Living in New England, we are used to having to deal with Northeasters, followed by huge amounts of snow. I have always been a fan of crock pot cooking, especially on those snowy days, when you’re just in the mood for some comfort food, and are keeping with a healthy diet. But more importantly, cooking this way saves time and energy preparing for dinners during the work week. One slow cooker dish can be used two or three times, depending on the size of your family. You can freeze leftovers for the following week, and still have a prepared lunch to grab on the go, ensuring you stay on track with eating healthy.
The crock pot is my number one cooking tool to use when making soups, stews, and dishes, like this one, to have on hand in my fridge when I lose track of time, and still want a healthy meal. It saves time during the week, and goes a long way.
1 -2 pounds uncooked sausage (chicken or pork). Remove casings, crumble
1 large green and red bell pepper
1 medium eggplant
1 summer squash
1 cup of mushrooms (white button, cremini or similar)
3 Roma or Heirloom tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
3 to 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 cup chicken broth* (see notes)
1 25-ounce jar pasta sauce* (see notes)
pinch kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
fresh basil (or parsley) for serving
Slice bell peppers in half remove seeds and cut into 1″ pieces.
Trim ends off eggplant, slice in half, then cut into 1” cubes
Trim ends of zucchini and summer squash, slice in half then cut into 1” cubes
Slice tomatoes and cut in half
Slice mushrooms in half depending on size, larger slice twice then half
Chop onion in half, then into small pieces
Slice carrots into small pieces
Crush garlic, using garlic press, or finely chop
Finely chop basil or parsley to sprinkle when serving
Pour 1 cup of broth into pot, followed by remaining ingredients. Hold the tomato sauce and crumbled sausage for last. Combine all ingredients once in the crock pot, mixing well, cover and cook on high for four hours, or low for seven hours.
Organic Bone Broth: I use this brand from Wise Choice Market. It is made from scratch from all organic ingredients, and I always have it on hand. It is full of nutrients, and you can drink it in place of coffee or tea as well. Their website is http://www.wisechoicemarket.com/
Another great option is Pacific brand, which you can find at your local grocery store.
Pasta Sauce – these can have added sugars and be loaded with sodium and other nasty ingredients, so you want to pay attention to the label. There should be no more than 4g of sugar per serving. A great option is Monte Bene’ or Dave’s Gourmet Organic. Only 4g of sugar per serving, very low sodium, no corn starch or MSG. Notice how there is no added ingredients on their label, that’s what you want to look for.