Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Recipe: Crockpot Salsa Chicken

SparkRecipes is a wonderful site with recipes submitted by members with nutritional information for everything. It’s not Weight Watchers or any other plan but having the nutrition makes it easy to figure out points values (if that floats your boat) or other things to watch for such as lower fat, carbs, whatever.

One of the most popular recipes is for Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken, which I’ve been wanting to try for a while.  I made it today, with some variations suggested by some of the people who made comments.  It was awesome and will be added as a regular option.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approximately 1 1/4 lbs)
1/3 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning (or regular if you can’t find the reduced sodium)
1 C. fresh salsa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1/2 C. fat free sour cream

Spray crockpot with cooking spray.  Place chicken breasts in bottom and sprinkle with taco seasoning.  Pour salsa on top of that, followed by black beans and corn.  Top with cheddar cheese soup.  Leave in layers; do not mix.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Shred chicken with a fork.  Turn off heat and stir in FF sour cream.  Serve over rice.

Yield:  5 servings, approx. 2/3 C. each = 5 points  (rice not included)
Supposed to be even better as leftovers, which could be folded into tortillas or turned into a quesadilla.


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Brunswick Stew

Original Brunswick Stew potThe best Brunswick Stew I ever had was cooked out over an open fire at a Mennonite fair in Virginia. It tasted smoky and the meat had fallen apart until everything was thick and totally yummy. I got the original version of this recipe from a WW cookbook almost 20 years ago. It no longer bears much resemblance to the original – I added the smoke and started using the blender to replicate that Mennonite stew of long ago. More vegetables helps it stretch.

Feel free to tinker with it yourself or use fresh instead of frozen, though you may need to add a little bit more liquid if you do that. I’m lazy and the frozen ones are faster. This isn’t really spicy, but it’s thick and one of the staples of my winter menus.

Crockpot Brunswick Stew

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups
Yield: 6 servings @ 5 points/serving

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, Cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes [use 1 with chilis for a little extra zing]
1 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons liquid Smoke flavoring
1/2 Cup White cooking wine
1 tablespoon Better than Boullion Chicken Base
1-1/2 C. frozen corn kernels
1-1/2 C. frozen green beans
1-1/2 C. frozen lima beans
1-1/2 C. frozen sliced carrots (optional)
Red pepper flakes to taste
3 bay leaves

Spray crockpot with cooking spray.

In the crockpot, combine onion, chicken, Worcestershire Sauce and Liquid Smoke until chicken is thoroughly coated. Add other ingredients, mix gently, and cover. Cook at low heat for 10 hours.

Using a measuring cup, remove some liquid and chunks to a blender. Pulse on “puree” setting until color changes and contents purees. Return to pot and stir. Repeat until the stew is thick with chunks of chicken and vegetables. Base should NOT be clear liquid.

Serve in bowls. Freezes well.

Note: this is also really good made with lean boneless pork chops instead of chicken. I thawed the wrong thing once and made it anyway, and it was great. I’ve often made it with 1/2 chicken and 1/2 pork.


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Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken

Roasted ChickenI found this recipe on the WeightWatchers.com message boards (must have etools account or a WW monthly pass for access) and made it this weekend. It’s an easy recipe, tasted yummy, but was a little bit messy because I overcooked it and the chicken fell apart. Oops. The meat was just fine but it made retrieving and picking it out a bit of a challenge.


Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken
1 whole chicken
olive oil cooking spray
Lawry’s seasoning salt
aluminum foil

Spray inside of crockpot with olive oil cooking spray. Clean chicken inside and out. Spray chicken with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Note: Do not put any water in the crockpot. Roll 3 or 4 wads of aluminum foil into 2”-3” balls and put them in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of these aluminum foil balls.

Cook on HIGH (will not come out the same if cooked on LOW) for 4-6 hours. (My 4.5 lb turkey cooked for 5 hours and it was too long, so keep an eye on it). Remove skin before serving.You have to use the aluminum to get the deli taste. This chicken tastes very close to one you would buy, precooked, in the deli section of your supermarket.

Yield: 1 chicken
Points: 1 point per ounce of chicken

The original recipe had a variation: to wrap up individual small potatoes in foil and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker to make the foil balls. I tried it and it was very messy. The potatoes ended up sitting in chicken fat and got punctured by the falling apart chicken (the bones had a life of their own, apparently). I threw out the potatoes because they were too fatty. Next time I’m making this with just wadded up foil balls. But I will make it again!


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Spicy Vegetable Beef Soup

Vegetable SoupWinter is a cold time, especially with Arctic fronts and snow/ice storms moving in. I love cooking a big pot of soup or chili that I can eat and reheat, getting warm from the inside.

This soup freezes well and is one of my favorites. I got the recipe from my mom 🙂


Spicy Vegetable Beef Soup
Yield: 7 servings, approx. 1- 1/3 C. each. 5 points/serving1 pound cooked lean ground turkey
1 medium onion(s), chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 jar or can chunky garden spaghetti sauce
10 oz canned beef broth
2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp Splenda
1/2 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
1/2 tsp black pepper
10 oz canned tomatoes with green chilies
16 oz frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup uncooked white (or brown) rice

Brown ground turkey, onion and garlic and drain. Transfer into a Crockpot sprayed with cooking spray. Add all ingredients except rice. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours. Add rice and cook another 20 minutes.


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Easy Crockpot Taco Soup

This is adapted from a recipe I found on Recipezaar, a great recipe site. You can just plug in ingredients and see what you get. Most that are interesting end up needing tweaking and adaptation for healthier living. It’s a great place to start, though, especially if you decide at work that you need to make something and don’t have your cookbooks handy. I’m personally very big on recipes that are easy and/or involve the crockpot. This has both.


Generic Taco Soup image - not a picture of mine!Easy Crockpot Taco SoupIngredients:
1lb lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
2 15-oz cans Mexican-style tomatoes (with juice)
1 15-oz can kidney beans (with juice)
1 15-oz can yellow corn (with juice)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 1/4 oz package taco seasoning
2 cup water

Brown ground turkey and onions in skillet. Drain. Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Ladle into bowls.

Yield: 5 servings, 6 points each

As your points allow, top with low-fat shredded cheese, fat free sour cream, lite tortilla chips or diced avocado. Be sure to count what you add!

Makes a nice, thick tasty soup with a salad for a simple meal.


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Making meat sauce

Yesterday I made a yummy batch of meat sauce in the crockpot. It’s one of the basics of my food plan because I love meat sauce over pasta or sometimes just steamed veggies. But to make it, you have to have the ingredients. So I make sure that I always have them on hand, including at least one pouch of cooked ground turkey, browned with onions, peppers and garlic in the freezer at all times. That way all I have to do is pull it out, thaw, open a few other things, and abracadabra! it’s dinner for days.

Anne’s Meat Sauce:

1 lb. ground turkey
1 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 bag frozen chopped peppers (or fresh if you have them handy)
1 tsp. minced garlic (or more if you like) – either from the jar or fresh
3 16-oz cans diced tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste with Italian seasonings
splash of red cooking wine (optional)
1/2 Tb. Better than Boullion beef flavor (or other concentrated stock base)
2 tsps. cinnamon
1-2 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves

Brown the ground turkey, onion, peppers, and garlic and drain off fat. For convenience, I use frozen peppers and minced garlic in a jar but you can certainly use fresh. Spray either crockpot or large Dutch oven with Pam. Add meet mixture and all other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. If cooking in the crockpot, cook on low for 3-4 hours. In a Dutch oven, simmer on low for 2 hours.

Yield: 6 1-cup servings
Serve over pasta or steamed vegetables (or both)


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Incredibly Easy Crockpot Turkey

TurkeyAn amazingly easy recipe that makes delicious turkey without any fuss and with only two ingredients. Perfect for hot weather when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

All you need is a 5 lb fresh or frozen turkey breast, a shaker of lemon pepper, and a crockpot (the oval kind, not the tall vertical kind).

Thaw the turkey breast in the fridge. Spray the crockpot with Pam or your non-fat spray of choice. Sprinkle turkey liberally with lemon pepper and place meat-side down in the crockpot. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours and then change to LOW for 7 hours, and voila! it’s done. It will make its own liquid and make deliciously moist meat.

I cook mine with the skin and then remove it after cooking. I know others in my meeting who take the skin off first. I think it’s moister to cook with the skin on and then take it off, as long as you make sure you don’t eat it.

You can also use the crockpot to cook a boneless turkey breast. I buy a 5 lb. one from Costco that’s all marinated in nice seasonings and tied in netting. I cut the time back to High for 1.5 hrs and Low for 6.5-7. This is my favorite – no bones to mess with and the meat is very tender.

Works well to cook overnight. I start it at 9pm on high, cut back to low at 11pm and go to bed. When I’m up at 6am, it’s ready and I can remove from the pot, debone, etc. Doesn’t take long and the turkey is delicious. I use it for dinner, on sandwiches and wraps, diced into salads, etc. Freezes well for easy use later. Enjoy!