Slow cooker recipes: Simple soups

Crockpot soup recipesIf you don’t have a Crockpot yet, you need to get one. With a little bit of planning, you can use it to create great-tasting meals without spending hours in the kitchen. Just keep a few simple tips in mind and you’ll be all set:

Don’t overfill it. Only fill a Crockpot about two-thirds full to ensure that everything gets fully cooked.

Avoid frozen foods. Never start a Crockpot meal with frozen ingredients because it takes too much additional time for those items to thaw. As a result, you risk an undercooked meal or, even worse, food that didn’t reach 140 degrees quickly enough to stop bacteria growth and is unsafe to eat.

Plan ahead. By prepping a day earlier, you can save precious time in the morning. The night before, chop your veggies, brown any meats and measure out additional ingredients. With the prep work done, you’ll just have to toss everything in the Crockpot in the morning.

Start on high, then shift to low. It’s best to jumpstart Crockpot cooking with at least an hour on high heat before turning it down to low. Some slow cookers can be programmed to lower the heat after a set time. If yours isn’t programmable, start it on high when you wake up then turn it down to low right before you leave for the day.

Now that you know how to master cooking with a Crockpot, it’s time to use it. Start out with one of these soup recipes and be sure to keep an eye out for more Crockpot recipes in the coming weeks!

 

Cheesy Beer Soup

1 large onion, chopped

6 cups cauliflower florets

1 1/2 cups apple cider

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 bottle of light beer

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground sage

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Put everything in the Crockpot and let cook for 4 to 6 hours. Carefully puree soup with an immersion blender. If using a standard blender, puree the soup in small batches, being careful of the hot liquid.

Nutritional Information (Makes 8 servings)

Per serving: 166 calories;8 total fat; 455mg sodium; 10g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 10g protein

 

Wild Rice and Meatball Soup

This soup requires a bit of prep work, so cut up the vegetables and make the meatballs the night before.

For the meatballs:

8 ounces ground turkey

1 egg

¼ cup bread crumbs

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped finely

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray

For the soup:

¾ cup red onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 cup cooked wild rice (or brown rice)

1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and mashed with fork until smooth (add a tablespoon of water if necessary to make mashing easier)

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

4 cups water

¼ cup of parsley, chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

The day before: Make the meatballs by mixing all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Form the mixture into 1” balls. Coat a sauté pan with cooking spray and brown meatballs on all sides. (This should take about 15 minutes.) Set aside to cool then store in airtight container in the refrigerator until the next morning.

In the morning: Combine the red onion, red and yellow bell peppers, celery, wild rice, mashed garbanzo beans, broth, water and meatballs in the Crockpot. Heat on high for one hour then turn temperature to low and cook for 4 to 6 hours. Once finished, add parsley and season with ground black pepper.

Nutritional Information (Makes 8 servings)
Per serving: 150 calories;4 total fat; 336mg sodium; 17g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 11g protein

 

Classic Beef Stew

Ideally, you should brown the meat and deglaze the pan with a bit of water before putting it in the Crockpot. If you’re short on time, you can skip this step. 

1 pound stew meat (sirloin is best)

4 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

4 cups low-sodium beef broth

2 cups water

1 1/2 tablespoons dried marjoram

2 teaspoons paprika

1 tablespoon butter, softened

2 tablespoons flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the beef, carrots, celery, sweet potato, broth, water, marjoram and paprika in the Crockpot. Set on high for one hour then turn down to low and cook for 6 to 8 hours. When soup has finished cooking, combine the butter and flour in a medium bowl. Slowly add in a cup of the hot broth from the slow cooker and stir with a fork until well mixed. Add another cup of hot broth and stir. Then add the flour mixture to Crockpot and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information (Makes 6 servings)
Per serving: 230 calories;8 total fat; 394mg sodium; 12 g carbohydrates; 2g fiber;26g protein

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