Healthy Cook Ahead Crock Pot Meals (or Three 15 Minute Weeknight Dinners)
We know that eating well is a huge component of managing type 2 diabetes, and part of eating well is cutting back on eating out and spending more time in the kitchen. But many people dread the idea of cooking after a long day of work. You’re exhausted, so why would you want to spend an extra hour slaving away in the kitchen? Cooking healthy during the week is a challenge for many people, but home-cooked, nourishing meals actually provide energy and immune-boosting nutrients. I often hear people describe their week as a “race” or a “marathon.” They are just trying to get to the finish line so they can enjoy the weekend. My counterargument to this is: if you were truly running a marathon, wouldn’t you want to fuel up properly? Change your outlook on dinner and start viewing it as the nutrition you need to get you through your marathon week. Cooking during the week does not need to be a daunting task, since there are so many healthy meals you can make in 15 minutes flat! Let me introduce you to your new best friend: the crock pot! This handy cooking appliance makes meal planning quick and easy, especially if you have multiple hungry mouths to feed. The best part about crock pot cooking is that you can buy liners so there’s no mess. Decide which day of the week you’ll prep meals (Sunday works for many people), and throw all the ingredients into the liners so they’re ready to go into the crock pot in the morning, before you head to work or go to bed. If you have too much of one meal, just freeze it for another day. Here are a few of my favorites:
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 3 bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange), sliced
- 1 to 2 jalapenos, chopped
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, chopped
- 1 jar salsa
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice from 2 fresh limes
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- ½ to 1 cup broth
- Collard greens, steamed, or corn or gluten-free tortillas for wrapping fajitas
- Place the chicken in the bottom of a liner or directly into the crock pot.
- Add half the salsa and enough broth so the chicken is covered.
- Layer all the other veggies on top, adding some salsa in between each layer.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.
- Wrap your fajitas in the tortillas or collard greens and dig in!
Ground Turkey and Black Rice
- 1 cup black rice
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 jar of salsa
- 2 yellow peppers, chopped (can buy frozen already chopped)
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 8 oz green beans (can buy frozen ready to cook)
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- Add rice and broth to a liner or directly into the crock pot.
- Add the turkey meat and salsa on top, then add peppers, celery and green beans.
- Add tomatoes.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
- Top with chopped cilantro.
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 can black beans
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 5 tablespoons cilantro, chopped and divided
- 1 - 10oz can tomatoes with mild green chilies
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Shredded cheese for topping
- In a crockpot, combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, 4 tablespoons cilantro, onions, garlic and all spices.
- Place the chicken breasts on top and turn setting to high for 2 hours (you can also set it at a lower temperature for a longer period of time—just add some water to the mixture so the chicken doesn’t dry out).
- Once cooked, shred the chicken and toss everything together.
- Serve topped with remaining tablespoon cilantro and cheese! Can also be served over rice.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?