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

 

broccoli pesto pasta

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

I’ve received some wonderful cookbooks lately but there’s one problem: I’m drawn to – and therefore bookmarking – all of the cozy and rich, fall and winter meals. And the only problem is that we just came off of another scorching few days (90’s and I’m so over it) and I can’t quite bring myself to make the hearty meals quite yet. (The soup was an anomaly!)

I managed to find something a little more forgiving in the heat: broccoli pesto pasta! We absolutely LOVED this meal.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

FRESH and LIGHT by Donna Hay* is the kind of cookbook I would love to write. It’s filled with beautiful pictures (simple ones, not heavily styled, which I’ve come to realize is what I’m drawn to) and recipes, ideas and inspirations for real food, kept both fresh and light. I have about 15 recipes bookmarked, but it’s the kind of cookbook that can be pulled out for inspiration on a regular basis. She has a number of sections in the book with a whole spread of simple variations on meals like pizza, pasta, dips and muffins. It’s my kind of cooking. Simple, no crazy-long ingredient lists or equipment required, just real food that’s full of flavor and perfectly healthy.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

(So yes, I HIGHLY recommend the book!)

Let’s talk about this pesto! I’m a pesto fan and so I was drawn to this variation right away. I’ve had kale, arugula and edamame pestos, but never broccoli pesto. It comes together really quickly (about 20 minutes!), requires only a few ingredients and I love that your entire meal is served in one bowl for a simple dinner.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

After taking a bite, my first thought was, wow, it tastes so fresh and light. (Yes, the title of the book!) But it really does taste so fresh and it’s while it’s a very satisfying meal, it’s light at the same time. Richie also loved this meal, and not just because it included pasta. :)

I think it would be great for kids who aren’t thrilled by the idea of broccoli on it’s own – it’s hard to resist when it’s combined with cheese, fresh herbs and pasta!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta | anutritionisteats.com

Broccoli Pesto
Author: Donna Hay
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups of blanched broccoli
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups hot spaghetti
  • parmesan
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine broccoli, garlic, parsley, pine nuts and olive oil in food processor and process until finely chopped. (You want to keep some texture to it!)
  2. Toss with hot spaghetti and sprinkle with parmesan and an extra drizzle of olive oil if desired.
  3. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Calories: 575 Fat: 22 grams Carbohydrates: 77 grams Fiber: 10 grams Protein: 20 grams

*affiliate link

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.