The “What’s for Dinner?” Dilemma, Solved

We’ve all been there. You’ve had a long day and it ain’t over yet. With dinnertime fast-approaching you don’t have a clue what to cook. Ordering in is not an option ““ not a healthy one, anyway. Since this year you’re more committed than ever to eat clean and get fit (no matter what, right?), I’m dishing up my simplest meal solution: set it and forget it!

You read that right. By prepping your dinner in the morning and letting it slowly cook all day, you’ll shave time ““ and years of stress ““ from your hectic day. All you have to do is throw ingredients into a crock pot, set it to the perfect temp and forget about it until you get home to the wonderful aroma of chicken soup, a cheesy casserole or a hearty stew. Let me tell you: the crock pot is your kitchen savior, and your family will savor every meal it makes.

I know what you’re thinking. Crock pots are only good for soups, chili and maybe the occasional meatballs. Wrong! You will wow your loved ones (and any unexpected neighborhood kids) with the kinds of dishes you can serve from this one-pot wonder. They’ll think dinner was catered by a gourmet chef. What makes it even better is you don’t have to take cooking classes or pronounce fancy words like cacciatore or fricassee. You just have to be a little creative and know how to shop for good food.

Prep this healthy, well-rounded crock pot idea for tonight:

Serve this with a side of five-minute couscous for a helping of whole grains.

Serve this with a side of five-minute couscous for a helping of whole grains.

Lemon-Garlic Crock Pot Chicken

1 small, whole chicken (about 4 lbs.)
3 carrots, sliced thick
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. garlic powder (use more if you’re adventurous)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 lemon, quartered

Directions

1. Spread veggies evenly into the bottom of the crock pot.

2. Remove any innards from chicken and stuff it with lemon quarters.

3. Place whole chicken on top of veggies.

4. Pour in broth and add seasonings.

5. Cover with lid and cook on low for 7 ““ 9 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.

Sit back and watch them all dig in, while you enjoy the success of cooking a nutritious meal that was virtually mindless, quick to prepare and doesn’t derail your diet.

Other recipes to try:

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers ““ use the awsome ancient grain, quinoa, in place of white rice for more fiber and protein

Italian Turkey Meatloaf ““ swap the beef for ground turkey to save calories from fat

Mama’s Chicken Noodle Soup ““ use whole grain spiral pasta instead of the traditional, non-nutritional egg noodles

Do you have any crock pot recipes? Share them in the comments below!

Jennifer Nicole Lee is an International fitness model, best-selling author and motivational speaker who has appeared on  Oprah, CBS  The Early Show,  Inside Edition,  E! Entertainment  and  Fox and Friends. She is the author of the The Fun Fit Foodie Cookbook and was named one of the “Three Top Females in the Fitness Industry” of 2011 by Yahoo Sports. Check out her health and fitness tips and videos exclusively on the  Vitacost Blog.

About JNL

Jennifer Nicole Lee is an International fitness model, best-selling author and motivational speaker who has appeared on Oprah, CBS The Early Show, Inside Edition, E! Entertainment and Fox and Friends. She is the author of the The Fun Fit Foodie Cookbook and was named one of the “Three Top Females in the Fitness Industry” of 2011 by Yahoo Sports.

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