Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: Two Ingredient Dinner

Back On The Trail - Lunch Spot of the Day
West Prong Trail - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
February 5, 2013

It is high time that I just came right out and admitted it!  I just don't like to cook.  There's a certain element of humor to the fact that I have more cooking blogs in my reader than any other single category and I read them all faithfully.  I have hundreds of recipes bookmarked neatly in all sorts of folders and am just certain that one of these days I'll get around to making them all.  And yes, every once in awhile, the mood strikes and I'll spend two or three days in a kitchen flurry whipping up all sorts of interesting things.  But the mood goes as quickly as it came.  It isn't that I CAN'T do it.  Or that everything I attempt to cook is a disaster.  Truthfully, I can't remember many complete failures at all.  It just isn't something I've been able to develop a desire to remain enthusiastic about on a daily basis.  Probably a good thing we didn't have kids and an even better thing that Bill loves to cook almost as much as I hate to cook.  He also is very simple in the things he likes so even when he doesn't want to cook, finding something for dinner isn't complicated.

Having said all that, it is important to me that we eat healthily and as much as possible, we eat food that is natural, fresh and unprocessed.   Since I am at my best early in the morning, I've learned that my slow cooker is my best friend if I want us to enjoy a good meal together that evening.  If I can plan ahead, come back from our morning walk and get something started in the slow cooker, we are good to go for a meal that just needs the addition of a salad or vegetable.

 As I mentioned, Bill does not care for heavy entrees, gloppy type dishes or he really isn't even a casserole type person.  He's fine with meat, potato and something green!! 

A few weeks ago, I came across a blog post entitled, "Two Ingredient Slow Cooker Meals." I had seen Andie's blog, Can You Stay For Dinner before.   She is a 135-pound loser who has maintained her weight loss for more than six years.  But I had never seen this particular post or seen this slow cooker idea before.

Here's the premise according to Andie..... you can combine any meat (chicken, beef, pork) with any pre-made bottled sauce (marinades, salsa, marinara, you name it), and set it to cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, and what you will be left with is nothing short of marvelous.  You use just enough of the sauce to cover the meat.  That would normally be 1.5 to 2 cups and supposedly the sauce flavors mix with the meat and it turns out delicious.

She gives examples of chicken and salsa, pork and honey barbeque sauce, ground beef and marinara sauce.   And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the combinations here are endless.

So I thought it would be fun to see what ideas you could come up with.   For some of you, I know that idea is probably unthinkable, but for others like me, I'm hoping to get lots of good ideas. 

Put your thinking caps on, be creative and tell me what two ingredients you'd put in your slow cooker to come up with a delicious dinner.   She doesn't mention fish, but I wonder if this would work with salmon or another thick filet of fish and what would be your choice for a second ingredient?

I'm hoping for enough ideas to use my slow cooker and have two-ingredient dinners for a long, long time.

One meat, one sauce, eight hours in the slow cooker.
What combination will you contribute?


  1. You're in my territory now! :) I have salsa/chicken and bbq sauce/chicken in my freezer now, and a batch of marinara/chicken planned for later this week. These have served me well for the past 3 or 4 years, and I never get tired of them. (Well, I do, but it usually only lasts a couple of days. :))

  2. beef roast and can of cream of mushroom soup. I don't like to cook either and my crock pot is my best friend!

  3. I am cheating - three ingredients:) But I shared this easy recipe with my boss and she has since shared it with many other people. I've seen other version online but think I originally found it on a South Beach forum. Speaking of which, I'll share a link with you for a crock pot recipe site that I've been following, from Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. I suspect many of the recipes would fit your eating style as well as mine.

    Crockpot Mexican Shredded Chicken

    2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
    1 cup salsa
    1 packet taco seasoning mix (4 T)

    Spray crockpot with non-stick spray. Place chicken in crockpot, sprinkle with taco seasoning and top with salsa. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. When chicken is tender, remove it to a plate and shred using 2 forks. Return shredded chicken to the crockpot mixing it back into the flavorful juices.

  4. Ha! Someone got to the can of mushroom soup idea before me! I was thinking you could make a faux beef stroganoff by using one can of the fat free mushroom soup ( I think its less calories?) and some yogurt. And I'm not 100% sure about putting the yogurt in the slow cooker. Maybe add it at the end?

    But here's my thing. You still have to be careful of the sauce you choose, right? 1 1/2 cups of my favorite BBQ sauce is 700 calories. I don't think that evaporates in the slow cooker, so if you have 8 servings of meat in there, almost 100 calories per serving of sauce. Not usually how I want to spend my calorie buck.

    You know where you could get some great ideas? Wandering around TJ's. They come up with some great sauces in bottles. I'm thinking about their peach or mango salsa right now!

  5. Yum!

    I think my go to would be chicken breasts & bbq sauces. Progresso also makes "recipe starters"...things like creamy basil and tomato basil...that over some chicken or cubed beef steak sounds good. For an asian flair, I'd do chicken breast cubes and teriyaki sauce served over some rice with a bit of sesame oil mixed in the rice.

  6. I hate cooking too. It's even worse because I'm apparently good at it. I'm just not a kitchen person! So, I have found that bulk baking healthy meals (with several good movies running) on one day and freezing them all so they're microwave-ready is the best way for me to go. UNfortunately, my kids are here and they don't go for that. So, I can do it with everything except dinner for the family. Sigh. I'm leery of anything in a crockpot like that, because my mother is one of the worst cooks ever and she used to do all sorts of experiments with it. For a while Ragu or one of those brands put out crockpot sauces for just this purpose (1980's?) and it was so awful. It makes a lot more sense that I was so thin back then! Urgh!

  7. Yay Sharon--for saying it! I also hate cooking.<--That was one of the big truths I had to face in order to lose weight. No, I'm never going to cook anything complicated to watch my weight. When I realized that, I was a LOT happier.

    :-) Marion

  8. I read cooking blogs and collect recipes like crazy. I don't mind cooking when I am feeding someone who likes to eat but when it is just Hubby and me, cooking is no longer fun. I am tired of deciding what to make. He doesn't really care as long as there is 'something' to eat. Thanks for the suggestions.

  9. I do an english roast or beef chunks with a can of mushroom soup. But I do add potatoes and carrots towards the end for a complete meal.

  10. The slow cooker Mexican Chicken like the one Karen wrote about is a favorite at our house and
    it can also be done with a piece of beef or pork.

    I sometimes cook an entire whole chicken in the slow cooker sitting on top of whole potatoes wrapped in foil - works like a charm.

    This recipe for Melt in your mouth Italian Sausages has been one of the most popular recipes on my blog, it does use more than two ingredients but you could slim line the recipe and just use a good jar of spaghetti sauce and the sausages.

    I think the concept of two ingredient cooking sounds good but then it will require using processed sauces that might be high in calories, sugar and preservatives.

    I don't think you can do fish properly in the slow cooker. You could make foil pack meals that can be assembled in the morning, refrigerated until ready to cook in the evening. you can change up the ingredients according to what is in season and to make things easier buy precut vegetables. this is a recipe for chicken and potatoes in foil packs. It does require some slicing and prep but you could do it earlier in the day.

    I sometimes get into cooking slumps where I can't think of what to make nor do I have the desire to do it! I guess after cooking nearly everyday for the past 33 years it is starting to wear on me. I would still rather eat at home than eat out so I keep trying. Since it is now just the two of us when I cook I make more than we need for the one meal. If I am oven roasting veggies or squash I will do up 3 baking sheets full and we heat them up for the next few days as our side dishes. Extra chicken, pork or fish are also made. Its just a little more work on that one day but we reap the rewards for days after. This works quite well for me when hubby is out of town as I have healthy food already prepared.

    Let us know how your slow cooker adventures turn out!

  11. I'm coming to this party a little late, but I love the chicken/salsa combo. Made that a few weeks ago. I've also done chicken and Trader Joe's Green Curry Simmer Sauce (I highly recommend it if you have access to a TJ's). And at Safeway recently, I picked up a tikka masala simmer sauce that I plan to use with chicken.

    I've been shredding cauliflower in my food processor and cooking it up to use as "rice" to go along with. It works great to bulk up the meat/sauce without adding many calories or carbs.

  12. I do enjoy cooking, but seldom use a crockpot. I found it interesting to see what others wrote. Looks like you have many new ideas to play with.

  13. Hi Sharon, We been in Arkansas for a week --so I'm trying to catch back up with my blog friends. Hope you had a great week. I relate to this blog. I don't like to cook and hubby does. I 'can' cook--but just don't care much for it. My mother was an excellent cook--but I didn't inherit that talent....

    I do like the idea of SIMPLE... The crock pot/slow cooker idea sounds terrific with some kind of sauce. That is so neat. Think I may try that sometime. Thanks!!!!