Crazy schedules, long work hours, and tempting takeout menus make it tough to even think about cooking most nights during the week. Despite the inconvenience, firing up the stove or oven is almost always cheaper and healthier than ordering in or eating out. How about a compromise? Making dinner with a slow cooker — Crock-Pot is the go-to brand in the U.S. — is an easy way to get in all those vitamins and minerals without slaving over a hot stove for hours at a time. Most of these recipes involve mixing up ingredients and popping them into a slow cooker for a prescribed number of hours. Save even more time by starting some of these dishes overnight or first thing in the morning and reaping the delicious, healthy benefits later in the day.
1. Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Tart apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and walnuts — what’s not to love? Start this recipe the night before and wake up to a delicious-smelling house and a hot, healthy breakfast.
2. Banana Bread Quinoa Why not begin the day with a protein-rich superfood like quinoa? This recipe highlights why people love slow-cookers: Just dump the ingredients into a Crockpot and let them hang out together for a few hours. Insta-breakfast.
3. Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos This vegetarian burrito filling includes loads of vegetables, beans, and eggs. Cook vegetables, spices, and beans together in the slow cooker overnight. Stuff tortillas with the filling and fresh scrambled eggs in the morning.
4. Greek Yogurt Making yogurt from scratch is takes some time, but it’s hands-off with a slow cooker and it’s much cheaper than buying it at the supermarket. Heat milk for about two hours using the high setting of the slow cooker. Unplug the slow cooker and let the milk cool a bit and then mix in ½ cup of store-bought plain yogurt. Wrap the still-warm (but unplugged!) slow cooker in a towel and let it sit out overnight. Once you have a batch of regular plain yogurt, go Greek by straining through a few layers of cheesecloth lining a colander. Let the mixture strain in the fridge overnight, and wake up to an extra thick and creamy bowl of Greek yogurt!
5. Baked Apples This healthy treat is usually served after dinner, but it works just as well in the morning. Add a spoonful of Greek yogurt on top for a hit of protein to keep moving all morning.
6. Pork Breakfast Burritos For the meat eaters out there, here’s an easy pork-based burrito filling that can be made overnight. Choose lean meat to make this spicy filling as healthy as possible. Add in some fresh avocado or spinach for good measure.
7. Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Risotto Forget the constant stirring and standing at the stove. This risotto recipe is super user-friendly. Add the ingredients to a slow cooker and set it on high heat for three to five hours, or low heat for six hours. Cut down (or out) the butter and use skim milk to make the recipe even healthier. See 70 more here! 77 Healthy Crock-Pot Recipes | Greatist.