Category Archives: crock pot

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos + Homemade Taco Seasoning

Good morning! 😀

I hadn’t planned to blog this morning, but I couldn’t sleep in any. I was going to try sleeping in until…get this…6:30am! I know, what an exciting life I lead. Yesterday’s commutes were much better than expected and I was in the car just under 3 hours all day. That sounds insane, but considering the mileage and the snow, that’s not bad at all!! When I expect the worst, I end up early…go figure 😉

Last night was another successful class. We talked about carbohydrates and the dangers of low-carb diets. I think I have them all convinced that carbs are good…especially the ones that contain fiber and are healthiest! 😀 I feel like they are so engaged and interested in the topics we talk about, it really makes for a fun, engaging class. I hope they feel the same way, ha!

So yes, I couldn’t sleep in but maybe that’s because I was so anxious to share a new crock pot recipe with you all! As I had planned, the old crock has been getting some use and the results have been scrumptious! Not always pretty, but healthy and good! 😉 Oh, and time-efficient, too!!

[source]

Homemade Taco Seasoning from Sweet Life Kitchen as seen on Bean Town Baker

3 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp black pepper

Directions:

Mix it all together! The mix can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year! 2 1/2 tablespoons = 1 store-bought packet.

 

Crockpot Chicken Tacos from Sweet Life Kitchen as seen on Bean Town Baker

2 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning mix (recipe above) or 1 packet of store-bought
15 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes and liquid
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 ounces each)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce + 2 Tbsp adobo sauce
Your favorite taco fixins (lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.)*

Directions:

In a large bowl or measuring cup pour the chicken broth in, and use a fork to whisk in the taco seasoning mixture.

Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Open the diced tomato can and pour all contents over the bottom of the slow cooker. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the tomatoes and pour the broth, seasoning, and adobo peppers and sauce over that. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-10 hours. The chicken should fork apart easily in the crock pot. Serve. Yield: 5 servings (4-ounces each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 146 calories; 2.8 g. fat; 65 mg. sodium; 460 mg. sodium; 5.8 g. carbohydrate; 1.6 g. fiber; 24.2 g. protein

Result: Ohhh my goodness! These were OUT of this world! Personally, I think the chipotle peppers in the adobo sauce are what made this taco meat so flavorful, but I’m probably a little biased since I made that addition to the original recipe. There is plenty of liquid to let this cook as long as you need to without drying out, and the meat just flakes apart with the touch of a fork. Reheats beautifully, too! *Nutrition information is for the meat only – tortilla and taco fixin’s are not accounted for. Enjoy!

Question: Hard shell or soft shell tacos?

I always do soft corn shells…so much flavor and healthier, too!

I’m off to work and then leaving for Chicago! My 15-hour work day yesterday more than makes up for a 3-day relaxing weekend with my family!! 😀 Cannot wait!! I also can’t wait to get in a good workout…my last workout was shoveling on Tuesday. My parent’s gym will be seeing plenty of me!

“See” you in the Windy City!

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Filed under carb-controlled, carbohydrates, crock pot, dinner, exercise, guilt-free, healthy cooking, low-carb, protein, recipe, teaching, travel, work

Epic breakfast…for dinner

Just for fun, here are just a FEW questions my students have asked in our first 2 classes:

  • How often should you have a bowel movement?
  • Is high-fructose corn syrup really worse than sugar?
  • Is stevia safe?
  • Why does the Atkins diet help people lose weight?
  • How many calories do I need to gain weight?
  • Do carbohydrates make you fat?
  • Why does the government subsidize corn  if the MyPyramid is aiming to reduce high-fructose corn syrup consumption?

Do I have some smart, inquisitive pupils or what? I guess I should now mention that the first 2 chapters we’ve gone over have nothing to do with any of those questions (and those were just a FEW), but the class discussion is priceless. And some of the false information floating around out there is just plain’ol SCARY!

So while teaching is going well, a 6pm start time has caused dinners to be very…rushed. And that is quite the understatement.

Let me preface this next part by saying that I am notoriously late, always. Not a lot, but a little. And when you’re the teacher, that just doesn’t fly. So I’m really trying to be ON TIME…if only to class.

Monday night I shoveled down a bowl of cereal and a banana before jetting off to class. Last night, I made an epic breakfast for dinner that I had to eat in, literally, 2 minutes. Of course, had I not taken the time to photograph this lovely meal, I would’ve had 4 minutes or so, but I had to do this French toast justice. Because I very well know that pretty pictures make you more likely to believe my rave reviews…riiiight?

Lightened Up Crème Brûlée French Toast from Skinny Taste

1 cup unpacked brown sugar
1/4 cup water
cooking spray
10 oz Challah bread, sliced 1 inch thick
2 large eggs
1 cup egg substitute
1-1/2 cups 1% milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Meyers rum (optional) – I omitted
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

In a small heavy saucepan melt brown sugar and water over moderate-low heat, stirring, until smooth and melted, about 1 minute, then pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, egg substitute, milk, vanilla, rum, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° F and bring bread to room temperature. Bake uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 40 to 50 minutes. Top with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 342 calories; 4.5 g. fat; 84 mg. cholesterol; 378 mg. sodium; 64.6 g. carbohydrate; 1 g. fiber; 12.2 g. protein

Result: YUM-O! When I saw Renee rave about this recipe on her blog, I knew I had to try it. As if the title of the recipe wasn’t tempting enough. I made this in the morning and we had it for supper, but you could just as easily, and more traditionally, make it at night to serve the following morning. Super simple, absolutely delicious!

I want to continue making nutritious meals on Monday and Wednesday nights, but I think 1) I need to utilize the crock pot on these nights (or eat leftovers), and 2) I may need to go lighter on lunch and have a small, early dinner (4:30ish) before class and a snack afterward. I did the later last night — one piece of French toast before class and a fresh strawberry and banana smoothie for afterward. It worked well. 🙂

I am looking forward to a long workout and another healthy, homemade meal tonight. Lily is going to daycare so that after work I can get in a long run not feel guilty about it. Plus, she could use the exercise, too! 😉

Question: What’s your favorite quick and easy meal? Or a meal that can be prepped ahead of time?

P.S. Last chance to enter the LARABAR Giveaway! It ends TONIGHT!

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Filed under Atkins, breakfast, carbohydrates, crock pot, dinner, dog, exercise, fruits and vegetables, Gina's WW Recipes, Giveaway, high-fructose corn syrup, pets, physical activity, recipe, running, snack, teaching, vegetarian

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken

When the weather started to cool off, before snow began to fall, I committed to using my crock pot more. Crock pot meals are fabulous…who would’ve love walking in from a long work day to find a delicious, piping hot meal? Mmm…sign me up! 😀

When I got home really late on Tuesday night (10pm is really late, people!), Mr. Prevention and I quickly popped this meal into the crock pot. It took all of 5 minutes, and 4 minutes of that was hand-washing and trimming up the chicken breasts. That simple, yep. We popped the prepared crock pot in the fridge and Mr. P turned the crock pot on at 2pm yesterday. At 7pm, we were eating a delicious, healthy (albeit higher in sodium), no-fuss meal. Crock pot liners are your friend. Invest.

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken very slightly adapted from Group Recipes and That’s Damn Good!

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (can be frozen)
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can corn, drained
16-ounce salsa
8 ounces light cream cheese

Directions:

Add chicken to slow cooker and cover with black beans, corn and salsa. Cook on high for 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked. Place cream cheese on top and cook an additional 30 minutes. Chicken will naturally shred, and cream cheese will blend nicely after being stirred. Yield: 5 entree portions.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 421 calories; 12.4 g. fat; 90 mg. cholesteorl; 890 mg. sodium; 50 g. carbohydrate; 5 g. fiber; 4.8 g. sugar; 44.8 g. protein

Result: Mr. P said, “It’s not pretty, but it’s good…especially considering how easy and cheap it was.” That pretty much sums it up. It is on the higher side in regards to sodium, due to the canned goods (the salsa added the most sodium), but the fiber, protein, fat, and carbohydrates are all very balanced. I plan to make this again, and will probably try making homemade salsa/pico de gallo to cut out a LOT of the sodium. The portion is generous and can be made into a salad, tacos, or just eaten on its own. Enjoy!

And because it was a night of Illini football and basketball to finish up 2 LONG days at work, I popped open some Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale. It was very dark and I didn’t finish it all. Good thing…9% ABV!

Mmmm!

Question: Do you own a crock pot? If so, do you use it?

I am going to a Weight Watchers meeting tonight — I look forward to learning about the program and providing feedback to you all!

Off I go,

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts(can be frozen)
15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can corn, drained
16-ounce salsa
8-ounce cream cheese

Add chicken to slow cooker and cover with black beans, corn and salsa.  Cook on high for 4-6 hours until chicken is cooked.  Place cream cheese on top and cook an additional 30 minutes.  Serve.

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Filed under beer, crock pot, dinner, fiber, protein, recipe, reduced-calorie, sodium, Weight Watchers

Sweet Potato Rice Pudding

It’s not like I didn’t already know that 15 hour work days were no fun, but I can confirm that after yesterday. I had orientation for adjunct faculty last night and *yawn*. Necessary, but *yawn*. Just one of those things.

Last night, Mr. P helped me throw dinner in the crock pot for tonight. Crock pot meals that can be made at 10pm for the following day are my kind of meals…assuming it’s good. TBD. More on that tomorrow 🙂

When I went to take my shower last night, I was faced with another hairy decision: wash my hair and don’t working in the morning, or don’t wash my hair and force myself to workout in the morning. I went with the later, so this post will be brief. When time is hard to come by, and stress levels rise, I figure THAT is the perfect time to MAKE time for a workout. So I have 45 minutes on the elliptical planned for…now! Wee!

But quickly, a recipe. I made this Sweet Potato Rice Pudding before Christmas and froze individual portions. It defrosted really well and it was the perfect “chill out” treat before bed last night. YUM!

Sweet Potato Rice Pudding seen at The Novice Chef, adapted from Healthy Food for Living

1 cup water
1/2 cup brown rice
pinch of salt
2 cups 2% milk
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of ginger
a pinch of garam masala
1/2 1/4 cup golden raisins
1 cup sweet potato puree (or mashed sweet potatoes)

Directions:

Combine water, rice, and salt in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, stir once, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. The rice will be slightly undercooked, but will continue to cook in the next step. Remove rice from pot and place in a bowl, set aside.

Combine milk, honey, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste, and spices to the same pot. Bring to a very low boil over medium heat, whisking often so the milk doesn’t scorch. Lower heat to medium-low.

Whisk in the cooked rice, sweet potato puree, and raisins. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Simmer and occasionally stir until milk cooks down and the rice is creamy, about 20 minutes. DO NOT over-cook.

Transfer rice pudding to a large bowl and allow to cool, pudding will thicken during this step. To speed up the process you can refrigerate utnil well-chilled.

Serve warm or cold, with an extra dollop of sweet potato puree and a dusting of cinnamon if desired. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 172 calories; 2.3 g. fat; 7 mg. cholesterol; 96 mg. sodium; 29 g. carbohydrate; 15.8 g. sugar; 2.5 g. fiber; 4.3 g. protein

Result: Very good! This isn’t an overly sweet dessert, and the portion is plentiful. I love that it’s low in fat and sodium, with a moderate amount of carbohydrate, along with some fiber. It can be prepared ahead of time, which is great for entertaining. Mr. P refused to even try this dessert, so I ended up freezing a good portion of it for later dates, and it defrosted perfectly! Mmmm!

Question: Have you ever cooked with homemade vanilla beans?

…delicious!

Off to run and then to work! Illinois plays in both basketball (Big 10 season starts!) AND the Texas Bowl tonight!

Go Illini!!!


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Filed under crock pot, dessert, exercise, fiber, fruits and vegetables, guilt-free, recipe, sodium, Uncategorized, vegetarian, work

Quick & Easy Holiday Dessert #1: Crock Pot Peanut Clusters

I think it’s true that everyone makes time for what matters most to them. For me, that’s Lily, cooking, and exercise. For Mr. Prevention, that’s sleep and some more sleep. I wish dishes and back massages for his wife were what mattered most for my better half, but I think that’s the name of the husband game…am I right???

People ask me a lot where I find the time to cook every night, and truthfully, I have the time most nights. On busy nights, I make the time. Mr. Prevention will often tell me, “Don’t feel like you HAVE to cook every night, we can always order take-out or grab something from the freezer.” Although we don’t have kiddos, I think that home-cooked meals are an ESSENTIAL part of proper nutrition, education for children (and adults), weight management, and family togetherness. Family meal time with wholesome, homemade meals is important to me and the well-being of myself and my loved ones.

And while I enjoy culinary challenges, not everything homemade (or healthy) has to be difficult or time-consuming. I am simply a self-professed foodie and don’t mind a bit of elbow grease going into dinner. 😉

Baking, however, is not my forté. So when my mother-in-law shared some of their easy traditional holiday treats, I jotted the recipes down stat! If my memory is serving me correct, these peanut clusters are my father-in-law’s favorite. I have a feeling that between Christmas gifts, cookie exchanges, and Mr. Prevention, I’ll be making more of these before we head home for the holidays. 🙂 And that won’t be a hassle or create a big mess because they’re made in the crock pot! And they’re EASY!

Crock Pot Peanut Clusters recipe from my MIL

2 pounds white almond bark/candy coating
1 pkg (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
24 oz dry roasted peanuts

Directions:

Put all three chocolates into a crock pot (breaking up the bark into smaller blocks, if needed) on high for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Turn crock pot down to low and stir in peanuts. Spoon mixture onto parchment paper in 2 tablespoon heaps. Allow to cool and harder before storing in an air-tight container. Yield: 60 clusters.

Nutrition Information (per cluster): 173 calories; 11.5 g. fat; 1.1 mg. cholesterol; 87 mg. sodium; 15.1 g. carbohydrate; 1.4 g. fiber; 3.8 g. protein

Result: An easy, delicious classic! They’re also budget-friendly, especially this time of year with all the discounts in the baking aisle. There’s nothing healthy about peanut clusters, but it’s the holidays…I stick with the portion control approach 😉 Enjoy!

Question: What’s your all-time favorite holiday goodie?

More baking today, a long longish 5-mile run, a few errands, and Illini basketball tonight!

We will also be re-tasting all of the chili contest entries and determining a winner, to be announced tomorrow! 😀 The chili samples are defrosting in the fridge now!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Filed under budget shopping, crock pot, dessert, exercise, holiday, recipe, weight maintentance

Chili Contest: Entry 10

The chili contest cooking has come to a close.

Am I chili-ed out? Eh, kinda. But I am looking forward to rewarming a small portion of each entry and declaring a winner!! Mr. Prevention will participate, of course. The winner will be determined next weekend during the Illini’s last regular season game against Fresno State. Thank you again to all the participants! This football season has been memorable and delicious! 😀

Chicken Chili from The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen

1 pound chicken breast
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cans low-sodium chicken broth
3 cans great northern white beans (1 drained)
1 can corn, drained
1 cup water
2 small cans green chilies
2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped
2 Tbsp adobe sauce from chipotle peppers
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
optional toppers: sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, cilantro (not accounted for in nutrition info)

Directions:

Add chicken to slow cooker. Add 1/2 can chicken broth, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon garlic. Cook on high for 3 hours.

Drain and remove chicken. Shred chicken with two forks. Add chicken back to crock pot.

Chop bell pepper, chipotle peppers, and cilantro. Add to crock pot. Add remaining ingredients to crock pot. Cook on high for 1 hour.

Cook on low for 3 additional hours. Serve topped with sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips, and cilantro (not accounted for in nutrition information). Serves 8.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 229 calories; 1.4 g. fat; 28 mg. cholesterol; 989 mg. sodium; 33.6 g. carbohydrate; 11.9 g. fiber; 23.8 g. protein

Result: Mr. Prevention binged on Buffalo Chicken Dip and didn’t try this chili…not that he was opposed to it, but nothing can compete with his crack dip…nothing. But, there are lots of leftovers and this will be dinner tonight 😀 The chili is a spicy, broth-based chili. The nutrition stats are phenomenal, and there is lots of flavor. Definitely not your traditional chili OR white chicken chili, but a great change or pace. I LOVE chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and paired with cilantro…yum-o!! Enjoy!

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Sodium Content of Canned Beans

I wanted to take this opportunity to say 1) December’s Cooking Light issue was a complete disappointment. Maybe it’s just me but there were only 5 or so recipes that even piqued my interest. Normally, there’s all but 2 recipes and the ads NOT ripped out! But more importantly, 2) there was a question on the “Ask Our RD” section about sodium and canned goods. …About time.

The reader question asked: Just how much sodium is reduced by rinsing and draining a can of chili beans?

The RD responded by saying that draining beans reduced the sodium by 36% (according to a 2009 study by the University of Tennessee researchers) and rinsing the beans reduces the sodium by an additional 5% for a total of 41% LESS sodium. That’s HUGE!!! I wish I had the time to go through the 10 chili recipes (and others!) to calculate the reduction in sodium, but I don’t right now…maybe someday! Regardless, this is great news and good to know! So, rinse and drain and eat 41% less salt in the process! Woo!

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Coming up this week will be posts on my weekend baking adventures: Buckeyes and White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Fudge!!!! We are traveling to Illinois on Tuesday night for Thanksgiving so we’ll be clearing out of fridge of must-go’s this week….no cooking for me! At least nothing too fancy 😉

Question: Are you a leftover lover or hater?

I love leftovers! Sack lunches never interested me much, and I love knowing that my lunch meal is healthier and cheaper than what I could pack or purchase elsewhere! Mr. P on the other hand finds leftover to be “too heavy” for lunch. Yet, anything from a deep fryer or in pizza form is acceptable. THIS claim I will never be able to wrap my brain around. Men…

Off to work (Ew! 😦 ),

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Filed under Cooking Light, crock pot, dietitians, dinner, fiber, fried food, fruits and vegetables, garlic, healthy cooking, herbs, holiday, recipe, research study, sodium, work

Not Greek? Not good.

When Mr. Prevention and I lived in Tulsa, our house had a huge jetted tub. And every Monday when Mr. P’s BusinessWeek magazine came in the mail, he would grab 2 beers, his magazine, and head for the tub. A routine that annoyed me just a bit…the man could bathe for HOURS..

This week, Mr. Prevention pointed out an article in his BusinessWeek about yogurt. For the past year yogurt sales look like this:

Yoplait: -2%
Fage: +57%
Oikos: +88%
Chobani: +246%

Of course health & fitness bloggers jumped on the Greek yogurt band wagon quite some time ago, but it appears most everyone is now on the Greek yogurt train. Or should I say the Chobani train?

There’s no denying Greek yogurt has its perks. Outside of taste, there’s the added protein and loads of live and active cultures to keep your gut nice and healthy. Plus, most are organic products. The drawback tends to be cost. Yoplait and Dannon have tried to meet the demands of the Greek yogurt trend at a lesser cost, but fall short (taste wise) to brands such as Fage and Chobani. Of course, that is just my opinion. Personally, I buy most any brand because I buy what’s on sale for the week.

A huge thanks to Siggi’s who loaded up my fridge this week with their strained yogurt to try! I am yet to try Siggi’s…can’t wait! 😀

And for those adventures folks out there, you can successfully make Greek yogurt in a yogurt maker or a crock pot. I’ve tried both with great results! 😀 And there is a definite cost savings if you decide to tackle Greek yogurt-making for the long haul.

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Aside from Greek yogurt, I have also been enjoying Pumpkin Cream Cheese on my bagel thins for breakfast this week. A few weeks ago I made Pumpkin Butter and I simply mixed equal parts of that delicious pumpkin butter and light cream cheese. Divine! Note: Bring the pumpkin butter and cream cheese close to room temp before combining. Then your cream cheese won’t be chunky like mine. No biggie, it’ll just look prettier 😉

Question: What’s your favorite brand of Greek yogurt?

I think my favorite is Fage, but I’ve heard great things about Siggi’s. I hope I can confirm! 😀

Have a Happy Halloween weekend! Be sure to check-in over the weekend to see pictures from “Pup-A-Ween” at the dog park on Saturday afternoon. Lily is going in her tutu and there’s going to be BOBBING FOR HOT DOGS!!! You’d better bet I’ll be there…with my camera! I can’t wait…haha!

TGIF,

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Filed under breakfast, condiments, crock pot, dog, grocery store, pets, protein