 hours or until meat is very tender. Transfer meat to a bowl and keep warm. Pour the sauce an veggies into a skillet and cook for 15-20 minutes to thicken sauce. Add in pork and ¼ c cilantro and heat through. Garnish each dish with sour cream and cilantro.

To make this without a crock pot, preheat oven to 350 degrees and place pork, salsa, broth, onion, cumin, salt, pepper, tomatoes and ¼ c cilantro in a large baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake 2 ½ hours. Uncover and bake 15 minutes. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro.

Homemade Chex Party Mix (Crock Pot)

Feel free to mix this up as much as you want – use only one type of Chex if you only like one….don’t like peanuts, leave them out and put in more pretzels – – make it your own and make it often ! :)

Homemade Chex Party Mix (Crock Pot)
Homemade Chex Party Mix (Crock Pot)

24 servings
155 calories per serving

6 T butter, melted
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t garlic powder
1 ½ t Lawry’s seasoned salt
3 c Corn Chex cereal
3 c Rice Chex cereal
3 c Wheat Chex cereal
1 c peanuts
1 c mini pretzels
1 c bagel chips broken into small pieces (or melba toasts)

Mix butter, Worcestershire, garlic, and salt. Gradually stir in the rest of the ingredients and mix well to evenly coat. Cook uncovered on low 3-4 hours stirring every 30 minutes.

If you don’t have a crock pot, you can bake these at 275 degrees for 1 hour, turning and stirring every 15 minutes.

Chicken Jambalaya (Crock Pot)

A taste of Louisiana without all the work of a typical jambalaya. This is a really good version that is so easy to make ! It is homey and filling and flavorful and all the things a good jambalaya should be (even MUSHY is a good characteristic in a jambalaya and my daughter days this one is mushy). Serve with some extra tabasco on the side for people like me :)

Chicken Jambalaya
Chicken Jambalaya

6 servings
370 calories per serving

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 c chicken broth
2 c vegetable broth
¾ c water
1 ½ c raw brown rice
4 oz. low fat turkey sausage cut into slices
½ c celery, thinly sliced
Leaves from the top of the celery ribs
½ c onion, chopped
½ c green bell pepper, chopped
2 t Cajun seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ t hot pepper sauce
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
Pam

Spray a skillet with Pam and on medium high heat, cook chicken and sausage until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place in crock along with all the other ingredients. Cover and cook on high 5 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Cocktail Meatballs (Crock Pot)

These are always a hit at parties and they take no time to prepare. Just keep them simmering in a crock all during the party and you’ll see that they disappear pretty quickly. I like to serve them for dinner sometimes – make a salad on the side and you don’t have to wait for a party to enjoy these little stars !

Cocktail Meatballs (Crock Pot)
Cocktail Meatballs (Crock Pot)


6 servings
247 calories per serving (1 serving = 6 meatballs)

22 oz. frozen cocktail meatballs
2 cans fat free beef gravy (sometimes I use one that has onions in it)
salt and pepper to taste
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder

Mix gravy and spices. Defrost meatballs in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. Place meatballs in the crock and pour over the gravy. Cover and cook on high until heated through (about one hour). Then move to the low heat setting and you can keep these going another 3 hours while people pick at them.

Related Posts with Thumbnails