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Crockpot Creations

We all have busy lives.  We want good clean food, but in order to control ingredients we need to prepare meals by hand and that takes time. Luckily there are a lot of kitchen toys to help you.  Today we're going to pull out the tried and true crock pot and let it do the work for you.   

Why use a crock pot?

  • saves energy

  • saves time

  • good way to use less expensive cuts of meat

  • use low temperatures (less chance of burning food)

  • will keep your kitchen cool

  • helps maintain nutrients

BALSAMIC CHICKEN Let the tang of balsamic vinegar surprise you in this dish.

4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs 1 pound carrots 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup honey 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic a pinch of red pepper flakes 

Melt butter in skillet or multi-cooker over medium high heat Add chicken thighs skin side down and let brown for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown Flip and let brown for 2-3 minutes on other side Wash and peel carrots, leave whole Whisk together vinegar, honey, salt, dried cilantro, garlic and red pepper flakes Add chicken to slow cooker along with carrots Pour balsamic mixture over the topCover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6 to 8 ROTISSERIE CHICKEN A rotisserie chicken is one of the best time savers.  Kick that up a notch and roast it yourself.  Raw whole chickens, in most cases, are bigger and cheaper than the fully cooked versions in the store.   You control the salt and other ingredients when you cook it yourself.

1 whole chicken (about 4-5 lbs.), insides removed 1 tablespoon smoked paprika 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (aluminum foil, or thickly-sliced onions or vegetables) 

Rinse the chicken thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels.

In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder until combined.  Rub the seasoning mix all over chicken — on the outside skin, the inside cavity, and (if you’re feeling brave) on the chicken breasts underneath the skin.

Roll up a few small balls of aluminum foil (or thickly slice some onions, and/or veggies) place them on the bottom of your slow cooker bowl to serve as a “rack” for the chicken, so that it doesn’t have to cook in the juices that will accumulate in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Place the chicken on top of the aluminum foil (or veggies), pressing it down a bit if need be for the lid to fit.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker (it may be so tender that it falls apart on you), discard the bones, and serve the chicken as desired. SLOW COOKER BBQ BEEF Here is where you can save money.  Buy a cheaper cut like chuck roast.  When you are ready for dinner you'll be amazed at the tenderness of the beef.  Buy grass fed when you can for extra nutrition.

2 ¾ – 3 lb. boneless beef chuck roast 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced 1 6-oz. can tomato paste 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 1 ½ Tbsp. apple cider vinegar ½ cup water 2 tsp. garlic powder 1 ½ tsp. oregano, dried 2 tsp. chili powder 2 tsp. smoked paprika 1 tsp. sea salt ½ tsp. black pepper Simple Cole Slaw 1 9-ounce bag cole slaw mix (shredded green cabbage, carrots and red cabbage) ⅓ cup Whole30-compliant mayo (such as Primal Kitchen) 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar ¼ tsp. garlic powder Salt & Pepper to taste

Slice onions and place on the bottom of the slow cooker. Cut beef roast into 3 chunks, about 1 lb. each. If searing meat before placing in the slow cooker, heat 1 Tbsp. fat of choice in a Dutch oven or other large pan over medium-high heat. When fat is hot, add beef and sear 4-5 minutes on each side, turning once. Transfer meat to slow cooker with the onions. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over beef and onions. Stir to coat meat and onions. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on LOW heat for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender and shreds easily. Remove meat from slow cooker to a baking dish and shred with 2 forks, return meat to slow cooker and stir into onions and sauce before serving. Store leftovers in a lidded container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for longer storage. TACO SOUP WHOLE30 Treat yourself to a warm soup after work.  Don't forget the avocado.

1 1/2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil 1 large yellow onion diced 4 bell peppers diced 2 pounds grassfed ground beef 2-3 tablespoons chili powder depending on how spicy you want it 2 tablespoons cumin 2 teaspoons sea salt 2 teaspoons black pepper 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper depending on how spicy you want it 28 ounces diced tomatoes 24 ounces bone broth- Find Here! 5 ounces culinary coconut milk 8 ounces diced green chiles


jalapenos green onions avocado cilantro lime

Slow Cooker

Melt the ghee in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté until soft and tender. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Add the grassfed ground beef and stir until it is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain the beef through a colander. Transfer the vegetables and meat to your slow cooker and turn it on. Add all of the spices and stir well. Add diced tomatoes, broth, coconut milk and green chiles and stir until well combined. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. Once it's ready, add any or all of the toppings listed. Enjoy!

CHUNKY MONKEY Did you know that you can make trail mix in your slow cooker?  Try this chocolate banana delight.

2 cup raw walnuts (halves or coarsely chopped) 1 cup raw cashews halves or whole almonds work too) 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (be sure to get big FLAKES not shredded) 1/3 cup coconut sugar 1- 1.5 tbsp butter (cut in slices) or at room temp 2 to 3 tbsp coconut oil to make vegan 1 tsp vanilla or butter extract 6 ounces unsweetened banana chips or dried banana slices 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips or paleo fudge chunks (we used Enjoy life foods brand) parchment paper

Place your nuts, coconut, sugar, vanilla, and butter (slices) or coconut oil in crock pot. Mix together and place on high for 45- 60 minutes. Stir a few times checking to make sure coconut flakes do not burn. NOTE -Reduce to low after 45 minutes if flakes are cooking faster or browning. Then turn to low for the next 20-30 minutes. Remove and place crock pot contents on parchment paper to dry out. Be sure to let it cool for at least 15 minutes before adding the chocolate and banana. Add in your banana chips and chocolate chips and mix together. Store in air tight container or Ziploc bag See notes for lighter version for vegans if you are using coconut oil, use 3 tbsp to start and then adjust half way to make sure all ingredients dissolve. You might need more or less. To lighten up the sugar/calories, use Stevia baking sugar and 1/2 cup of dark chocolate. CROCK POT APPLESAUCE What a treat!  Control your ingredients and make your own applesauce.

5 pounds apples, Transparent, McIntosh, and Sweet Sixteen are all wonderful 1/2 cinnamon stick or 1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 cup water

Peel (if desired), core, and quarter your apples. Place the apples with the rest of the ingredients into a 6-quart crock pot. Turn the crock pot to low and cook for 8-9 hours, (overnight), or cook on high for 4-5 hours until the apples have softened. Remove the cinnamon stick or any whole spices you’ve used. If you peeled the apples, you can either mash up the applesauce to your desired texture, or blend it. If you left the peels on, place the applesauce into the blender, being careful not to burn yourself, and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Dust off your old crock pot and have dinner ready for you when you come home.  Take advantage of the benefits of crock pot cooking and free up time to do the things your love.

Here's to your health!  Happy Cooking!


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