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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Crock Pot Lasagna Recipe

Though each one of us has their very own unique ways of preparing lasagna, the one thing we all share in common is our love for crock pot lasagna. Basically, this is because crock pot lasagna requires minimal effort, no manual attendance and most importantly, brings out the best flavors. Here's a good example of an easy to adopt crock pot lasagna recipe:

Ingredients:

  1.  18 ruffle edged lasagna noodles
  2.  Two pounds of Italian sausages - with their casings removed
  3.  Two cups of water
  4.  Two jars of tomato sauce
  5.  Two tablespoons of flat fresh leaf parsley that've been chopped
  6.  Two ounces of finely grated Parmesan cheese
  7.  One and a half pounds of grated mozzarella cheese
  8.  One pound of whole milk ricotta cheese
  9.  A tablespoon of olive oil
  10.  Thinly sliced fresh basil
  11.  Kosher salt
  12.  Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Start by heating a skillet over medium heat, warming olive oil and adding Italian sausages. As they continue cooking, use a wooden spoon to break up any large chunks into smaller ones. Then, wait for them to turn brown or, let them cook for 10-12 minutes. Proceed to add in two cups of water and tomato sauce and, give them a few more minutes to simmer. When ready, remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Take another bowl and add ricotta cheese followed by parsley and then salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

On the bottom of the slow cooker's insert, spread a thin layer of sauce mixture and cover it with one layer of uncooked lasagna. To make it easier for them to fit, break accordingly. Then, spread a thin layer of your ricotta mixture over these noodles. Repeat this procedure as you go about adding the remaining lasagna noodles. When done, top with the remaining sauce mixture and sprinkle a quarter and one cup of Parmesan and mozzarella cheese respectfully.

Next, transfer the insert into the base of a slow-cooker and cover it. Adjust to low setting and leave it to cook till all noodles become cooked through and tender. On average, this takes 5-6 hours.

Final Preparation:

Once your lasagna is ready, sprinkle a little of the mozzarella cheese on top and let it stand for 10 minutes or till all cheese melts.

Alternatively, you may transfer the crock pot's insert to the oven and let it broil for seven minutes or till the cheese turns golden brown and bubbly.

Lasagna

Serving:

Let the lasagna sit for 20 minutes before it gets served. You should also take time to cut it into pieces as well as garnish it with herbs, preferably basil.

Summary:

This crock pot lasagna recipe is highly praised for it saves on time (one doesn't have to be physically present to monitor the cooking) and, it always gives you lasagna that's full of flavor and nutrients.

 

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Great Crock-Pot Meals

Great Crock-Pot

Now that it's getting colder outside, you're looking forward to a nice, warm, hearty dinner that's ready when you get home. It's the perfect time of year to break out that crock-pot or slow-cooker to make a thick, beefy chili or a chunky vegetable stew. We've got some suggestions for great crock-pot meals that'll warm you up after a long, cold fall day. 

Meatballs

This is a versatile dish because you can customize it to taste. If you like a more tangy and fresh option, you can add ingredients like citrus dressing or lemon zest; if you like them more traditional, add tomatoes and cilantro. Just add the flavorings that you like to a bag of frozen meatballs, leave it in the crock-pot, and come back in a few hours after watching a movie or running errands.

One option is to make honey garlic meatballs. Mix together a quarter cup of honey, ketchup, and brown sugar, then add a few minced garlic cloves and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Pour the mixture over a bag of frozen meatballs and leave it on the crock-pot for four hours.

Lasagna

You don't just have to bake lasagna in the oven- you can make it in the crock-pot as well. It's a great, hearty family meal for those colder fall nights. Start by cooking a pound of ground beef round until it's no longer pink. Layer the bottom of the crock-pot with tomato sauce, then add a layer of frozen ravioli. Over top of the ravioli, add some ground mozzarella cheese. On top of the cheese, add a layer of beef. Continue adding layers until you've got your lasagna. This should be ready in about 4-6 hours.

Chicken

Chicken is a great option for the crock-pot because the slow cooking time allows the chicken to really soak up the flavor and moisture. Chicken is also such a versatile base: you can make anything from barbeque chicken to cacciatore. Or you can make a simple, inexpensive chicken and rice dish. Pour a few cans of vegetable stock or cream of chicken soup into the crock-pot, add your boneless skinless chicken breasts, and it'll be done in about 7-8 hours. Then mix the chicken with some rice and you've got a family dinner that everyone will love.

Beef Stew

This is the ultimate winter comfort food. While it has more ingredients and it takes slightly longer to make, you can cook a lot at one time and freeze it for later. Add chunks of potato, cooked beef, corn, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, carrots, onions, flour, celery, and beef broth into the crock-pot. The stew should be done in about 6-7 hours.

You can also add variations to the traditional beef stew. If you're a vegetarian, substitute tofu or soy for beef. Likewise, if you're not a fan of certain vegetables, you can substitute those in and out as well. Crock-pot stew gives you a wide range of options to slow-cook the foods you love in order to retain the moisture, flavor, and texture of a great autumn meal.

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