How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker

How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker
How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker. A healthy real life, real food recipe. Paleo, Whole 30 and 21DSD compliant too!

Do you get tired of fussy slow cooker recipes? You know the ones. First you saute, then you brown, then you slow cook?

Sometimes those recipes don’t feel like short cut recipes. Not to mention, you have extra dishes you then have to clean.

When you make Ropa Vieja in the slow cooker, it really is as easy as dumping in the ingredients and setting the slow cooker on low. Then, it cooks all day. A full 8 hours all day. It’s the kind of recipe you can set and forget.

How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker. A healthy real life, real food recipe. Paleo, Whole 30 and 21DSD compliant too!

If you’ve never had Ropa Vieja before, it is a Cuban recipe where a cut of beef is stewed in a tangy tomato sauce then topped with salty green olives.

This is not a time to skimp on the olives. Head to the olive bar and get good quality ones. You don’t need much, and a good quality olive will make this recipe.

Due to the long cooking time, the flank steak used in this recipe becomes unbelievably tender and is easily shredded with two forks.

You’ll find this recipe is perfect if you follow a paleo, whole 30 or sugar detox diet.

How to Make Ropa Vieja in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 15 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon organic tomato paste
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon organic pure cane sugar (optional)
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • 3 pound flank steak
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced green olives
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. In the bottom of the slow cooker, combine the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, green pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano, and sugar. Stir to create a sauce.
  2. Lay flank steak on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Remove steak from slow cooker. Add apple cider vinegar and olives to the sauce and stir.
  5. Shred steak with two forks. Return to the slow cooker and toss with the sauce before serving.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/make-ropa-vieja-slow-cooker/

If you are, or you know of, a working mom who needs healthy, satisfying, and easy to make recipes, (or maybe that describes you!) please share this recipe with them.

Have you tried Ropa Vieja before?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

How to Make Healthy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Once you learn how to make healthy slow cooker shredded chicken, your weekly meal prep becomes a snap!
How to Make Healthy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Once a month I get together with a group of friends for our Cooking Club.

Last month we were having a delicious Cinco De Mayo meal when the subject of shredded chicken came up. I was so surprised that only one of my friends knew this trick for shredded chicken.

Since this is one of my go-to ways to prep food for the week, I had to share how to make healthy slow cooker shredded chicken.

This simple recipe is a game changer when it comes to weekly dinner prep.

You’re going to start with 6 to 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts. However, if you are on a budget, you may substitute 10 to 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs. (If you are on a super tight budget, definitely check out How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that!)

Add the chicken to the bottom of your slow cooker.

How to make healthy shredded chicken in the slow cooker.

Next, you’ll season your meat. Salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder are all you need.

How to make juicy and healthy slow cooker shredded chicken.

Finally, you are going to pour over about a half cup of chicken broth. It’s not a lot of liquid but it is the secret to juicy chicken. Set your cooker on low and cook for 8 hours.

Then, this is where the magic happens.
While still hot, transfer your chicken to the work bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat at the lowest speed for just a few seconds.

WALLA!!! Shredded chicken!!!

How to use your mixer to shred chicken.

Now, if you don’t have a mixer with a paddle attachment, this chicken is sooooo tender you can easily shred it with two forks. In fact, it is so tender, it is falling apart when I transfer it from the slow cooker to the mixer. I really just use the mixer because it’s ultra easy.

How to Make Healthy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Ingredients

  • 6 - 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Add chicken breasts to slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with seasoning. Pour in chicken broth.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Shred meat with two forks OR while chicken is still hot, add to the work bowl of a mixer. Using the paddle attachment, turn mixer on low until chicken is shredded.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/make-healthy-slow-cooker-shredded-chicken/

This makes a ton of shredded chicken.

Make this on a Sunday. Then, plan out two or three meals for the week that call for cooked chicken. Freeze the rest. The next Sunday, pull the frozen shredded chicken out of the freezer and use it for 2 or 3 meals during that next week.

One day of cooking (and really, is having something in the slow cooker “cooking”?) and you’ve got 2 weeks worth of shredded chicken ready to quickly and easily whip up healthy meals!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

A Healthier Mississippi Pot Roast Slow Cooker Recipe

Treat your family to a healthier Mississippi pot roast. Equally as flavorful, equally as easy. 

A healthier variation of the popular Mississippi Pot Roast slow cooker recipe. Equally as flavorful, equally as easy as the original.

I was gabbing with some friends recently when one of them mentioned she was watching a morning show and they featured a recipe for something called Mississippi Roast. I came right home and looked up the recipe.

We love a good slow cooker recipe in our house. But when I saw the ingredients for Mississippi Roast, I knew I wouldn’t serve it to my family.

An Au Jus packet contains caramel color, corn syrup solids, and sodium carboxymethycellulose. In other words, it has a known carcinogen, a sweetener more deadly than sugar, and a potential carcinogen.

I don’t use Au Jus packets, and I’m not about to start.

The dilemma became: What could I use to create a healthier version of Mississippi Roast without completely reinventing it?

The recipe needed to stay simple to make. I wanted a recipe that was completely add-it-and-go just like the original.

Here’s what I did:

While I am a firm believer that butter makes things better, a boneless chuck arm roast has enough fat to add succulent flavor to a finished roast. So I decided to swap the butter for beef broth.

A healthier variation of the popular Mississippi Pot Roast crockpot recipe. Equally as flavorful, equally as easy as the original.

Trust me. You won’t miss the butter.

That brings us to the pepperoncini peppers. I’ll eat almost anything if it has pepperoncinis on it.

What I won’t eat is yellow dye and sulfites. As a result, I only buy the Divina brand of pepperoncinis you can find at Whole Foods Market. I must warn you, this brand has a bit more “kick” than the other brands.

The original recipe calls for only 5 peppers. Ummmm. I added the whole jar along with the juice.

Did I regret it? Not. One. Bit.

A healthier variation of the popular Mississippi Pot Roast. Equally as flavorful, equally as easy as the original.

The last ingredient in the original recipe is a packet of ranch dressing.

I adore ranch. If I could marry ranch, I would.

Therefore, I went with a Simply Organic Ranch Dip packet.

A healthier variation of the popular Mississippi Pot Roast crockpot recipe. Equally as flavorful, equally as easy as the original.

The only ingredient you may not recognize in the Simply Organic Ranch Dip packet is Xanthan Gum. As you can read, it’s considered safe.

Once I had sprinkled the ranch over the roast, I put the lid on my trusty crockpot, set it on low, and let me tell you, the resulting roast did not disappoint.

A healthier variation of the popular Mississippi Pot Roast slow cooker recipe. Equally as flavorful, equally as easy as the original.

A Healthier Mississippi Pot Roast Slow Cooker Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 jar pepperoncini peppers
  • 1 packet Simply Organic Ranch Dip
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 boneless chuck roast

Instructions

  1. Place the chuck roast in the slow cooker.
  2. Add the beef broth. Top roast with as many pepperoncini peppers/juice as your family will enjoy. Sprinkle the ranch dip directly onto the roast.
  3. Place lid on slow cooker, set to low, and cook 8 hours.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/healthier-mississippi-pot-roast-slow-cooker-recipe/

You could opt to remove the roast from the juices and slice it. Or, you could use two forks and shred the meat.

A healthier variation of the popular Mississippi Pot Roast slow cooker recipe. Equally as flavorful, equally as easy as the original.

This recipe is so easy, I plan to make it any time chuck roasts go on sale. I can’t wait to turn the leftovers into sandwiches. Or maybe I’ll top a baked potato. I might even have enough to freeze for a future meal.

Try this healthier Mississippi pot roast and let me know what you think!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

DIY Quick Flank Steak Rub

No need to purchase a pre-made flank steak rub. This DIY Quick Flank Steak Rub is better than anything you’ll find at the grocery store.

No need to purchase a flank steak rub. Quickly whip up a homemade rub full of flavor.

I could be a vegetarian if it weren’t for steak.

Seriously. I love a great steak.

We tend to always buy flank steaks because they are a cheaper cut but will still turn out tender when grilled.

My favorite way to season a flank steak is with a dry rub you can easily whip up in your own kitchen.

No need to purchase a flank steak rub. Quickly whip up a homemade rub full of flavor.

All you need to do is measure out a few spices, mix, and sprinkle over the steak.

No need to purchase a flank steak rub. Quickly whip up a homemade rub full of flavor.

Then, you’ll need to get your hands dirty. It is important to actually rub the seasonings into the steak. You want to press the rub down into any nooks and crannies to fully impart the flavors. This is not my favorite part, but it is essential to getting the best flavor.

No need to purchase a flank steak rub. Quickly whip up a homemade rub full of flavor.

In this recipe I use organic coconut sugar. I prefer the taste (and the health factor) over brown sugar. However, if what you have is brown sugar, use it.

I actually like to grill and won’t cook my steaks any other way. I time my flank steaks for 6 minutes per side on a medium high grill and it turns out medium rare every time.

Andrea The Greenbacks Gal grilling

I think you’ll find that you have all of the spices used to create this rub in your cupboard right now.

DIY Quick Flank Steak Rub

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/diy-quick-flank-steak-rub/

This recipe makes enough flank steak rub for 2 to 3 steaks. Store whatever you don’t use in a jar with a tightly fitting lid.

While your steak is on the grill, can I recommend a side of grilled zucchini?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken and 20 Recipes That Use Cooked Chicken

How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken

I remember the first time I cooked a whole chicken. I was totally intimidated.

Newly engaged, I decided to take a cooking class through the Parks and Recreation department in our town.

Up to this point, I had only cooked tenders or breasts. I hadn’t even branched out into thighs and drumsticks.

Organic Whole Chicken

A whole chicken just looked so big and complicated.

Not to mention it looks like a chicken! None of that sterile parts on a styrofoam tray stuff.

I quickly learned it is not hard at all. And it’s one of the most economical ways to buy chicken. You pay far less per pound than you do the individual parts.

The main objection most people have is dealing with the insides. While not my favorite part, it’s just a matter of removing them. Quick and easy.

Once they are out, you need to rinse your chicken well and pat it dry. It’s then ready for you to smooth on all the spices.

Chicken ready for basting

This slow cooker recipe really does make cooking a whole chicken easy. All you need is the chicken, a lemon, olive oil and some spices.

You don’t even need to add liquid to the slow cooker!

The meat will turn out fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy every single time with very little effort on your part.

How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 pound organic whole roasting chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Remove the giblets packet from the chicken cavity.
  2. Rinse and drain chicken, pat dry.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper into cavity of chicken. Cut lemon in half. Squeeze juice into chicken cavity then stuff lemon halves into cavity.
  4. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Rub mixture all over chicken.
  5. Place chicken in 4 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Chicken is fully cooked when meat thermometer stuck in leg reaches 160 degrees.
  6. Allow to cool. Remove chicken from bones and chop.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/how-to-slow-cook-a-whole-chicken/

When you follow this recipe to slow cook a whole chicken, you will end up with about 4 1/2 cups of moist, juicy and flavorful cooked chicken.


Use your cooked chicken to jump start your meal plan for the week. Having cooked chicken ready to go means you can have a meal on the table in a minimal amount of time!

20 Recipes That Use Cooked Chicken

Chicken Fried Rice
Pumpkin Black Bean Chicken Chili
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas
Chicken Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
Easy Chicken Salad
Skillet White Chicken Chili Dip
Chicken Pot Pie
Green Chile Chicken Casserole
Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
Pineapple and Basil Chicken Salad
Chef’s Salad
Thai Chicken Soup
Olive Garden Style Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
Easy Homemade Chicken Alfredo Sauce
Cuban Chicken Tacos
Real Food Chicken Soup
Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

Have a recipe that uses cooked chicken? Leave a link in the comments!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Sweet and Smoky Jalapeno Slow Cooker Pork Ribs

Slow Cooker Sweet and Smoky Jalapeno Pork Ribs

Just wait until you see how easy this slow cooker pork ribs recipe is!

Layer, stir, set and forget. Dinner is ready in 6 hours. Your family raves. You never broke a seat and yet you are the dinner hero.

Sweet and Smoky Jalapeno Ribs Ingredients

I purchased all these ingredients at Trader Joe’s. And yes, there are some prepackaged foods in here.

Trader Joe’s declares they use non GMO ingredients and no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors. If I’m going to use a prepackaged ingredient, I feel good about buying it from there.

Besides, the sauce this recipe makes from the steak sauce-jalapeno jelly is ridiculously good. The sweet of the jalapeno jelly perfectly compliments the smoky of the steak sauce.

Perfectly suited to slow cooking, country pork ribs also happen to be a really inexpensive cut of meat. Little prep time and easy on the budget are a winning combination.

For those who have a fear of fat, you can broil the ribs for a few minutes on each side to cook some of the fat off before adding them to the slow cooker.

The way I look at it, broiling the ribs first just creates one more pan I really don’t want to wash.

Layer of Pinto Beans

I’m recommending you heat the steak sauce and jalapeno jelly together before you pour over the pork ribs. Heating the jelly makes it easier to pour.

Sweet and Smoky Jalapeno Pork Ribs Sauce

Once your sauce is smooth enough, pour it over your ribs. Set the slow cooker and go about your day!

Sweet and Smoky Jalapeno Pork Ribs in the Slow Cooker

Sweet and Smoky Jalapeno Slow Cooker Pork Ribs

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds pork ribs
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jar jalapeno pepper jelly
  • 1 bottle smoky steak sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos

Instructions

  1. In the bottom of a slow cooker, add the pinto beans, onions and the optional pickled jalapenos.
  2. Place pork ribs on top of beans. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the jelly and steak sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until the jelly melts.
  4. Pour the jelly mixture over the pork ribs.
  5. Place lid on slow cooker. Cook ribs on high for 5 1/2 to 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours.
  6. There will be a lot of liquid at the end of the cook time. Use a slotted spoon to serve.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/sweet-and-smoky-jalapeno-slow-cooker-pork-ribs/

Trust me. You’ll want to serve this recipe with some whole wheat rolls to sop up all the extra sauce on your plate. It’s simply delicious!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Mexican Meatloaf Cupcakes with Guacamole Frosting (Paleo and Sugar Detox)

Mexican Meatloaf Cupcakes and Guacamole Frosting Recipe

The versatility of these Mexican Meatloaf Cupcakes with Guacamole Frosting is what I love best about this recipe.

Other than the taste, that is. What I really love is the taste!

Things to love about this recipe:

First, the recipe as it stands makes 15 cupcakes. If you have little eaters in your house, then you have plenty to freeze.

To Freeze Cupcakes: After baking, allow to cool. Place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour before transferring to a freezer safe container.

To Bake Cupcakes From Frozen: No need to thaw. Add an additional 10 minutes to cooking time. Internal temperature should get to 165 in the center.

Next, the way this recipe is written, it is Paleo, Grain-Free, and 21 Day Sugar Detox Friendly. If you eat grains, you could easily add one and a half cups of breadcrumbs, or even quinoa, to the mixture and stretch the number of cupcakes you get from 15 to 18 – 20. This definitely gives you plenty to freeze!

Finally, the fact these are cupcake sized instead of bread pan sized means they cook up in half the time. Such a great way to get dinner on the table fast!

Guacamole topped anything makes me happy. Quickly topping something with guacamole makes me even happier.

I used a store bought guacamole for my cupcakes. Again, this is a time saver for me. If you have ripe avocados, by all means make up a batch of homemade guacamole. However, sometimes ripeness and the desire to cook a recipe don’t always coincide.

Mexican Meatloaf Cupcakes with Guacamole Frosting

Mexican Meatloaf Cupcakes with Guacamole Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 4.5 ounce can diced green chiles
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 red pepper, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Guacamole (homemade or store-bought)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease muffin pans.
  2. In a skillet, saute onions and garlic until translucent. Allow to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mix tomato paste with chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in carrots, red pepper and chiles.
  5. Add beaten eggs and ground beef. Mix well with your hands.
  6. Evenly divide beef mixture between 15 muffin cups.
  7. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165.
  8. Once baked, remove from oven and top with guacamole. You can pipe it to make it look like frosting, or you can just dollop it, depending on your time.
http://thegreenbacksgal.com/mexican-meatloaf-cupcakes-with-guacamole-frosting-paleo-and-sugar-detox/

Have you made meatloaf cupcakes before?

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

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