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Slow cooker meals for fall-set it and forget it!

I made an early new year’s resolution; to use my slow cooker at least once a week.

Slow cookers were designed to make my life (and yours!) easier, healthier and – BONUS- free up our time in the evening so we can have more quality time with family and friends.

Why I love my crock pot:

You can throw together the ingredients the night before, pull out the crock pot in the morning and dinner will be ready in a few hours. And, you walk in the door to the most delightful and mouthwatering dinner aroma ☺
You can use less expensive cuts of meat because they will be tender and delicious by the end of the day. Saves money!
You use little to no oil in the cooking process because the meal is cooked using time not added oils. Saves calories!
I love driving home from work already knowing what’s for dinner and what will end up being our lunch the next day.

Here are a few of my favorite slow cooker recipes.

 

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BARBACOA BRISKET:

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 pound trimmed beef brisket
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

Preparation:
1. Combine first 9 ingredients (through garlic) in a medium bowl, stirring well to combine. Rub mixture into brisket.
2. Arrange tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the brisket on top of vegetables, and drizzle any remaining spice mixture over brisket and vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
3. Remove the brisket from the slow cooker, and shred meat with 2 forks. Return brisket to cooker, and toss with the vegetables.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-barbacoa-brisket

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VEGAN BLACK BEAN CHILI:

Ingredients
1 pound bag of black beans
1 onion, chopped
¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon of ENTUBE Harissa Chili Paste or 1/8 of a cup of taco seasoning
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes or 3½ cups homemade diced tomatoes
3 ounces of tomato paste
1¾ cup water

Preparation

The night before put the beans in a large stock pot and cover with water by about 3 inches.
The next morning, drain the beans and throw the water away.
Put the beans in your slow cooker
Add the onion and spices.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and the water.
Stir well.
Cover and turn on low and cook for 8 hours.
Or if you want it faster you can cook on high for 4 hours.

Recipe modified from the websites listed below:

http://veganinthefreezer.com/

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10 MINUTE TORTILLA SOUP-no crock pot required!

Okay, so you don’t have a crock pot, but you do have a hungry family to feed. Here’s my simple 10 minute soup that the entire family will gobble down.

Ingredients
1 chopped white onion
2 cups of Trader Joe’s Healthy 8 chopped veggie mix (or, you can chop your own veggies, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, etc., I prefer letting TJ’s do the chopping for me☺)
1, 32 ounce container of low sodium chicken broth
1 cup of cooked and chopped chicken
2 cans of S & W 50% lower sodium black beans
1 can of Trader Joe’s Jalapeño refried black beans
1 small container of your favorite salsa (try to find a low sodium version)
Chopped cilantro, shredded Tillamook Mexican blend cheese and sour cream on top

Preparation
Add 1 tablespoon of olive heat to a large sauce pan and heat on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add in onion and sauté for 1 minute
Add in the chopped veggie mix and sauté for two minutes
Add the chicken and sauté for 1 minute
Add the chicken broth, three cans of beans and the container (about 6 ounces) of salsa
Heat until warmed through, about 5-6 minutes.
If your soup needs more seasoning, add in a sprinkle of taco seasoning or some red pepper flakes
Garnish and serve!

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