As the kids head back to school, the sun rises later and sets earlier, and the easy carefree days of summer quickly come to a screeching halt behind those school buses, we all begin to accept the fact that fall is on its way.  Fall, one of my favorite seasons.  Filled with football, sweaters, brisk weather, crisp leaves and lots of opportunity to make nutrient rich foods that are hearty yet healthy.  With longer hours at work and the cooler weather we find the perfect excuse to pull out the Crockpot.  This ingenious cooking device allows you to prepare foods so they are hot and ready by the time you get home from work.  With the right recipes this is the perfect combination to stay on track.  Here are a couple old favorites recreated specifically for the Crockpot.  They are healthy and hearty at their finest.  

Slow Cooker Oatmeal  


1 cup steel cut oats
1/3 cup chopped dates
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried figs
½ tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
4 cups water
½ cup non-fat plain yogurt  

Mix all of the ingredients in your Crockpot before you head to bed.  Set to Low and cook for 8 to 9 hours.  Stir to combine and serve.    

Beef Stew


  1 ½ lbs beef stew meat, cut into medium pieces
4 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 ½ cups baby carrots
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, thickly chopped
1 Qt Beef Stock, unsalted
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano 1 tsp cumin
1 dried bay leaf  

Put all the ingredients in to your Crockpot, and stir together.  Set Crockpot to the low heat setting and cook for 7-8 hours, until all the vegetables are tender.  

Chicken Cacciatore  


8 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 white onion, peeled and sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp basil ½ tsp rosemary
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup red wine  

Place half the tomatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, herbs, red pepper flakes, and red wine in the Crockpot.  Add chicken thighs then top with remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.


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