Category Archives: Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese

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Bolognese is one of those words that I never had any idea what it meant until I started watching the Food Network. One of my very favorite shows to watch on it is Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I love watching Guy travel around to restaurants all around the U.S. that you would have never heard of otherwise, and learn about how others interpret popular recipes or make entirely unique creations. I’ve actually learned a lot about cooking and food in general from that show, and it gives me endless inspiration for the meals that I create.

One recipe that I’ve seen a number of times is Bolognese sauce. Bolognese is a meat-based tomato sauce typically consisting of ground meat, onion, carrot, and celery, finished off with white wine, sometimes cream, and served over papparadelle pasta. Pasta with meat sauce has always been somewhat of a comfort food to me, so this recipe instantly appealed to me. Growing up, my mom would often make what she called “American Chop Suey”, which was just meat sauce served over fun pasta like rotini or wagon wheels (our favorite!). As much as I love mom’s chop suey, I felt like I was ready to kick things up a notch and fix up an old favorite.

My Bolognese sauce is not exactly traditional. First of all, I decided to use ground turkey rather than beef or pork simply because I prefer the flavor and like that it’s lower fat. My recipe also doesn’t include white wine. I simply haven’t acquired the taste for wine in cooking yet… hopefully it will come some day. I chose not to add cream to my sauce, but if you choose to use it, make sure you add it at the end when the sauce is just about done cooking.

This Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese is a rich, chunky sauce with complex flavors from the combination of the meat, veggies, and spices. I chose to cook it in a slow cooker because I think most of us can agree that sauces that are cooked over a low temperature for several hours just taste better. If you don’t have a crock-pot, you can cook this sauce over the stove top and let it simmer for 3-4 hours. This sauce is surprisingly low-fat and is a perfect meal to serve to your family or friends. Serve it with whole grain pasta to make it even healthier!

Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese
serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (I used 93% lean)
  • 1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 1 15. oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cooked pasta of your choice, to serve

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter over low heat. Add onions and carrots and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add celery and garlic and continue cooking.
  2. In a separate frying pan, cook ground turkey over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break the meat up into small chunks. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until meat is lightly browned (but don’t overcook).
  3. Lightly spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Add meat and veggies, along with the 2 cans of tomatoes and the spices. Stir to combine. Don’t forget the bay leaf, too!
  4.  Set for low and cook for 4-5 hours. Once your sauce is finished, served over cooked pasta with a healthy sprinkle of parmesan cheese and enjoy. 🙂
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Start by sauteing your veggies

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and browning your meat

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Once your meat and veggies are done cooking, add them to your slow cooker along with the tomatoes and spices

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When your bolognese sauce is just about ready to serve, cook up some pasta

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Serve your pasta with the bolognese sauce and some parmesan cheese. Yum!

Chicken, Sausage & White Bean Stew

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As soon as I saw this recipe on foodgawker, I knew I had to try it. It combines things I’ve loved since I was a child: soup and chicken – and things I’ve come to love over the last year or so: sausage and white beans.  The fact that it’s made in a slow cooker makes it all the more appealing. It is a delicious, hearty stew that is incredibly satisfying and will “stick to your ribs”, as my father says.

The original recipe was a large batch and wouldn’t have fit in my 4-quart slow cooker, so I scaled it down a bit to make approximately 4-5 servings. It requires just a few minutes of prep time, and then off into the slow cooker it goes for the next 6 hours, filling your house with a mouthwatering aroma. I used chicken sausage to make it a little lighter, and found that the flavor complimented the soup perfectly. If you love comfort food, this stew is for you.

Chicken, Sausage & White Bean Stew
slightly adapted from Apple A Day Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with Sausage, White Beans, and Spinach

Ingredients:
makes 4-5 servings

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 links chicken sausage (about 9 oz. total), diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs rosemary and 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 15. oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4-5 cups fresh spinach or kale, torn into small pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • parmesan cheese
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Your ingredients

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized cooking pot, heat olive oil. Add diced onion and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened. Stir in garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in the flour and stir, making sure it’s well-distributed and onions are coated in it.
  3. Pour in about 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, scraping up any bits of onion that are stuck to the pot. Cook for about 1 minute.
  4. In your slow cooker, coat inside with cooking spray and place the chicken thighs at the bottom of the pot. Season well with salt and pepper. Pour onion-flour mixture on top, along with the remaining chicken stock, chicken sausage, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and beans.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-7 hours. In the last remaining 20 minutes, stir in spinach or kale and cook until wilted. My chicken had completely fallen apart at this point, but if yours is still in large chunks, you may need to shred it and then return it to the pot.
  6. Serve soup with parmesan cheese and enjoy 🙂
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After sauteing the onions and spices, stir in flour.

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Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and stir, scraping up any bits of the onion stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 1 minute.

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Coat the bottom of your crock pot with cooking spray and layer chicken thighs on top. Season well with salt and pepper.

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Add remaining chicken stock, chicken sausage, herbs, and white beans to slow cooker. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.

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In last remaining 20 minutes of cooking, stir in spinach or kale. Cook until wilted. If your chicken is still in big chunks, you may need to pull them out and shred them at this point, then return them to the pot.

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Serve with parmesan cheese and enjoy 🙂

Also, I thought I’d mention quickly that yesterday was the first anniversary of this Hungry Hannah. Yay! In one year, this blog has reached almost 50 thousand views and has gained 79 followers. Thank you to all those who helped me get to this point and I look forward to sharing more recipes with you! 🙂