Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook by American Heart Association, EPUB, 0553448048

  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Publisher: Harmony
  • Publication Date: October 23, 2018
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553448048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553448047
  • File Format: EPUB



Also by the American Heart Association

American Heart Association Instant & Healthy

The New American Heart Association Cookbook, 9th Edition

American Heart Association Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, 5th Edition

American Heart Association Grill It, Braise It, Broil It

American Heart Association Go Fresh

American Heart Association Eat Less Salt

American Heart Association Quick & Easy Cookbook, 2nd Edition

American Heart Association Low-Salt Cookbook, 4th Edition

American Heart Association Healthy Family Meals

Find the American Heart Association online at



Copyright © 2012, 2018 by the American Heart Association

All rights reserved.

Previous edition published in the United States in 2012.

Published in the United States by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

Harmony Books is a registered trademark and the Circle colophon is a trademark of Penguin Random House LLC.

An earlier edition of this work was published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, in 2012.

Your contributions to the American Heart Association support research that helps make publications like this possible. For more information, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721) or contact us online at

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Title: American Heart Association healthy slow cooker cookbook.

Other titles: Healthy slow cooker cookbook | Slow cooker cookbook

Description: Second edition. | New York : Harmony, [2018] | Series: American heart association | Includes index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2018006860 (print) | LCCN 2018007601 (ebook) | ISBN 9780553448054 (ebook) | ISBN 9780553448047 (paperback)

Subjects: | BISAC: COOKING / Health & Healing / General. | COOKING / Methods / Cookery for One. | COOKING / Methods / Quick & Easy.

Classification: LCC RM237.7 (ebook) | LCC RM237.7 .A47 2018 (print) | DDC 641.5/63—dc23

LC record available at​2018006860

ISBN 9780553448047

Ebook ISBN 9780553448054

Photographs by Lauren Volo





Steamed Pumpkin Bread, this page




American Heart Association Consumer Publications

Managing Editor: Deborah Renza Puccio

Content Manager: Roberta Westcott Sullivan


Recipe Developers

Ellen Boeke

Janice Cole

Constance Hay

Nancy S. Hughes

Annie King

Jackie Mills, M.S., R.D.

Kathryn Moore

Carol Ritchie

Julie Shapero, R.D., L.D.

Roxanne Wyss


Nutrition Analyst

Tammi Hancock, R.D.



Mediterranean Fish Stew with Rouille, this page






Enjoying the Benefits of Slow Cooking

Understanding How Slow Cookers Work

Getting the Best from Your Slow Cooker


Eat Smart.

Add Color.

Move More.

Be Well.




Appetizers, Snacks, and Beverages





Vegetarian Entrées

Vegetables and Side Dishes

Sauces and More

Breads and Breakfast Dishes






Slow Cooking


A Healthy Twist on an Old Favorite


Slow cookers have been standard equipment in many American kitchens since the original avocado green and harvest gold models were introduced in the 1970s. For decades, cooks turned to their trusty slow cookers when preparing chilis, stews, soups, and hot dips, and the recipes they used usually included the canned soups, fatty meats, and melted cheeses that were so typical of those dishes. These same ingredients, however, are also chock full of harmful sodium, saturated fats, and calories. Today we are looking for a fresh, healthier approach to slow cooking—one that offers new options to create a full range of creative, delicious, and nutritious dishes that make it easy to eat smart.

In American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook, you’ll find modern, health-savvy ways to use this popular culinary device. The long, slow simmering of slow cooking is ideal for transforming the leanest meats into tender bites, and it allows the savory flavors in vegetable-rich stews to blend and mellow. Your slow cooker is also capable of gently cooking fish and seafood, steaming breads and desserts, and simmering complex sauces that can make a simple dish outstanding and heart healthy.

We understand that there are times when it makes sense to dump everything in the crock and leave it alone for hours—and other times when it’s important to take time to attend to a few details. Prepping ingredients, browning meats, layering foods appropriately, preparing pasta or rice separately—these small steps may take a little extra time or effort, but they can make a big difference in your final product, yielding richer flavor and better texture. With this cookbook’s wide assortment of recipes from appetizers to desserts and everything in between, you’ll discover just how much your slow cooker can do.

In the pages that follow, “Enjoying the Benefits of Slow Cooking” (this page) discusses the advantages of using a slow cooker for your health, your budget, and your convenience. “Understanding How Slow Cookers Work” (this page) explains the technical aspects of slow cooking and how the differences in sizes and shapes can affect the process. “Getting the Best from Your Slow Cooker” (this page) covers the basics of effective slow cookery. These tricks of the trade will help you deliver the best results for your culinary efforts. In this section, you’ll also find general slow cooker guidelines and information on flavor development and food safety. “Eat Smart.” (this page) and “Add Color.” (this page) outline how to eat wisely, while “Move More.” (this page) and “Be Well.” (this page) discuss how to adopt an overall heart-healthy lifestyle.

And, finally, the more than 230 recipes starting on this page demonstrate the wide variety of dishes you can cook in a slow cooker. The best way to ensure that healthy, mouthwatering food comes out of your cooker is to pay attention to the ingredients you put in it. When you start with lean proteins, wholesome grains, and vegetables and fruits—without adding a lot of sodium, unhealthy fats, or sugar—you will enjoy both the health benefits and good flavor of the foods you prepare. We invite you to try any of the delicious and nutritious recipes in the pages that follow and let the tantalizing aromas from your slow cooker welcome you home tonight.



Enjoying the Benefits of Slow Cooking


Slow cooking offers several significant advantages: It’s a great way to turn healthy ingredients into satisfying meals, it’s economical, and, of course, it’s convenient.

The slow process of cooking with moist heat at low temperatures produces succulent lean meats and poultry of falling-apart tenderness. Nutrition-rich vegetables often cook right in the crock with the protein source, so they’re more likely to be part of your regular meal planning instead of being overlooked or a last-minute afterthought. Slow cookers are excellent for cooking legumes such as lentils and dried beans, those heart-healthy essentials that are full of fiber and protein but are often underused in the typical American diet. A slow cooker also makes easy work of preparing homemade broths and long-simmered sauces to use in other recipes, such as soups and pasta dishes. Making your own soups and sauces allows you to control the amount of sodium and other additives in those foods.

By using your slow cooker, you can also save money on both food and energy costs. Because slow cooking breaks down the connective tissue in less-expensive cuts of meat, you won’t need to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy a savory stew or roast. Slow cookers can help you go green, since they require less energy than a traditional stove or oven. You can further reduce your kitchen “footprint” by cooking once and eating twice: Make large quantities of your favorite dishes, eat some now, and refrigerate or freeze the rest for a quick meal at another time.

Slow cookers let you enjoy the many benefits of home-cooked meals with a minimum of hands-on attention. Because the heating elements are encased in a protective housing, the slow cooker doesn’t need tending. Except in certain cases, you shouldn’t stir the food, and you don’t need to watch it or worry about it burning. You can simply leave the kitchen—and even the house—while your dinner is cooking. Slow cooking is also great for warmer months when you don’t want to turn on the stove and heat up your kitchen.



Understanding How Slow Cookers Work


Slow cookers surround food with low, steady heat, resulting in long, slow cooking without burning. The outside metal housing contains low-wattage electric coils that heat to a designated temperature. As the coils heat, they transmit indirect heat to the inner crock (usually stoneware). Covering the crock with the lid creates a moisture-proof seal that ensures that the heat and steam released by the contents remain in the crock. This seal is important to maintain a steady temperature inside, and it also helps distribute and blend flavors as vapor condenses on the lid and returns to the food in the pot.





Modern cookers have low, high, and warm heat settings. Most cookers set to low heat reach temperatures ranging from 185°F to 200°F, depending on the individual cooker; on high, they reach temperatures between 250°F and 300°F. In actual practice, the internal temperature of different cookers can vary quite a lot from brand to brand; the age of the cooker also can make a significant difference because new models are made to reach higher temperatures than most older ones. (See this page for information on how to test the cooking temperature of your slow cooker so you’ll know how to best estimate accurate cooking times.) For most recipes in this book, we’ve provided you the option of cooking on either low or high. Since the low setting can often take up to double the time to cook as the high setting, these options give you choices that work with your schedule. When the recipe calls for only one setting, then the alternate temperature is not recommended for that particular recipe.





Today’s slow cookers come in several different sizes, each of which has its advantages. It’s important to use the right cooker for the recipe you are preparing: The size of the cooker affects not only how much food you can cook but also the timing of your recipe. For effective cooking, the food should fill the crock enough to adequately cover the heating coils embedded in the sides of the cooker. If the cooker is too large, with a lot of empty space left, the food will cook too fast. If the cooker is too small for the total ingredients of your recipe, the crock will be too full and the food will not cook properly. If a recipe in this book requires a specific size for best results, that is noted. Most recipes, however, offer a range of recommended cooker sizes.





The shape of your cooker affects how the heat is distributed, as well as what will fit comfortably in the crock itself. Round cookers are perfect for casseroles, stews, and soups and for recipes cooked in round baking pans. If you want to serve a whole fish, a large chicken or roast, or a recipe that cooks in a longer pan, such as meat loaf or bread, you need an oval cooker long enough to accommodate the food or the pan. When it is important to use a particular shape, it will be indicated in the recipe.



Getting the Best from Your Slow Cooker


When slow cookers were first introduced, most recipes instructed the cook to open a few cans, dump their contents into the crock, and leave the food to cook for about 8 hours. Quick assembly and hands-off cooking still will be your top priority sometimes, but when you put in a little extra effort, your slow cooker will amply reward you.





The best ways to escalate your slow cooking from so-so to super are to learn a few basic slow cooker do’s and don’ts, know how your own cooker works, and observe basic food safety rules.

• Make the cooker work with your schedule. Try prepping a recipe the night before you plan to cook the food. Cover and refrigerate the prepped food in separate airtight containers overnight, fill the crock in the morning, and turn on the heat and, if your cooker has one, the timer.

• Prep foods so they will cook the most efficiently and evenly. For example, take care to cut carrots into pieces of the same approximate size so all the carrots in the dish will be done at the same time.

• Choose the correct size of cooker for the recipe you are preparing, and don’t be tempted to substitute sizes. Different sizes make big differences in timing. Ideally, the cooker will be between one-half and two-thirds full of ingredients when you start the cooking process. For best results, use the size guidelines provided in the recipe.

• Resist the urge to stir or sneak a peek. Open the lid only when the recipe directs you to, complete the necessary actions, such as adding ingredients, and re-cover the cooker quickly. Every time you break the seal between the cover and the crock, you lose a lot of heat.

• Follow the recipe directions for how to arrange ingredients in the crock. Placement order and layering can make a big difference in timing and outcome. In general, for recipes that combine meat and vegetables, you’ll place fibrous root vegetables at the bottom of the crock and then layer on the meat or poultry; if using tender vegetables as well, you often will be directed to add them on top toward the end of cooking.

• Trim the visible fat from poultry and meats, and in most cases discard the skin before cooking the poultry, both to cut down on unhealthy fats in the finished dish and for more even cooking. (Because fat holds more heat than water does, the more fat a food contains, the faster it will cook.) Some recipes may direct you to leave the skin on a whole chicken while cooking. If so, be sure to discard the skin before serving the chicken.





As you prepare meals in your slow cooker, take the time to get the best flavor results. As the recipes developed for this book demonstrate, incorporating a few simple prep steps and knowing when to add ingredients can make the difference between ho-hum and extraordinary. Here are a few flavor tips to keep in mind when using a slow cooker.

• Brown poultry and meats in a skillet before you add them to the cooker when the recipes call for it. (If your slow cooker has the option, brown the food in the crock.) Browning caramelizes the natural sugars, greatly improving the overall flavor and texture of a dish, as well as making it look more inviting.

• Add ground herbs at the beginning of cooking, but add fresh herbs at the end to preserve their taste and appearance.

• Taste your dish for seasoning before serving because the flavors of spices can mellow and dissipate during slow cooking more so than with other cooking methods.

• Perk up flavors by adding fresh ingredients just after you finish cooking the dish. Citrus juice or zest, fresh herbs, vinegars, or spicy peppers will brighten the blended taste of a long-simmered dish.





Slow cooking is safe and effective as long as you observe the safety guidelines that are specific to the slow cooker.

• Become familiar with your cooker’s temperature range so you can gauge cooking times accurately. Cooking temperatures of units from different manufacturers vary in intensity, and today’s cookers tend to cook hotter than the older models; your machine may cook a little hotter or cooler than the norm. If that’s the case, the difference may affect not only the success of a recipe but also the safety of the food.

• To test the cooking temperature of your cooker, try this: Fill the crock one-half to two-thirds full of room-temperature water and heat the water, covered, on low for 8 hours. Uncover and immediately test the water temperature with an instant-read thermometer. (Act quickly because the temperature will drop when the lid is raised.) If the temperature is higher than 185°F, your cooker runs hot, and you should cook foods for slightly less time than recommended. If it is lower, foods may not reach an adequate cooking temperature quickly enough for safety. (If your cooker is not heating to a safe temperature, you should consider replacing it.) Altitude will also affect your cooker’s performance, so modify your timing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Thaw frozen foods, especially meat and poultry, in the fridge or microwave—but not at room temperature—before you put them in the cooker. Frozen ingredients will keep the internal temperature lower than it should be, and the contents of the crock may not reach high-enough temperatures to cook properly.

• Don’t leave food on the warm or off setting in your slow cooker for more than 2 hours to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying.

• If you suspect that your cooker has been off for more than 2 hours because of a power outage, it’s safest to discard the food in the cooker.

• Do not reheat slow cooker leftovers in the crock because bacteria can grow in the time it takes for the food to reach a safe temperature. Instead, reheat food in a microwave or on the stove.

• Let your slow cooker favorites cool before you put them in the freezer; you don’t want the warm food to thaw surrounding frozen foods.



Healthy For Good™


Healthy For Good is a revolutionary movement built to help you make lasting changes to your health and life, one small step at a time. The approach is simple: Eat Smart. Add Color. Move More. Be Well.



Eat Smart.


Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean dieting or giving up all the foods you love. You’ll learn how to ditch the junk food and give your body the nutrient-dense fuel it needs.





Cooking more meals at home gives everyone in the family an opportunity to build better eating habits, one plate at a time.

• Sit down and eat as a family to help ensure healthy and balanced meals.

• Build your cooking skills so you can control what ingredients are used and the amount of sodium in your food.

• Keep your kitchen stocked with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains to add true nourishment to your life.





A portion is how much we choose to eat. Portions are 100 percent under our control and learning how to eat smart portions is a big part of eating healthier.

• Read nutrition labels carefully to compare serving size, calories, sodium levels, and added sugars.

• Eat reasonable portions, even when you’re served more than you need.

• Prepare and eat more meals at home so you can control the ingredients and portion size.





Eating healthy starts with putting the right foods on your plate, in the right amounts. An easy way to have more energy is to make smart food choices.

• Include fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, lean protein, fat-free/low-fat dairy products, and healthy fats.

• Limit sweets, fatty or processed meats, solid fats such as butter, and salty or highly processed foods.

• Avoid partially hydrogenated oils.





Your body needs fats but some are better than others. Replace bad fats with healthier ones to keep your body nourished.

• Healthier unsaturated fats come from nontropical liquid oils, nuts and seeds, avocados, and fatty fish.

• Bad fats are solid or saturated fats; they come from animal sources, such as meat and dairy, as well as tropical oils, such as coconut and palm.

• Avoid trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils, found in some processed foods.





Go for a simple, no-fad healthy eating pattern to nourish your body and bring out the best you.

• Concentrate on smaller portions, rather than forcing yourself to eliminate foods you love.

• Add fiber-rich foods that will keep you feeling full, such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits.

• Don’t buy empty-calorie foods and sugary drinks; if they aren’t in your pantry, then you’re less likely to indulge.





Hundreds of foods have been certified by the American Heart Association to help you make smart decisions when grocery shopping.

• Foods bearing our Heart-Check mark have been certified to meet an overall healthy diet pattern.

• Look for the mark on packaging in grocery stores.

• Check to see if your favorite brand is certified at



Add Color.


An easy first step to eating healthy is to include fruits and vegetables at every meal or snack. All forms (fresh, frozen, canned, and dried) and colors count, so go ahead and add color to your plate—and your life.





You don’t have to break the bank to get fruits and veggies on your plate; just add a little at a time and look for ways to save.

• Many fruits and vegetables cost less than $1 per serving.

• Single-serving fruits and vegetables can be cheaper than vending machine snacks.

• Buying produce in bulk and freezing the excess can help you save in the long run.





Everyone knows you need to eat a few servings of fruits and veggies, but do you know what a serving means?

• One whole medium-size fruit (like an apple, orange, or banana) is a serving.

• Get a whole serving of most fruits and veggies with just a half cup of fresh, frozen, or canned produce.

• One cup of raw leafy veggies provides you with a full serving.





Canned, frozen, and dried fruit and veggies are just as nutritious as fresh, but they can come with some unwelcome add-ons.

• Check labels to find options with the lowest amounts of salt and added sugars.

• Choose fruits and vegetables packed in their own juice or water and prepared without heavy syrups or sauces.

• Drain and rinse canned produce.





Seasonal fruits and veggies can make adding color more interesting. Be on the lookout for new produce when the seasons change.

• Shop your local farmers’ market to find seasonal fruits and vegetables.

• Join a community garden to add diverse color year-round.

• Grow your own fruit and veggie garden.





Eat healthier one plate at a time by adding a little color to every meal and snack of the day.

• Look at your plate as a whole each time you eat. If it’s looking too beige, add a serving of fruits and veggies.

• Add color to family favorites such as mac and cheese, pasta, and rice by tossing in a handful of veggies.

• Adding color isn’t all or nothing; start small, then add more as time goes by.





Salad isn’t the only way to be an herbivore. With colorful substitutions, you won’t even miss the meat.

• Replace ground beef in any recipe with finely diced mushrooms.

• Choose a vegetarian meal at least once a week, such as Meatless Mondays.

• Omit the meat and double the veggies in a recipe.



Move More.


A good starting goal is at least 150 minutes a week, but if you don’t want to sweat the numbers, just move more. Find forms of exercise you like and will stick with, and build more opportunities to be active into your routine.





Warming up is a critical part of having a safe and efficient workout. Give your body a few minutes of prep time to increase flexibility and prevent injury.

• Five to ten minutes is a good rule of thumb for a sufficient warm-up. The more intense the activity, the longer the warm-up should be.

• Warm up your whole body—not just the muscles you plan on using.





If you’re looking for an easy way to add activity to your day, walking could be right up your alley. It’s simple, effective, and you can do it almost anywhere.

• Just start walking. Begin with a few minutes each day and add more from there as you get into better shape.

• Find ways to make it fun, whether that’s changing your route, inviting a friend, or listening to music.

• If you’re too busy to carve out time for a longer walk, split it up into shorter sessions that work for you.





To stay healthy and get the most out of your workouts, your body needs fuel and fluids before, during, and after your sweat session.

• Hydrate with water and fuel up with healthy carbs up to two hours before working out.

• Take small, frequent sips of water during your workout.

• Refuel after your workout with lean protein, healthy carbs, and plenty of water.





Getting more fit can be as simple as adding at least 22 minutes of activity to each day. Carving out time isn’t always easy, but it is worth it.

• Break it up into 10- to 15-minute segments at times that are convenient for you.

• Go for a brisk walk during your lunch break.

• Take the stairs as often as possible for an extra boost.





Adding exercise is easier when it’s a shared activity. Bring your family with you for more accountability, time together, and fun.

• Dance your way to fitness with a parents’ night out or a fun family dance party.

• Put away the screens and take a walk in your local park.

• Unleash your inner child with fun games such as chase, tag, and kid-friendly obstacle courses.





Cooling down after a workout can help your body reset so you can avoid dizziness, reduce lactic acid buildup, and recover a little bit easier.

• Gradually reduce your heart rate by walking for about 5 minutes.

• When your muscles are still warm is the best time to stretch.

• Breathing deeply during your cool-down can also help you relax.



Be Well.


Along with eating smart and being active, real health also includes getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness, managing stress, keeping mind and body fit, connecting socially, and more.





• Relaxation is a skill that can be developed. You can take a class to learn new techniques or practice on your own, but the most important thing is to keep it up.

• Practice deep breathing techniques throughout the day by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth slowly and deliberately.

• Pick up a meditative hobby like walking, painting, gardening, or bird watching.

• Take up tai chi, qi gong, yoga, or guided meditation with an instructor to develop your technique.





When you’re feeling anxious, stressed out, or angry, take a step back to gather your thoughts and look at the situation objectively.

• In high-anxiety situations, give yourself some space—take a walk and come back later when tensions subside.

• When you’re feeling angry or upset with someone, count to ten and take a few deep breaths before you react.

• Take preventive measures to avoid stress, like leaving a few minutes earlier to avoid being late.





• Long-term weight loss and maintenance is all about lifestyle and making healthier choices regularly.

• Losing weight is a simple equation: Eat fewer calories than you burn, and you’ll see a difference over time.

• Focus on portion control and eating healthy while increasing calories burned with regular activity such as walking.

• Don’t fall into the traps of “cheat days.” For long-term results, develop a pattern of healthy eating and indulge sensibly on occasion.





How much stress you have in your life as well as how you react to it can play an important role in your overall well-being. Keep stress at bay with positive coping techniques.

• Focus on healthy outlets for your stress, such as taking a walk, journaling, volunteering, or taking up a hobby.

• Add regular exercise and meditation to your routine to help you stay more relaxed under pressure.

• Be sure to get enough sleep and take everything one step at a time, especially when you feel rushed or overworked.





• Too often we put our own needs aside to get things done for family, work, and other responsibilities. To be your best you, it’s important to add a healthy dose of self-care.

• Add calming activities to your day, such as lunchtime walks and yoga, to rejuvenate and refresh.

• Take time out for you; use your vacation days whether it’s to go on a big trip or just hang out at home for a staycation.

• Don’t overlook your emotional and mental health; get help if you need it to manage stress, anxiety, depression, or grief.





• Sleep could be the key to unlocking a healthier you. Amount and quality of sleep can influence your eating habits, mood, memory, and more.

• Proper rest allows you to recharge your batteries, so that you’re less likely to crave sugary, fatty foods that provide quick energy.

• How much rest you need is personal, but many people require about seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.

• Be more active, limit caffeine (especially before bed), and establish a bedtime routine to get on track to better sleep.

For more tips, tricks, and recipes, join the movement at​HealthyForGood.



Kale and Red Quinoa Soup, this page



About the Recipes


Understanding the Recipe Icons


We know there are days when you won’t have time to do much more than put some ingredients into your slow cooker and let it do its magic. For those hectic times, you’ll like that nearly half the recipes in this book require you to do only the usual prep—chopping onions, trimming the fat from the meat—before the slow cooking begins, and maybe do something equally simple during cooking or at the end, such as stirring the food once while it cooks or perhaps sprinkling the finished dish with lemon zest. That’s all—no browning onions, preparing dried beans, dry-roasting nuts, or boiling water for rice—to complete the dish. Look through the book for recipes identified with this icon when you want to put in minimal effort and get maximum results.

In some recipes, you’ll also notice the icon —— + —— in the ingredients list. You’ll need the ingredients above the symbol right away, but you’ll know not to set out the others—especially perishable items—yet. You won’t need those for hours, until after the slow cooking is complete.



Using the Nutritional Analyses


To help you plan meals and determine how a certain recipe fits into your overall diet, we have provided a nutrition analysis for each recipe in this book. The following guidelines give important details about how the analyses were calculated and products that were used in the recipes. We have made every effort to provide accurate information. Because of the many variables involved in analyzing foods, however, the serving sizes and nutritional values given should be considered approximate.

• Each analysis is for a single serving.

• Garnishes or optional ingredients are not included unless they significantly increase fat, sodium, cholesterol, or sugar content.

• Serving sizes are approximate.

• When more than one ingredient option is listed, the first one is analyzed. When a range of ingredients is given, the average is analyzed.

• Values other than fats are rounded to the nearest whole number. Fat values are rounded to the nearest half gram. Because of the rounding, values for saturated, trans, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats may not add up to the amount shown for total fat value.

• We specify canola, corn, and olive oils in these recipes, but you can also use other nontropical vegetable oils, such as safflower, soybean, and sunflower.

• Meats are analyzed as lean, with all visible fat discarded. Values for ground beef are based on extra-lean meat that is 95 percent fat-free.

• If meat, poultry, or seafood is marinated and the marinade is discarded, the analysis includes all of the sodium from the marinade but none of the other nutrients from it.

• If alcohol is used in a cooked dish, we estimate that most of the alcohol calories evaporate as the food cooks.

• If a recipe in this book calls for commercial products, wherever possible we use and analyze the ones without added salt (for example, no-salt-added canned beans) or with the least sodium available (for example, soy sauce). (In some cases, we call for no-salt-added and low-sodium products and add table salt sparingly for flavor. The result still has far less sodium than the full-sodium product would.) If only a regular commercial product is available, we use the one with the lowest sodium available.

• If this book includes a recipe that can be used in another recipe, for example, Chicken Broth on this page that can be used in Shrimp and Chicken Paella (this page), we use the data for our own version of broth, rather than a store-bought product, in the analysis and cross-reference the recipe.

• Because product labeling in the marketplace can vary and change quickly, we use the generic terms “fat-free” and “low-fat” throughout to avoid confusion.

• We use the abbreviations “g” for gram and “mg” for milligram throughout.



Appetizers, Snacks, and Beverages


Sun-Dried Tomato, Kalamata, and Tuna Tapenade

Pistachio and Pumpkin Seed Snack Mix

Baba Ghanoush

Curried Garlic-Bean Spread

Smoky Red Bell Pepper Hummus

Gingered Pear and Apricot Dip

Smoked Turkey Meatballs

Saucy Boneless Chicken “Wings”

Pork and Water Chestnut Mini Phyllo Tarts

Open-Face Empanadas

Artichoke-Spinach “Mini Wraps”

Crunchy Barbecue-Flavored Chickpeas

Cajun-Spiced Pecans

Cinnamon-Honey Peanuts

Hot Pomegranate-Cherry Cider

Mulled Pineapple-Citrus Punch

Warm and Spicy Tomato Punch

Chai Tea



Sun-Dried Tomato, Kalamata, and Tuna Tapenade


“Colorful,” “chunky,” and “pungent” describe this mightily flavored tapenade. Spread it on whole-grain Melba toast, thin slices of toasted whole-grain bread, or even slices of chilled boiled red potatoes.


SERVES 12; 3 tablespoons per serving


3- to 4½-quart | round or oval


3½ to 4 hours ON LOW, OR

1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours ON HIGH


Cooking spray

8 sun-dried tomato halves (about 1 ounce), cut into thin strips

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

¼ cup finely chopped onion (yellow preferred)

2 tablespoons water

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

—— + ——

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

12 kalamata olives, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin preferred)

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 ounces canned very low sodium albacore tuna, packed in water, rinsed in cold water, drained, and coarsely flaked



1. Lightly spray a 2-cup heatproof glass measuring cup with cooking spray. Put the sun-dried tomatoes, 1 cup grape tomatoes, the onion, water, and garlic in the measuring cup. Place the measuring cup in the slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low for 3½ to 4 hours or on high for 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours, or until the sun-dried tomatoes are very soft.

2. Carefully remove the measuring cup from the slow cooker. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish, such as a pie pan. To serve at room temperature, let stand for about 1 hour. To serve chilled, cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. The tapenade will thicken as it cools.

3. Just before serving, stir in the remaining ingredients except the tuna. Gently fold in the tuna.




Calories 65

Total Fat 4.5 g

Saturated Fat 0.5 g

Trans Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g

Monounsaturated Fat 3.0 g

Cholesterol 4 mg

Sodium 84 mg

Carbohydrates 5 g

Fiber 1 g

Sugars 2 g

Protein 3 g

Dietary Exchanges:


1 vegetable, 1 fat



Pistachio and Pumpkin Seed Snack Mix



Who doesn’t like a little something crunchy in the middle of the day? Keep a few single-serving bags of this snack mix in your desk drawer or pack some for a treat in a brown-bag lunch.


SERVES 12; ⅓ cup per serving


3- to 4½-quart | round or oval


2 hours ON LOW, OR

1 hour ON HIGH


Cooking spray

2 tablespoons canola or corn oil

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons yellow or Dijon mustard (lowest sodium available)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (lowest sodium available)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon garlic powder

⅛ teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne

3 cups wheat snack-mix-type cereal squares

½ cup unsalted shelled pistachios or slivered almonds

⅓ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds with shells

—— + ——

⅛ teaspoon salt



1. Lightly spray the slow cooker with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, paprika, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, garlic powder, and chipotle powder.

3. Put the cereal, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Add the oil mixture, stirring until well blended. Transfer to the slow cooker.

4. Cook, covered, on low for 2 hours, stirring every 40 minutes, or on high for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes, or just until the cereal is beginning to lightly brown.

5. Spread the mix in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the salt. Let stand for 2 hours (this is very important) so the flavors blend and the mix cools completely and “crisps up.” Store the cooled mix in an airtight container for up to two weeks.




Calories 127

Total Fat 6.5 g

Saturated Fat 1.0 g

Trans Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 2.0 g

Monounsaturated Fat 3.5 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 135 mg

Carbohydrates 15 g

Fiber 3 g

Sugars 2 g

Protein 4 g

Dietary Exchanges:

1 starch, 1 fat



Baba Ghanoush


When slow cooked, baba ghanoush (bah-bah gah-NOOSH) has a very mild flavor. If you want a hint of the smokiness of grilled or roasted eggplant, simply add a touch of smoked paprika to this Middle Eastern favorite. Serve it with toasted whole-grain pita wedges or crudités.

SERVES 10; ¼ cup per serving


3- to 4½-quart | round or oval


3 to 3½ hours ON LOW plus 3 to 3½ hours ON LOW


Cooking spray

2 pounds eggplant (Japanese preferred) peeled, seeded if using large varieties, and cut into 1-inch cubes

½ cup water

—— + ——

¼ cup fresh mint

2 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 medium garlic clove, chopped

½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

¼ teaspoon salt

Pomegranate seeds (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin preferred) (optional)



1. Lightly spray the slow cooker with cooking spray. Put the eggplant and water in the slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low for 3 to 3½ hours. Quickly stir once and re-cover the slow cooker. Cook for 3 to 3½ hours. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to a food processor or blender. Discard the cooking liquid.

2. Add the mint, tahini, lime juice, garlic, paprika, and salt to the eggplant. Process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve garnished with the pomegranate seeds and/or drizzled with the oil. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to two days.




Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. Look for it in the condiment or ethnic-food sections in the grocery store.




Calories 38

Total Fat 1.5 g

Saturated Fat 0.0 g

Trans Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 62 mg

Carbohydrates 5 g

Fiber 3 g

Sugars 2 g

Protein 1 g

Dietary Exchanges:

1 vegetable, ½ fat



PER SERVING (with optional ingredients)

Calories 50

Total Fat 3.0 g

Saturated Fat 0.5 g

Trans Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g

Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 62 mg

Carbohydrates 5 g

Fiber 3 g

Sugars 2 g

Protein 1 g

Dietary Exchanges:

1 vegetable, ½ fat



Curried Garlic-Bean Spread


Curry and garlic flavor this versatile bean mixture, which can be served warm or at room temperature as a spread on whole-grain crackers or as a dip with fresh vegetables. It’s also a great sandwich spread or filling for whole-grain pita pockets.

SERVES 12; ¼ cup per serving


1½- to 2½-quart | round or oval


4 to 6 hours ON LOW, OR

2 to 3 hours ON HIGH


1 cup dried Great Northern beans (about 8 ounces), sorted for stones and shriveled beans, rinsed, and drained

3 cups water

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1½ teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon pepper



1. Fill a small saucepan three-fourths full of water (not the 3 cups in the ingredients list). Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the beans. Return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the beans into a colander and rinse.

2. Pour the beans into the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Cook, covered, on low for 4 to 6 hours or on high for 2 to 3 hours, or until the beans are tender.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender. Process until almost smooth but retaining some texture. Transfer to a medium bowl. If serving at room temperature, let stand for 1 hour. To serve chilled, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The spread will keep well for up to three days in the refrigerator.




Calories 54

Total Fat 0.5 g

Saturated Fat 0.0 g

Trans Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 4 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g

Fiber 3 g

Sugars 1 g

Protein 3 g

Dietary Exchanges:

½ starch



Smoky Red Bell Pepper Hummus


Slow cooking the chickpeas results in extra creaminess, so we went ahead and called for cooking a pound of them, even though you need about a third of that for this Middle Eastern spread. Serve the hummus on whole-grain pita wedges or with crudités, then enjoy the bonus chickpeas in soups, stews, and green salads.

SERVES 8; ¼ cup per serving (plus 4½ cups chickpeas remaining)


3- to 4½-quart | round or oval


10 hours ON LOW


1 pound dried chickpeas, sorted for stones and shriveled chickpeas, rinsed, and drained

6 cups water

—— + ——

3 tablespoons sesame seeds, dry roasted

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fat-free plain Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon olive oil (extra virgin preferred), divided use

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 medium strips of lemon peel (each about 3 inches by ½ inch)

¼ to ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon salt

1 medium roasted red bell pepper, quartered, drained if bottled



1. Fill a large saucepan three-fourths full of water (not the 6 cups in the ingredients list). Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the chickpeas. Return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the chickpeas into a colander and rinse.

2. Pour the chickpeas into the slow cooker. Pour in the 6 cups water. Cook, covered, on low for 10 hours, adding more water if needed to keep the chickpeas covered. Be sure to quickly add the water and re-cover the slow cooker each time.

3. Measure out 2 cups of the cooked chickpeas for the hummus. Transfer the remaining 4½ cups to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to six months for other uses.

4. To prepare the hummus, process the sesame seeds in a food processor or blender for 30 seconds. Add, in order, the lemon juice, yogurt, remaining 3 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon oil, garlic, lemon peel, paprika, salt, 2 cups cooked chickpeas, and roasted pepper. Process until smooth. Serve warm or transfer to an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Just before serving, drizzle the hummus with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil.




Roasted Bell Peppers To prepare roasted bell peppers, preheat the broiler. Spray a broiler pan and rack with cooking spray. Broil the bell pepper on the broiler pan about 4 inches from the heat, turning until the pepper is charred all over. Put the pepper in a small bowl and let stand, covered, for at least 5 minutes. (It won’t hurt the pepper to sit for as long as 20 minutes.) Rinse the pepper with cold water, removing and discarding the blackened skin, ribs, seeds, and stem. Blot the pepper dry.

Dry-Roasting Seeds To dry-roast seeds, such as the sesame seeds here, put them in a single layer in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, or until the seeds darken and begin to pop, stirring frequently. Remove them from the skillet so they don’t burn.




Calories 109

Total Fat 4.5 g

Saturated Fat 0.5 g

Trans Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g

Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 80 mg

Carbohydrates 13 g

Fiber 4 g

Sugars 3 g

Protein 5 g

Dietary Exchanges:

1 starch, ½ very lean meat, ½ fat



Gingered Pear and Apricot Dip


You’re in for a real treat with this dip made of bits of pears swimming in a sweet apricot and fresh ginger sauce. Use banana or pear slices for dipping, or spoon the mixture onto baked sweet potatoes or winter squash.


SERVES 8; ¼ cup per serving


3- to 4½-quart | round or oval


3 to 3½ hours ON LOW


Cooking spray

2 medium, very firm (unripe) pears, peeled and diced

½ cup all-fruit apricot spread

—— + ——

1 teaspoon grated peeled gingerroot



1. Lightly spray a 2-cup heatproof glass measuring cup with cooking spray. Put the pears in the measuring cup. Spoon the fruit spread on top. Cook, covered, on low for 3 to 3½ hours, or until the pears are just tender.

2. Carefully remove the measuring cup from the slow cooker. Pour the dip into a shallow bowl. Let stand for 1 hour, or until room temperature. Stir in the gingerroot.




If you use ripe pears, the dip will be mushy rather than slightly chunky.




Calories 66

Total Fat 0.0 g

Saturated Fat 0.0 g

Trans Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 1 mg

Carbohydrates 17 g

Fiber 1 g

Sugars 12 g

Protein 0 g

Dietary Exchanges:

1 fruit



Smoked Turkey Meatballs


Shredded vegetables help moisten the lean ground turkey in these baby meatballs, which are cooked in a maple-sweetened barbecue-like sauce.

SERVES 12; 3 meatballs per serving


1½- to 2½-quart | round or oval


4 to 6 hours ON LOW, OR

2 to 3 hours ON HIGH



1 pound ground skinless turkey breast

½ cup shredded carrot

½ cup shredded zucchini

2 large shallots or ½ medium onion, minced

¼ cup plain panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 large garlic cloves, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 large egg white, lightly beaten with a fork


1 8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce

1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon smoked paprika


1 teaspoon canola or corn oil and 1 teaspoon canola or corn oil, divided use



1. In a large bowl, using your hands or a spoon, gently combine all the meatball ingredients except the egg white. Don’t overwork the mixture or it will become too compact and the meatballs will be heavy. Gently work in the egg white. Shape into 36 1-inch balls (about 1 tablespoon each). Place on a large baking sheet so they don’t touch. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes, or until chilled.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

3. When the meatballs have chilled, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook half the meatballs for 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned on all sides, adjusting the heat as necessary. Transfer to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and remaining meatballs.

4. Pour the tomato sauce mixture into the skillet. Bring to a boil on high, scraping to dislodge any browned bits. Pour over the meatballs. Cook, covered, on low for 4 to 6 hours or on high for 2 to 3 hours, or until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center.




To save time and keep meatballs uniform in size, use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to form them. For this recipe, try a #60 scoop; it holds about 1 tablespoon.




Calories 78

Total Fat 1.0 g

Saturated Fat 0.0 g

Trans Fat 0.0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g

Cholesterol 23 mg

Sodium 81 mg

Carbohydrates 6 g

Fiber 1 g

Sugars 3 g

Protein 10 g

Dietary Exchanges:

½ other carbohydrate, 1½ lean meat


A revised and updated second edition of American Heart Association’s beloved, bestselling Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook, now with 30 new recipes, 30 to 40 new photographs, and full-color throughout.

Now fully illustrated throughout with 30 to 40 new photographs, revised to meet current AHA guidelines, and refreshed with recipes like Chicken Pho, Pad Thai, Sweet Potato Chili, and Beef Vindaloo to satisfy today’s palate, this comprehensive cookbook offers information on the health benefits of slow cooking and how a slow cooker can help you eat well.
From appetizers to desserts and everything in between, the 230 recipes in American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook will surprise you with their variety and depth of flavor. The slow cooker, America’s favorite kitchen appliance, has become increasingly versatile and sophisticated, and here’s how it can support a heart-smart diet. Under the spell of its low heat, lean meats, whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits transform into succulent meals. This cookbook takes advantage of the ease for which the slow cooker is beloved and optimizes the nutrient density and flavors in these delicious, nutritious meals.
The best way to ensure good food comes out of your cooker is to put only good-for-you ingredients into it, and with American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook, you’ll learn how much your slow cooker can do for you while you’re enjoying a healthy lifestyle.


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