Life is hectic. Work, kids, carpools, aging parents, appointments, holidays! But being busy CAN NOT and SHOULD NOT be an excuse to eat crappy. It’s really important to make time for healthy eating NO MATTER WHAT. One of my favorite ways to save time and still prepare a healthy, home-cooked meal is to use a slow cooker or crock pot. What a good feeling to walk into the house after a long day out and be welcomed by the delicious aroma of an already-made dinner.
Consider the many benefits of using a slow cooker:
- Many slow cooker recipes don’t involve frying or sauteing, so you will often use less oil in your meals with this cooking method.
- You only have to spend a few minutes in the morning prepping the meal to help make the evening hours run more smoothly.
- It’s perfect for when you know you will have a busy day or evening and can’t figure out how or when dinner will get prepared.
- You can even cook while you sleep! Prep the meal before bed and cook on low while you sleep. Turn it off in the morning and let it cool while you get ready for the day. Refrigerate and reheat for dinner later. Or make steel cut oats while you sleep so breakfast is made when you awake.
- Many crockpot recipes incorporate protein, whole grains and vegetables all in one, providing you with a one-pot meal (which means less clean up too)!
- You can make a large quantity of chili, stew or soup and then freeze extras for later enjoyment.
- Most recipes are very simple and quick and only require a minimal amount of chopping and combining ingredients.
- Since slow cookers are simple to use, they are great for college kids or older kids who live on their own and want to eat healthier.
*Be sure to follow the safety guidelines when using a slow cooker.
This Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers is one of my all time favorites. Couldn’t be easier, and so delicious and satisfying. Serve along with a big green salad to complete the meal.
Slow Cooker Sausage and Peppers
A true comfort meal! Use a good-quality sausage without nitrites.
- 6 raw or cooked Italian turkey or chicken sausages I usually buy raw sausages from Whole Foods meat counter or the fully cooked sausages by AmyLu
- 1 large jar all-natural marinara sauce choose any you like--I enjoy Rao's Marinara
- 6 large bell peppers, seeded and sliced into large pieces use a combination of orange, red, yellow and green peppers
- 1 large onion, sliced into large pieces
- 8 oz. whole wheat pasta, cooked
Place sausages, peppers and onions in slow cooker.
Pour sauce on top.
Place lid on slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low, depending on how quickly your slow cooker cooks. The peppers should be soft.
Serve over cooked whole wheat pasta and top with grated parmesan cheese if you'd like!
I have made this recipe with both cooked and raw sausages and it comes out great either way. If you use raw sausages, you can saute them in oil for a few minutes first to brown them before adding them to the slow cooker. However, if you are short on time, this step is not necessary and the sausages can just be added raw to the slow cooker.