A Romantic Slow Cooker Recipe (Yes, Really!) – Orange & Sugar Snap Beef

Crock Pot Sugar Snap & Orange Beef

I have the perfect dish for you to whip up for your sweetie for Valentine’s Day – my recipe for Slow-Cooker Orange and Sugar Snap Pea Beef! It’s a little sweet, a little spicy and very healthy for your honey. Ladies, they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and, by the way my husband gobbled this healthy dinner, I’d say this Asian-inspired dinner was a winner. And, men, if you’re looking for a way to impress that someone special, I just want you to know that women think it’s super sexy when guys self-initiate cooking and cleaning up in the kitchen – this crockpot recipe is insanely easy to make and has virtually no clean-up.

February isn’t just about “hearts” in a romantic way; speaking cardiovascularly, it’s also National Heart Month!  I like to use the month of February to “check-in” with my health and show love to my heart with healthy changes in diet and exercise – and renew any of my New Year’s resolutions that have started to slip away! Little changes in the foods you consume, like increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables on your plate and reducing salty, sugary snacks, can add up to big benefits in terms of your overall health. Eating lean protein is important, too! A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from Penn State University found that people who participated in the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet (BOLD) study, consuming about 3 to 5 ounces of lean beef daily as part of a heart-healthy diet, experienced a 10 percent decline in LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Asian Orange Beef in Slow Cooker

My recipe for Slow-Cooker Orange and Sugar Snap Pea Beef is the perfect way to put your lean protein plan into motion – plus you get some fruits and veggies to boot! Who knows, you may even reduce your bad cholesterol if you follow the protocols of the BOLD study – I’m happy to share lots of healthy beef recipes with you including Sirloin Cobb Kebabs and Spice Crusted Tenderloin Steaks.  Just search the word “beef” in my recipe collection to find more!

SLow Cooker Ingredients

Slow-Cooker Orange and Sugar Snap Pea Beef Recipe 

  • 2 lb. beef chuck shoulder steak – trimmed and sliced into 2” strips
  • 1/2 cup Litehouse Food’s Tangy Orange Dressing & Marinade *
  • 2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Sriracha Chile Pepper Sauce (found on Asian food aisle)
  • 1 Tbsp. Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh Ginger
  • 1 Tbsp, Litehouse Food’s Instantly Fresh Garlic
  • 1 large onion cut very coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 6-oz can mandarin oranges that have been drained (or may use fresh)
  • 1 (8-oz) package sugar snap peas
  1. Add beef, dressing, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, Sriracha and onion to 3-qt or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours until beef is tender.
  2. Turn to high. Remove ½ cup of liquid and stir in cornstarch until dissolved. Stir this mixture back into slow cooker. Add sugar snap peas and oranges; cover and cook on high 10 minutes until peas are crisp-tender.
  3. Serve over brown rice with sauce from slow cooker.

*If you can’t find the dressing in your market, you can order it online at LitehouseFoods.com or substitute ½ cup fresh orange juice

 

My Hectic yet Healthy Life {Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Recipe } #Greenling

Once again, actually make that twice again, Greenling has saved dinner this week and kept me from hauling the kids through the drive through.  Oodles of work obligations in addition to all of our sports and extra-curricular schedules have kept us busier than a cat in a bag with two dogs. Or, as a friend likes to put it, keeping up with the Fishers is like trying to take only a sip of water out of a fire hose.  I guess we’re an all-over-the-place, in-your-face, deluge of doers, but I’ll take this super-charged, super-eventful season of my life over being bored any day.

I made Chicken Cacciatore in 5 minutes -- kinda, sorta!

I made Chicken Cacciatore in 5 minutes — kinda, sorta!

But all this activity makes getting dinner prepared more difficult. It requires advance planning and stopping by the store, which sometimes – to be honest – is not how I want to spend my few free minutes of the day. Enter Greenling.com, an organic and locally-sourced produce and grocery service that offers free delivery right to your doorstep (in coolers so you don’t even have to be home).  I love the idea of feeding my family foods grown by mom and pop farms right here in the Central Texas area – and saving the time, hassle and gas money of going to the market.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - local box

Local Box from Greeling.com changes every week depending on what’s in season at nearby organic farms.

I’ve ordered their local box of organic produce and it was fabulous – delivered right to my door step and with a card of recipe ideas (thank goodness, because I had no idea what to do with turnips).  Knowing how busy we were this week, I picked a family-sized meal from their wide selection of recipe kits.  They have a nice assortment of healthy, family-friendly options including Beef Tacos, Slow Cooker Lasagna and Sesame Chicken.  While Asian Lettuce Wraps and the Kale Portobello Stuffed Mushrooms have been tried-and-true winners, I decided to go for something new and settled on Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore featuring cremini mushrooms, squash, tomato and peppers and fresh, locally-made linguine pasta.

My recipe kit from Greenling.com included already-prepped ingredients for Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore!

My recipe kit from Greenling.com included already-prepped ingredients for Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore!

Literally, it took five minutes for me to take the lids off these pre-prepped vegetables, spices and sauce and get it going in the crock pot. Soon after, I left for a trip to the gym, school pick-ups, dentist appointments and football practice. The kids were starving by the time we walked in the door, we could smell the yumminess and all I had left to do was boil the fresh pasta noodles that were included with the recipe kit.

Chicken Cacciatore cooking for four hours in crockpot while I'm out having fun!

Chicken Cacciatore cooking for four hours in crockpot while I’m out having fun!

I would have paired the Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore with the large grab-and-go Kale Waldorf Salad I ordered, but oops – we ate that two nights ago when we unexpectedly scored tickets to a college football game and had to come up with dinner in a snap. Instead of serving the salad as a side dish, I added some feta cheese crumbles, a little more lettuce to stretch it, and some pre-grilled chicken I had in the freezer.  Literally, it was a meal made in 3 minutes!

grab and go greenling kale waldorf collage

Are you ready to fire up your slow cooker and make meals while you’re out doing things that are much more fun  – like running, CrossFitting and watching your kids play football or toot a trombone?  Check out Greenling.com and order a recipe kit – they have locations in all the big Texas cities. If you’re not from ’round these parts, so sorry. But, I’ve rattled off my interpretation of the recipe below – it’s still easy to make, there’s just a lot more chopping!

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb organic chicken breast
  • 4 cups squash (zucchini, summer or a mix), cut in ½” chunks
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 12 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more if you like spicy)
  • 12 oz fresh pasta of choice

Place onion in the bottom of a large (6 quart) slow cooker; lay chicken on top of onion and then toss in squash and mushrooms.

In a mixing bowl, add chicken stock. Add in tomato paste, bell pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and stir until blended. Pour tomato mixture over chicken and vegetables in slow cooker.

Set the slow cooker to high and cook 3-4 hours until chicken pulls apart easily with a fork.

Before serving, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Add pasta and cook to manufacturer’s directions.

Drain pasta and serve chicken cacciatore over pasta.

Serves 6.