Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

meal ideas ~ slow cooker time :)

It's getting to feel a lot like "crock pot" weather. Slow cookers are the ultimate convenience, simmering foods to perfection for hours at a slow and steady rate. I love this time of  year, as I have said many times- winter and autumn is a time for soups, stews, and other tasty tummy warming foods. Crock Pots are a favorite for me because of the convenience of cooking ahead and coming home to a hot meal. I was fortunate enough to find a "real" 2qt Crock Pot for me here at the ranch, makes just enough for two servings. (most that small are only for heating fondues and such) I will need to cut any recipes in half for my little pot, but that’s easy enough.

Italian Pork Zuppa
Olive Garden features this soup as one of their favorites, and mine too. However, theirs has way too much sodium for my health so we had to stop going; but, with this recipe I can control that. This creamy zuppa, soup in Italian, features savory pork, chunks of potatoes, and nutrient-rich kale. Seasoned with garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper, this diabetes-friendly slow cooker meal is a good source of protein, calcium, and iron.

1 pound ground pork
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
12 ounces tiny red new potatoes, each cut into 8 pieces
1 12 - ounce can fat-free evaporated milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups chopped fresh kale
Crushed red pepper (optional)

 In a large skillet cook pork, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is browned and onion is tender; drain off fat. Return meat mixture to skillet; add oregano, salt, and crushed red pepper. Cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Add broth and potatoes.

 Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. In a small bowl combine evaporated milk and cornstarch until smooth; stir into cooker. Stir in kale. Cover and cook for 30 to 60 minutes more or until bubbly around edge of cooker. If desired, sprinkle with additional crushed red pepper.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 303 cal., 12 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 53 mg chol., 542 mg sodium, 19 g carb. (2 g fiber, 4 g sugars), 20 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Vegetables (d.e): 1; Medium-Fat Meat (d.e): 2; Fat (d.e): 1; Starch (d.e): 1

Turkey Tortellini Slow Cooker Soup
In the mood for Italian but don’t have time to spare? Combine the ingredients for this slow cooker turkey tortellini soup in the morning, and by dinnertime you’ll enjoy a delicious meal that’s low in carbs and fat.

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
4 cups coarsely chopped roasted turkey breast (1 pound)
1 14 1/2 - ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 9 - ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 cups fresh baby spinach
6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

 In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker combine broth, the water, chopped turkey, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning.

 Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Stir in tortellini. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more or until tortellini is tender. Stir in spinach. If desired, sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 240 cal., 3 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 63 mg chol., 656 mg sodium, 25 g carb. (3 g fiber, 4 g sugars), 28 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e): 1; Lean Meat (d.e): 1; Vegetables (d.e): 1;

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