5 Creative Ways to Use Your Slow Cooker

Crock-pot-slow-cooker-6_6lYour slow cooker is good for more than just soups and stews! I’m Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien, and I’m here with five slow-cooker hacks that will change the way you look at your Crock Pot…

Spaghetti squash is the ultimate low-calorie pasta swap (you can have three cups of the stuff for just about 125 calories), but the process of turning the gourd into spaghetti-like noodles can be intimidating. Not to worry — a slow cooker makes it MUCH easier! All you have to do is put a whole spaghetti squash in your slow cooker with half a cup of water, and cook it on high for 2 1/2 hours. By the time the squash comes out, it’ll be tender enough to slice in half lengthwise and easily scoop out the seeds.

The only thing better than tacos are guilt-free tacos that practically make themselves…

Shredded pork: By combining decadent pork shoulder with lean pork tenderloin, you get a delicious dish that’s surprisingly low in calories. When you shred the meat after it’s cooked, the flavors all blend together. Click here for the full recipe!

Ground beef: Extra-lean ground beef is low in fat, and adding chopped veggies amps up the portion size.

This filling is great on crispy corn taco shells, or you can wrap it in lettuce leaves for a low-carb fiesta!

Slow cookers aren’t just for main dishes. One of my all-time favorite ways to use a slow cooker is to make desserts. This recipe for deconstructed apple pie has just 137 calories per serving – pretty reasonable for a bowl of ooey-gooey fruit deliciousness topped with whipped cream. If you’re more of a peach person, check out this recipe for scalloped peaches. The best part is that the peaches only take an hour and a half in the slow cooker before they’re cooked to perfection.

Turn on the slow cooker when you get home from work, and dessert will be ready after dinner!

I can’t talk about slow cookers without mentioning this life-changing Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. The recipe mixes macaroni with cauliflower florets and butternut squash to maximize your serving size — you get a cup and a half for 255 calories… How many other mac and cheese recipes can say that? In the mood for something heartier? Check out this recipe for slow-cooker cheeseburger macaroni and cheese.

One of my favorite ways to slash carbs from sandwiches is to ditch the bread and wrap the filling with a cooked cabbage leaf. The problem: It’s nearly impossibly to remove an entire leaf from a raw cabbage and keep it intact. The solution: Your slow cooker! Place half a head of green cabbage in a slow cooker with 2 cups of water, then cook on high for 2 ½ hours. When the time is up, you’ll be able to easily remove the leaves and wrap ‘em around your favorite sandwich fillings.