New York is a city with an overwhelming amount of food options.  This is the home of the cronut, the unicorn bagel, the sushi burrito and the artichoke pizza slice.

If you’ve dreamed of it, there’s probably a restaurant here that serves it.  It’s tempting to dine out or order takeout every night, but it’s also expensive.

I started using a slow cooker every week to craft delicious meals that were Zagat-worthy and required little effort.  My slow cooker also doubles as my oven since I don’t have one (ridiculous, I know).

If the thought of slaving over the stove every night sounds awful, consider the slow cooker as a meal prep alternative.  You can literally dump all the ingredients inside, let them cook for 6 hours and end up with the most delicious meal you’ve ever had.

Not to mention, you’ll have food for days. It’s cooking made easy—a foolproof solution for every guy (even if you’re the type who could burn water).  These are a few of my favorite slow cooker recipes that cross my dining room table at least once every week.

Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies

healthy recipe

(Source: Damn Delicious)

The best parts of this recipe?  It’s ridiculously easy, requires only a few ingredients and tastes like savory heaven.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Main Dish

-8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on

(Note: If the thought of chicken fat scares you, this recipe works just as well with boneless, skinless chicken breast)

-16 ounces baby red or sweet potatoes

-16 ounces green beans

-2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

The Sauce

-1/2 cup soy sauce (try for reduced sodium)

-1/2 cup honey

-1/4 cup ketchup

-2 cloves of minced garlic

-1 tsp dried basil

-1/2 tsp dried oregano

-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

-1/4 tsp ground black pepper

 

To make the sauce, add everything from the second set of ingredients into a large bowl and mix them together until everything is completely dissolved.

Place the thighs, potatoes and carrots into the slow cooker.

Then, pour the sauce over everything to evenly coat the contents.  You’ll notice that the sauce doesn’t fill the slow cooker dish.  Don’t worry—it will.

Cook this mixture on low heat for 7-8 hours (or high for 3-4 if you’re pressed for time).  Be sure to baste it once per hour and add in the green beans about an hour before dinner time.

Garnish with the parsley and serve.

Tilapia with Garlic Cheese Sauce

(Source: Eat at Home)

This recipe is even easier and requires less ingredients but offers flavor that’s just as rich.  You’ll need the following ingredients:

-3-4 tilapia filets

-1/4 cup mayonnaise

-1/2 cup shredded cheese (The source recipe calls for cheddar or parmesan but for all you Paleo Diet devotees, pecorino Romano works great.)

-5 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice

-4 cloves of minced garlic

-salt and pepper

 

Mix all the ingredients (with the exception of the fish) together in a medium-sized bowl.

Place the filets in individual aluminum foil packets.  Evenly distribute your garlic cheese sauce over each filet until your bowl is empty.

Close your foil packets securely and place them at the bottom of the crock pot.  Cook them on low for up to 4 hours.

Use a fork to flake the fish and test for doneness before removing them.  That’s it!

 

Kimchi Chicken

(Source: Stuff I Make My Husband)

Kimchi is one of the best probiotics on the market that isn’t a pill or a yogurt.  It’s a staple food in many Asian countries and promotes excellent gut health.

This chicken dish is savory and a bit spicy (depending on the type of kimchi you use), but it’s also finger-licking good.  You’ll need:

-1 cup of chicken broth

-4 sliced scallions

-6 minced garlic cloves

-1 tbsp soy sauce

-2 tsp sugar

-1 tbsp dark sesame oil

-1 tsp minced ginger

-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (Again, chicken breast works here as well.)

-2 cups drained kimchi

 

You’ll pour everything into the slow cooker save for the scallion greens, chicken thighs and kimchi.  Once the other ingredients are all in, place the thighs in the slow cooker and spoon some of the mixture over the meat.  Let this cook on the low setting for 4 hours.

At the 4-hour mark, add in the kimchi, turn the setting to high and let it cook for 20 additional minutes.  Depending on your chicken or your slow cooker, you may need to cook this dish for closer to 6 hours before adding the kimchi.

After the last 20 minutes, sprinkle the chicken with scallion greens and serve.

The last two dishes can be served with any combination of sides including mixed vegetables, salads, rice or quinoa.

A slow cooker can turn even the worst cook into a top-tier chef.  If you’re in need of a way to make healthy meals that last all week, turn off that oven (if you have one) and plug in the slow cooker.