If you’re anything like us, EASY is all you want when it comes to dinner time, especially when meal planning for the kids. Especially in the winter, the slow cooker is often the way to go, but we have tried chili about 101 different ways, and need some variety…Enter Dana White- CT native, Fairfield resident, and amazing chef who has shared some of her favorite go-to slow cooker recipes. See below for 3 to start with, and lots more to come!
 
 
 
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore 

I’m proud to say this recipe has been approved by family, friends and kiddos alike. An easy, healthy and tasty chicken dinner where the slow cooker does all the work! Serve with pasta, polenta, potatoes or some crusty whole grain bread.
Serves 6

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large package boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½  cup marinara sauce
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½  red onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 
1 green or red bell pepper, sliced
  • Fresh basil
  • Red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Place flour and salt in a large resealable bag. Add chicken and toss to coat. Heat oil in a skillet or slow cooker with a browning function. Shake excess flour from chicken and brown on both sides (it takes about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Add marinara, chicken broth, onion, garlic, and pepper.  Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and taste for seasoning; add additional salt if needed and top with fresh basil.  Serve with red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Calories: 183; Total Fat: 6  grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Total Carbohydrate: 8 grams
Sugars: 2 grams; Protein:  23 grams; Sodium: 325 milligrams; Cholesterol: 99 milligrams 
Fiber: 1 gram
Slow Cooker Cha Cha Chicken

I gave one of my most popular recipes a few upgrades! Replace the flour with cornstarch to make a gluten free version.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large package boneless skinless chicken thighs (approx 1.75 lbs)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (Trader Joe’s Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce recommended)
  • Juice of one orange
  • 
1/4 cup 100% apple juice or apple cider
  • ½  red onion, sliced
  • 
1 green or red bell pepper, sliced
  • 
¼  teaspoon black pepper

Place flour and salt in a large resealable back. Add chicken and toss to coat. Heat oil in a skillet or slow cooker with a browning function. Shake excess flour from chicken and (in 2 batches) brown on both sides (it takes about 2 to 3 minutes per side).  
In slow cooker combine browned chicken, BBQ sauce, orange juice, apple juice, onion, bell pepper; stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Shred meat with a fork before serving.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

It may not seem like it but this is the perfect winter OR summer recipe. In the summer when it’s way too nice outside to stay in cooking every weeknight, this gives me more time to play with the kiddos. Serve on slider rolls, with rice, in quesadillas, or with a side of mac and cheese.
Makes about 10 cups

  • 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 3 medium sized pork tenderloins (about 3 pounds), cut in half
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (Trader Joe’s brand recommended)
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Place fennel and onion in the bottom of a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker, season with salt and pepper. Then season pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear 3 pieces of the pork, cooking for about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to slow cooker on top of fennel and onion; repeat with remaining oil and pieces of pork. After removing pork, pour apple cider into hot skillet and cook for 2 minutes, using a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour apple cider mixture into slow cooker, followed by BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. 

After 7 hours remove lid and shred pork using 2 forks. Add more BBQ sauce if desired. Cover and cook for one hour more (*see tip).
TIP *If the mixture is too watery, drain some of the juices and transfer to a small saucepan; boil until it is reduced as desired and add back to slow cooker.
Nutrition Information Per 1 cup
Calories: 130, Total Fat: 3.5 grams. Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams, Carbohydrate: 5 grams, Sugars: 3 grams, Protein: 18 grams, Sodium: 175 milligrams, Cholesterol: 55 milligrams, Fiber: 1 gram
More about Dana: Dana Angelo White is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and busy mom of 3! She is a nationally recognized nutrition and fitness blogger, owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., and the nutrition expert for Food Network.com. When she’s not working with the athletes at Quinnipiac University or dreaming up new recipes in her kitchen you’ll find her out for a run or at the nearest farmers’ market. She lives in the Fairfield beach area with her husband, daughters and Boston Terrier, Violet Pickles. For more about Dana- and additional delicious recipes, feel free to visit her website here.

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