Heathy Crock Pot Roast Recipes

If there was ever an ideal purpose for a Crock Pot (or any slow cooker) it is to slowly cook a roast to tender perfection.  While your classic pot roast is definitely an option, there are scores of other classic roast recipes you can prepare in a slow cooker.  Here are some timeless choices that will either have you plugging in your Crock Pot or running out to buy one.

Perfect Pot Roast

For this recipes and most roasts you will need a six-quart cooker to give the meat and vegetables adequate room to simmer in the cooking liquid.  Start with a four-pound beef chuck roast, 3 cups of reduced-sodium beef broth, 1 cup of red wine, and various vegetables such as turnips, potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, onions, shallots, and tomatoes.  The vegetables can be any array of your liking.  Place the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker, cover with liquids, then add bay leaves, fresh thyme (whole sprigs), and a half cup of coarsely chopped parsley leaves.  Cook on low for eight hours and you have a one pot meal.  Strain the broth and use it to make a gravy for the roast but be sure to save any additional liquid for a soup, stew, sauce, or even cooking rice.

Heathy Crock Pot Roast Recipes

Classic Roast Beef

Since the dry ingredients for this already have very high salt contents be sure to use unsalted beef broth for great flavor while keeping the sodium under control.  Place a four to five pound beef roast of any kind in a Crock Pot then mix together one pack of dry brown gravy mix, one pack of dry Italian salad dressing mix, and one pack of dry ranch dressing mix in a bowl.  Pat the dry rub on all exposed sections of the roast then add two cups of unsalted beef broth into the Crock Pot.  Depending on the size of the roast, it will need to cook for seven to nine hours on low heat.  At the seven and eight hour marks check the roast to make sure it does not become overcooked and rubbery.

Savory Pork Roast

You are not limited to beef roasts in a Crock Pot so consider trying a slow cooked pork roast for a change of pace.  You will need a four to five pound center cut pork roast, bay leaves, your choice of similar vegetables to those used in a pot roast, and two packages of dry pork gravy mix.  Rub the meat with the dry mix then add the roast, vegetables, a few bay leaves, and two cups of hot water to your Crock Pot.  Let everything cook on low for six to eight hours being sure to check the meat at six and seven hours to make sure it doesn’t get overdone.  Use the cooking liquid to make a rick pork gravy to serve over the roast and be sure to save the reserve as pork gravy is delicious over ham, pork chops, mashed potatoes, and even grits!

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Repurposing Beef Broth

Broths and stocks are absolute wonders for cooking with.  They can add amazing richness and flavor with almost no effort and are considered a staple by countless chefs and home cooks.  The other great thing about broths is their versatility and their ability to be reused.  Rich, dark, savory beef broth is one of the best broths you can repurpose due to the number of things you can use it for.

Different Forms

Beef brother can be store-bought or even homemade.  A broth made from roasted bones and vegetables is truly a delight due to the deep flavor and beautiful color you get from a homemade broth.  Yet many commercial options are available and at long last reduced sodium and even unsalted broths are on store shelves.  Canned/boxed broth and granules or cubes are convenient but they are often very high in sodium.  Beef broth base or starter can be used and since they are so concentrated a little goes a long way.  There are even unsalted and organic beef broth base products readily available which are great for cooking with.  Once you have found the product that is the most convenient and versatile for you it’s time to start cooking.

Repurposing Beef Broth

Different Foods

I don’t know how other people might prepare a corned beef brisket, but roasted for hours in a slow cooker surrounded by a liquid of beef broth and dark beer yields a succulent result.  Whatever you do keep that wonderful stock after you remove the brisket!  The flavors and juices from the meat plus the delicious spices have completely infused the broth and you have an invaluable cooking liquid.  This leftover broth makes a divine and uncommonly rich beef stew, a perfect repurposing of beef broth.

Some grains and vegetables are fantastic cooked in beef stock, particularly green beans and potatoes.  Other savory side dishes that cook up beautifully in the broth include rice or even a classic risotto Milanese.  If beef stroganoff is on the menu, cook the noodles in the beef broth and/or use it to make the sauce.  Not only will repurposing beef broth give you amazing flavors it will help out with your budget.

Soups

In addition to beef stew, leftover beef broth can be used as a base for other hearty soups.  Try it in a vegetable beef soup with or without barely.  You can even make a delicious steak and potato soup with chunks of stew meat and large chunks of potatoes.  Leftover beef broth also makes a wonderful chili that gives a depth of flavor guaranteed to please almost any palette.

Storage

If you have a lot of leftover beef broth but are unsure of what to do with it your freezer is your friend.  Broth freezes and reheats very well meaning it will be ready for use when you are.  Just pour it into a sealable bag, container, or even ice cube trays to freeze it until you need to use it.  Once you have started using beef broth instead of water you will most likely consider it you new “go-to” seasoning staple.

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Are Jet Stream Ovens Healthier?

Jet stream or simply jet ovens have made a big impact on the culinary world.  They cook with any combination of infrared, fans, steam, and can even be used for hot air frying by using next to no oil.  There is no doubt that all of these are healthy choices, especially the hot air frying.  Here is some detailed information about jet ovens ranging from small countertop appliances for home use all the way to commercial grade models that can easily run $30,000-$40,000

The Technology

Jet ovens have food ready with the speed of a microwave but delivers the same results you would get in a traditional oven by quickly cooking, baking, and even browning food while preserving freshness and flavors.  The technology utilizes pressurized hot air that impacts food up and down on each side to directly transfer the heat energy thus cooks food two to four times faster than a traditional oven.  All functions and adjustments can be made on the oven’s control panel which gives you time, heat, and fan speed settings.  Most ovens have stackable, adjustable racks and steaming functionality can be added with an optional boiler.  Most jet ovens offer different levels of steam power in order for the optimal cooking of a variety of foods.  Steaming is an extremely healthy way of preparing food which is yet another mark for these versatile appliances.  And with the adjustable racks a small, countertop jet oven is a great option for people who don’t have a lot of space or need additional cooking options but cannot install another oven in their kitchen.

Jet Stream Ovens

 

Available Options

When it comes to consumer-grade small countertop jet stream ovens the market seems to belong to Nesco.  Infomercials have made this a wildly popular item but it is also a very well-constructed appliance that not only offers great customer support, an overwhelming number of consumers report they are very happy with the item and would purchase it again.  With its halogen heat and convection fan, the Nesco Jet Stream 2 touts the ability to air fry, bake, broil, grill, roast, or steam food.  That can definitely be considered a multi-tasking appliance and note all of these are very healthy cooking methods that use little to no oil.  Plus it is one small device that can be used in place of or in conjunction with your other kitchen equipment.

If you are looking for the same technology but the next sizes up, you might want to consider the Fujimak stainless steel FGJOA5 jet oven that looks remarkably like a grill and is made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel.  Its mechanical elements are housed in separate compartments so the cooking cabinet is a cinch to wash.  For those who want to use healthy and efficient jet stream technology in commercial ovens, the Doyon JA28 electric convection oven features the patented Jet Air System which is ideal for quickly baking cakes and pastries in addition to reducing the cooking times for meat and vegetables.  If one looks at the speed and efficiency jet ovens offer then add the benefits of cooking with little to no oil or fat, it can be accurately stated that jet ovens are in fact a very healthy way of cooking.

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A Quick and Easy Weekday Meal for the Whole Family

As temperatures are beginning to dip, more and more people are reaching for their favorite comfort foods; the rich, hearty, stick-to-your-bones kind of food that you want to eat while curled under a blanket with your loved ones as a fire roars in front of you. Unfortunately, most people do not have the time or the energy after a long day of work for of preparation and cooking involved in making that kind of food. If you are one of those that craves homey-goodness but needs to get dinner on the table quickly, this budget-friendly recipe is for you.

Shepherd’s pie comes to us from England and is simple, filling and delicious. While it is traditionally made with minced lamb (hence the “shepherd” in “Shepherd’s pie”) this recipe calls for the cheaper and typically more accessible ground beef. You could substitute ground turkey, chicken, lamb or pork, depending on what you have on hand. As a shortcut, frozen mixed vegetables are used in lieu of washing, chopping and preparing fresh vegetables.

Ingredients: (Serves 6)

  • Three large potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1-inch chunks
  • 2T sour cream
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick (1/4 cup or 8T) of butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn)
  • 1 ½ lbs ground beef
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1t Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Shredded cheese

A Quick and Easy Weekday Meal for the Whole Family

Preparation:

  1. Set frozen vegetables out at the beginning of preparation to help defrost. The vegetables do not have to be completely thawed before using.
  2. Preheat over to 400F degrees.
  3. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil and add cubed potatoes, reduce to simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Over medium heat, melt 4T of butter in a large sauté pan. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook about 6-10 minutes until fragrant and tender, stirring frequently. Add ground beef and cook until browned, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Add vegetables, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce to mixture. Bring broth to a simmer and then reduce to low heat.
  6. Keep uncovered and cook about 10 minutes. You may need to add more beef broth to keep mixture from drying out.
  7. Spread the mixture out into the bottom of a large 9x13 baking pan. Allow to cool slightly before adding mashed potatoes.
  8. Once potatoes are tender (a fork can pierce easily), drain water and remove from pot. Combine potatoes with sour cream, heavy cream, and remaining butter, using a fork or potato masher to mix together.
  9. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat and vegetable mixture, spreading out to cover. Cook in the preheated oven until the top is browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
  10. Optional: During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add shredded cheese to the top of the pie for extra deliciousness.
  11. Remove and allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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How to Make Delicious Homemade Chicken Nuggets You Feel Good About Serving Your Family

When my daughter was eighteen months old I proudly, and a little bit smugly, watched as she downed just about every food that was put in front of her; broccoli, asparagus, cheese, steak – she ate with abandon and glee. I naively believed that we had escaped one of the most difficult and frustrating parts of parenting – the picky eater.

Then she turned two, and it was as if a switch was flipped on her birthday and my adventurous eater who used to wolf down a baked potato loaded with butter, cheese, bacon, chives, sour cream and broccoli would only eat sour cream and cheese – alone, with a spoon. She turned her nose up at everything I put in front of her, even things she used to love.

One day we were out to eat and she stole a chicken nugget off of one of her friend’s plate. Before I could scold her and make her give it back, she did something incredible – she ate the chicken nugget. All of it. And wanted more. Ever since I have been on a quest to perfect the chicken nugget. Those frozen nuggets you can get at the store might taste good, and are great in a pinch, but if my daughter was only going to eat one kind of meat I wanted to know exactly what she was eating – no mystery, processed chicken parts coated in unknown and unpronounceable ingredients. Below is the basic recipe that we love in my family, and the best part is that you can tailor it to your family’s needs and tastes. Even if you don’t have picky eaters, this is sure to be a winner at the dinner table.

How to Make Delicious Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cups mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Using panko bread crumbs give the nuggets a great, crispy crunch but you can use whatever you have available. I have also found that using mayonnaise keeps the chicken nice and moist while it is baking, but you can also use 2-3 whisked eggs as a coating.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.
  2. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Place the chicken in a small bowl along with the mayonnaise and stir until all the chicken is covered. Sprinkle mixture with salt and pepper.
  4. In another bowl, mix together panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese*. Add the chicken to the bowl and stir until the chicken is well coated. You may need to press the chicken into the mixture.
  5. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and bake, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

* This is a great step to customize your chicken nuggets. You could use garlic and onion powder, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, taco seasoning or ranch dressing seasoning to change the flavor of the nuggets.

Image Credit: pixabay.com