slow cooker paella

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Is this week over yet? Between having my parents in town (SO fun!), some big projects at work, a work trip to New York this weekend AND looking for someplace to live, I’m ready to collapse.

Which is precisely the time to bring out the slow cooker. (Or, actually collapse…which might happen.) So let’s pull out the slow cooker, slow things down a bit and enjoy a nice, easy dinner. And please drink some wine for me. At minimum, a glass – preferably more.

Paella. In. The. Slow. Cooker.

Slow Cooker Paella | anutritionisteats.com

This isn’t really authentic paella. It’s more like the paella for those of us who don’t have a paella pan. And don’t really have the time to spend an hour and a half on dinner. And don’t really have the money for dinners that include not only chicken and chorizo, but clams, shrimp and lobster tails.

I like to think of us as normal people. Real people. And people who sometimes need to collapse. :)

Slow Cooker Paella | anutritionisteats.com

This slow cooker paella takes a half hour of prep work and two hours in the slow cooker. (And NO clams or lobster tails!)

And after it’s finished in the slow cooker, and you’re ready to eat, you must promise me three things:

  1. You’ll squeeze some fresh lemon over each plate
  2. You’ll sprinkle fresh parsley over each plate
  3. You’ll season (each plate) with some (hopefully high-quality) salt if it needs it

Slow Cooker Paella | anutritionisteats.com

Slow Cooker Paella
Author: Emily Dingmann (adapted from Rachael Ray)
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb (skinless, boneless) chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups short-grain rice (I used arborio)
  • 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 oz cured chorizo, roughly chopped (I found this in the packaged deli meat section)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of saffron
  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped parsley for serving
  • lemon wedges for serving
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large pan.
  2. Add chicken and sprinkle with half of paprika and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Transfer chicken to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon.
  5. Add rice to pan and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to slow cooker.
  6. Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  7. Cook on high for 2 hours, until rice is soft.
  8. Stir in peas and let sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with parsley and lemon wedges.
Calories: 467 Fat: 12 grams Carbohydrates: 58 grams Sugar: 8 grams Fiber: 7 grams Protein: 27 grams Cholesterol: 81 milligrams

 

slow cooker brats with sauerkraut + potatoes

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

If Wisconsin had a slow cooker-themed meal, this would be it.

And it feels SO appropriate to share a slow cooker recipe with you today, because I finally felt a bit of fall!

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

We spent last weekend in DC and while our first day was sunny and warm, the rest of the time was cold and drizzly. We’ve been craving this type of weather and while I would have preferred to be snuggled up watching movies to “enjoy it,” walking around the national mall made it really sink in. Cold feet, damp clothes and a yearning for anything hot. Hot chocolate, soup or a hearty slow cooker meal. Without access to a slow cooker, I settled for a coffee one afternoon and the next, some hot tea and a bowl of crab soup. Even with the less-than-ideal weather, DC was amazing. We went to the Capitol, walked down the mall, visited the Newseum (LOVED!) and Arlington Cemetery and had some perfect meals: Founding Farmers, Hanks Oyster Bar, Eat the Rich and the cafeteria at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

Los Angeles greeted us with warmth and sun upon our return, but that small dose of fall was so very appreciated.

So from oysters to brats…how do you all feel about brats? It’s pretty much part of the culture I grew up in. The local meat market in Baraboo, WI has no less than 22 varieties of brats. We take it very seriously and from the moment it’s warm enough to step outside to grill (and let’s be real – even when it’s not for some) the aroma of brats are essential to spring/summer/fall nights.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

Typically, brats are a warm-weather meal, but this slow cooker version takes it into fall and winter. Brats, sauerkraut and potatoes are slowly simmered in a mustardy-beer sauce. And though the result may not be the prettiest food around, the warm, comforting meal more than makes up for it.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes | anutritionisteats.com

Not only does your home (or tiny one bedroom apartment, in our case) smell incredible, but it takes a mere 10 minutes of prep work and some time in the slow cooker. It’s easy. It’s super-satisfying. It’s divine.

Slow Cooker Brats with Sauerkraut + Potatoes
Author: Emily Dingmann (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds of baby red potatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 cups sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 5-6 brats (I used a 1lb, 3oz package)
  • 1 cup beer of choice
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • salt & pepper
  • parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Layer potatoes, sauerkraut, onion and garlic in slow cooker.
  2. Nestle brats on top.
  3. Combine beer, mustard and caraway seeds in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook on low for about 6 hours.
  5. To serve, top with fresh parsley.
Calories: 734 Fat: 27 grams Carbohydrates: 85 grams Fiber: 8 grams Protein: 33 grams

 

italian chicken sausage & vegetable soup

Italian Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Soup | anutritionisteats.com

Back when we lived in Minnesota, soups were a regular lunch rotation while I suffered through winters.

Now that winter = 60 degrees, I find myself forgetting to make soups and stews, always waiting until it “cools down just a bit more.” Well, no more. I figured that since my office always feels cold, there’s no reason to wait until it cools down.

Italian Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Soup | anutritionisteats.com

The (very hot!) day I decided to make this soup, I watched Giada make a Vegetable & Barley Soup and I took two things from the episode: 1) Use a parmesan rind to help flavor soup (which I’ve always meant to do) and 2) Use the sausage as a topping instead of letting it simmer in the soup.

Like any good lunch or dinner – it’s healthy and tasty!

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I wanted the soup to be full of vegetables as well as a good source of protein and fiber. So it’s simple. Fill the soup with tender-crisp vegetables and throw in some chicken sausage for a protein boost, it’s a filling combo. It happens to be gluten-free and paleo, if you’re into those things!

Italian Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Soup
Author: Emily Dingmann
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 1 heart of celery (2 cups chopped)
  • about 1 pound of carrots (2 cups chopped)
  • 10-12 cups of chopped kale
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • parmesan rind (optional)
  • 12 oz italian chicken sausage
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Add onion and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Add garlic, celery and carrots and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add kale, broth, water, tomatoes and parmesan rind and simmer for about 35-40 minutes.
  5. While soup is cooking, thinly slice chicken sausage in half lengthwise and then chop.
  6. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp of olive in in medium pan and sauté about 3-4 minutes, until brown, set aside.
  7. To serve, top serving of soup with chicken sausage and parmesan cheese if desired.
Calories: 370 Fat: 17 grams Carbohydrates: 35 grams Fiber: 10 grams Protein: 25 grams

 

slow cooker honey soy chicken

Is it too early for slow cooker recipes?

Because personally, I love using the slow cooker all year long, but in the fall and winter, weekends just don’t seem complete unless there is an intoxicating smell of something slowly cooking away in the kitchen. And we are all in fall mode, right?

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken | anutritionisteats.com

I’ve had quite the history with slow cookers. I don’t think we used them much growing up, so it wasn’t something I was especially used to. Then my brother gave me a camouflage slow cooker for Christmas one year that I deemed way “too hick” (I’m sorry!!!!) for my “sophisticated palette.” Oh the naivety. (To defend myself a bit, the gift was a joke and while my brother was a big fan of the slow cooker and I’m 92% certain that he and his roommates were cooking items they had personally hunted…like squirrels. I didn’t really think I had a use for it, being that I was a city dweller.) The moral of the story is this: I returned that camouflage slow cooker to K-Mart and then found myself buying a stainless steel version a few years later.

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken | anutritionisteats.com

I’ve been hooked ever since.

Years ago, I created a few asian-inspired slow cooker recipes (crock pot asian chicken, crock pot asian beef), which have been quite popular over the years, but it was time to revisit the concept, with some different cuts of meat and different flavors. I love this version because it’s made with really simple ingredients and it couldn’t be easier!

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken | anutritionisteats.com

This honey soy chicken takes a few minutes of prep, a few hours in the slow cooker and before you know it, you’ll be eating a flavorful, healthy meal. The chicken thighs practically shred themselves. The rice soaks up the delicious sauce you don’t want to leave on your plate. The broccoli is a) something green and b) so tasty! It’s a complete meal the entire family will enjoy.

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken
Author: Emily Dingmann
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 1/2 pound chicken thighs (skinless, boneless)
  • 1 cup basamati rice
  • 1 lb broccoli florets
Instructions
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in small bowl.
  2. Add chicken thighs to slow cooker in one layer.
  3. Pour over marinade.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  5. When chicken is almost done, prepare rice as directed.
  6. Steam or roast broccoli.
Calories: 552 Fat: 9 grams Carbohydrates: 80 grams Sugar: 39 grams Fiber: 5 grams Protein: 43 grams
Notes
Replace soy sauce with tamari for a gluten-free meal.