Crockpot Cooking: Appetizers and Snacks

Crockpot Cooking: Appetizers and Snacks will assist in preparing healthier food for one’s family and friends for those special occasions.  When events like game playoffs, holidays, and other festive events occur everyone is quick to order restaurant take-outs, pre-cooked, or over-processed foods from the supermarket.  Why not fix a healthy meal at home for such special events? Many individuals will answer this question with reasons like, “too much of a hassle, don’t have time, or that it would not taste as good.” 

However, there are many resources now that can assist you in eating well while transforming favorite foods into healthier snacks that are beneficial to the entire family.  Utilizing a crock pot slow cooker is one appliance that can lend a hand in preparing good finger foods for appetizers and snacks with little effort.

Finger Foods

 Photo courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/reynolds.james.e
Photo courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/reynolds.james.e

Benefits of Preparing Home-cooked Appetizers and Snacks

Today’s fast-paced culture can make preparing healthy meals and or snacks seem daunting and overwhelming. Everyone wants a “quick-and-easy” way of life which entails fast-food restaurants, packaged meals, and or microwave cooking. While all of these quick and easy methods are o.k. for an occasional snack or meal, it should not be the family’s regular routine.

  • An individual can most likely reduce 1/3 to ½ of one’s sodium intake by reducing the number of fast food and packaged meals one eats.
  • Such action in turn will help to reduce health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, and weight loss.
  • One can regain control of what is being served to your family by taking a few minutes to prepare a quick, healthy appetizer or snack at home
  • This will help to save money to add back into the family budget.
  • Also can assist one in restoring one’s sense of aromas, taste of flavors, sight of colors, sound of cooking, and feel of textures; about the home, which aides in giving one a sense of well-being and less stress.

If, the above health benefits are not enough to get you enthusiastic about preparing healthy finger foods maybe these quick and easy crock pot recipes will. Many of these recipes can be prepared the morning of the game or event; while others could be prepared during the playoffs and ready to eat at half time.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Photo courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/sanctumsolitude
Photo courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/sanctumsolitude

Crockpot Cooking: Appetizers and Snacks

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 10 0z bag of frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed and well drained
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and chopped (13 oz size)

2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (softened)

¾ cup half and half milk

1 tbs. onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic minced

1/4 teaspoon pepper
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Instructions - Combine the cream cheese and half and half in a bowl until well blended. In a 2 to 4 quart slow cooker add remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour mixture into a crock pot slow cooker. Cover, cook on High for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until nice and warm. This will make about 2 ½ cups of dip.

Alternatives - O.k. I can hear the health nutritionists screaming that’s not a healthy snack; however, keep in mind, when cooking at home you get to control the ingredients you put into a snack or a meal. For example, in another version of this spinach and artichoke recipe, the half and half milk could be replaced with a ½ cup of refrigerated Alfredo sauce, and packages of cream cheese could be replaced with a ½ cup of lite mayonnaise or the new olive oil mayonnaise. And Monterey Jack cheese could be substituted with 4 ounces of shredded Swiss cheese.

And I’m sure there are even lighter versions of this snack, however the purpose of this hub is to help one see that a crock pot slow cooker can assist in replacing some of those fast food take-outs that are usually served at special events. Just keep in mind that you are in control and you know exactly which ingredients have been placed in the meal.

Chicken Wings in BBQ Sauce

Photo courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/rick
Photo courtesy of: flickr.com/photos/rick

Chicken Wings in BBQ Sauce

3 lbs. chicken wings (about 16 wings) lightly salt and pepper to taste

1 ½ cups barbecue sauce

¼ cups honey

2 tsp. prepared mustard

2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

Tabasco Sauce to taste

Instructions - Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Cut off and discard wing tips.  Cut each wing at the joint to make two sections.  Sprinkle the wings with salt and pepper and place in a broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches away from heat for 20 minutes turning over once during the middle of broiling. Transfer the chicken to the Crock-Pot slow cooker. 

The sauce - Combine store bought barbecue sauce or can be homemade, honey, mustard, Worchestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce into a mixing bowl. Pour over chicken wings into a 3 to 6 quart slow cooker, cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 5 hours or on High for 2 to 2 ½ hours.   Or if cutting up wings does not appeal to you, then you can try Pulled Chicken Sandwiches that have been cut into finger sandwiches.

MG’s Meat Nacho Cheese Dip

1 lb block of Velveeta cheese (prefer the 2% milk, but can use original)

1lb of ground beef (prefer ground chuck has less fat)

½ of ground turkey or chicken

½ ground sausage (prefer Jimmy Dean Hot)

10 oz can of Rotel Mild (if not using sausage will use Hot)

10 oz can of water

Season meats to taste by sprinkling with Tony Chachere’s Lite seasoning (1/3 less sodium) and black pepper, oregano, and thyme

Instructions - Pour in can of Rotel and water into the crock pot slower cooker and turn on High to be getting warm while doing other food preparation. Begin browning meats in a skillet (unless you have the Breville EasySear Cooker). I like to sear and cook the different meats separately in order to cook ground chicken and sausage thoroughly done while leaving ground beef medium well; but note there is really no justification to this since it’s all going in the same pot. 

While meat is browning cut Velveeta cheese into 1 inch square blocks. Once all the meats are browned then alternate placing a layer of cheese and a layer of meats into the slow cooker until all ingredients are in the cooker. Then turn on low and allow nachos to cook for about roughly a 1 to 1 ½ hours. This can be prepared a day before an occasion and then warmed back up on the day of the special event. As a matter of fact, I prefer to do it this way because the seasons are in the nachos even more.

Alternatives - As you can see I prefer more meat than cheese in my nachos, however this if you prefer more cheese then you should follow this Rotel Nacho Cheese Dip recipe. Or you can do what I do something rather than adding the sausage, I’ll add 1 pound each of turkey and ground beef and throw a can of jalapenos in the meat instead of on top. As you can see this is a very versatile recipe from the types of meats to the toppings of guacamole, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, beans, or all of them. The next time I prepare this snack for the family I will have to be sure to take a picture to replace the one here.

Conclusion

I think I will conclude by sharing a story about myself. While it may not seem that any of the above snack are healthy; the beauty of cooking at home is that you control what ingredients are placed in your food and you know exactly what it is that you are eating. By preparing healthy appetizer and snack recipes can assist in the prevention of common medical conditions or concerns.

A personally example was when I ate nothing but fast and processed food for a year because of a busy work schedule. After a year’s time I had gained over 25 pounds and was having heart palpitations. Having been a yo-yo dieter in the past I knew without a doctor telling me that it was time for a lifestyle change. So, I became pro-active by beginning to stop eating out and begin preparing my meals via a crock pot slow cooker or other methods. I lost the first 10 pounds within a little over a month without exercising; simply by preparing my meals at home. That happened about five years ago, and yes to this day at least 90 to 95 percent of my meals are prepared at home.

And so in departing a note to my readers: I hope you liked this article and I would appreciate if you leave a comment, rate it, share it, and/or Digg it. Thanks You!

Namaste’


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Comments 15 comments

psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 6 years ago

I've followed all the crockpot hubs, Money Glitch - really does sound like a good way and gets the juices flowing but with my time constraints the microwave gets all the attention! Dreaming of a day when I have the time to pull out a crockpot. Thanks for all the info.


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee

very good and appitizing article...


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND

Thanks for this - I love finding tasty and easy crockpot recipes as I use mine all the time. All of the recipes you shared sound delicious. Also - great testimony about your weight loss. I noticed that when I stopped eating so much fast food and eating better at home I lost weight too. Great Hub!


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas Author

@psychicdog.net - LOL, I understand psychic! Most everyone has a fast pace lifestyle now-a-days. During the summer months I try to avoid the oven and cook in the crockpot, microwave, or grill. Really appreciate that you stopped by for a read. :)

@samsons1 - Hi samsons1, thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Cari Jean - Hi Cari Jean, I'm glad you like the recipes and glad to hear that someone else has discovered that eliminating some of the fast food in one's diet can assist in weight loss. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Money Glitch, Your recipes looked fantastic and I have copied a couple of them to try out. This hub made me hungry.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas Author

Hi Pamela, I got hungry creating this hub as well. LOL! As a matter of fact, I think one of these recipes will be made in my household within the next few days. :) Thanks for the read. :)


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Money Glitch, mm..mm now were talkin FOOD yummy. As I was reading this I became so hungry I grabbed some tuna and crackers. I'm eating as I hit the key board :)

I love the many ways one can use a crock pot. Sometimes I put a little ginger and water in mine, heat it for an hour and then enjoy the room air. Like this hub and rated up. Thanks.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Thanks for some new ideas!


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas Author

@susanlang - Yeah, reading all the delicious recipes does make an individual hungry. Wow, I'm going to try the ginger and water tip, I love the smell of ginger. Thanks for stopping by. :)

@Habee - Thank you for stopping by gotta come and see what you've cooked up! :)


Meghan Fitz profile image

Meghan Fitz 6 years ago from Texas

I have a huge family and crockpot dips are always a huge hit - even more popular are the crockpot meatballs! SOOO good.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas Author

Hi Meghan, I agree the crockpot meatballs are the best and so much healthier for you than the takeout ones. Thanks for the read. :)


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

I now can take advantage of more free time with all your fdantastic crockpot cooking appetizers and snacks and just in time for fathers day weekend, what a treasure you are. :)


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Those chicken wings in barbecue sauce look mighty appetizing and so easy to cook, even I can do it. Thanks, MG, for taking the time and effort to make us more snack-wise.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas Author

@katiem - You are the treasure Katiem, I really appreciate your support and comments. Have a great weekend. :)

@drbj - You are welcome drbj! Glad you like the wings! They are one of my favorites as well. :)

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