All Entries For SparkRecipes
As you might know, we recently hosted a $10,000 Split-the-Pot Slow Cooker Recipe Contest to celebrate the relaunch of SparkRecipes.com and do our part to help alleviate hunger. We know how much our members love how easy it is to make healthy recipes using a slow cooker, and we wanted to highlight some of YOUR best recipes, so we devised a contest that would allow us to thank you for helping SparkPeople grow into the largest healthy living community in America, while also giving back to those in need.
After weeks of popular voting, we selected 15 finalists, then taste-tested their creations at SP HQ, judging the recipes on taste, appearance, overall healthfulness, and ease of preparation. Today we're thrilled to announce the #1 slow cooker recipe in America is:
It was a hit among our taste-testers:
"I’d definitely make this recipe for my next get-together. It had just enough kick for me, but some people might like to add a little extra hot sauce. It’s great to eat as a soup, but you could also serve it as a dip with chips. Yum!"
"This was truly an easy recipe to make. I was amazed how many produce servings made it in there, and being ground up, the chicken really gave the chili a great consistency and taste."
The recipe's creator, Beth "Biz" Velatini, of Cary, Illinois, will win $10,000: $5,000 for her and $5,000 for her favorite hunger-relief charity, Common Threads. (The other 14 finalists will receive a $100 Amazon gift card.)
Founded by chef Art Smith, who was Oprah's personal chef, and artist Jesus Salgueiro, the nonprofit has been teaching children in underserved communities how to cook healthy, affordable meals during after-school programs for the last decade. Though it started in Chicago, Common Threads is focused on a nationwide effort to get one million kids cooking in the next five years.
Beth, who has a food blog called My Bizzy Kitchen, says she has used SparkPeople to help her manage her diabetes and lose weight. She's thrilled to be helping a program she believes in, and the prize money is much appreciated--she works two jobs to make ends meet, and her husband has been unemployed and dealing with health issues. Read More ›
If you're an avid cook and foodie, you've probably discovered the wonderful (and addictive!) world of Pinterest. This website gives you access to literally millions of recipes, cooking tips and inspiring food ideas, which is great! But we know that you don't always have the time to sift through the countless recipes floating around out there to find the very best ones. Which recipes are going to impress your guests, cause your mouth to water, and make you want to make them again and again? Well, we've taken the time to sift through our most popular SparkRecipes from our Pinterest page. These are the best recipes from our site that keep getting shared and re-pinned time and time again—because they're just that good. And now you can have them all in one handy list! All of these recipes are relatively fast, healthy and easy to make—and are guaranteed to make you want to make them for years to come. Bon appetit! Read More ›
Using a slow cooker is like magic: pour in the ingredients, set the heat level, and then shift focus to your to do list, all the while your slow cooker does the heavy lifting. Chicken is one of my favorite ingredients to use in a slow cooker, since it’s a flavorful source of lean protein and it requires little effort to cook. These are some of SparkPeople’s favorite slow cooker chicken recipes.
Slow Cooker Marinara Chicken and Vegetables (Chef Meg's Makeover)
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For my family, spring signals the beginning of little league baseball and a renewed level of busyness that makes staying on top of nutrition a bit of a challenge. Recently, I've been using berries, another spring/summer favorite, to keep my kids fueled up. Using a simple blender, I can have a tasty treat whipped up in minutes that includes many greens that my kids wouldn't normally eat.
Berries are sweet, but also contain a boost of disease-fighting antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. It's fun to hear my kids ask for a second glass, especially when I know it's loaded with spinach, kale, or chia or flax seed to add fiber, protein and healthy omega fats. I make it a goal to get at least three servings of fruits and vegetable in each smoothie I make.
When I see deal on berries, I buy double what I need and put half in the freezer. Then I can just pull out what I need, whenever I need it, and clean up is easy too: just pop the blender parts in your dish washer or hand clean with hot soapy water. Fuel yourself with berries and other great smoothies by trying these SparkRecipes. Read More ›
Spring gardens are in full bloom and the beauty of the season is reaching its peak. It's as if the gardens themselves are working overtime for Mother's Day, celebrating the proverbial "busy bees" in our lives, our moms.
Mother's Day brunch is a tradition for many families, but it often includes endless buffet tables chock-full of high fat, salt saturated, and sugar laden dishes. The high price tag of these "all you can eat affairs" wreak havoc on our common sense, leading us to rationalize eating more than we our stomachs are designed to hold. We enjoy the company of our loved ones, yes, but do we welcome the bathroom scale the following morning?
Give Mom the gift of love through a healthy and fun meal. I've gathered our best brunch recipes for you to enjoy. Many of these are from our Chef Meg. Her gourmet recipes are simple to prepare and don't require an endless list of ingredients, highlighting spring fruits and vegetables. They are perfect for dads and children to prepare together too, making the cooking as fun as the eating, if not more. Here are some other ideas to make this Mother's Day memorable: visit your local farmer's market; create a customized playlist with songs that celebrate memories with Mom; pick some fresh flowers from the garden; and adorn the table with china. Most importantly, don't forget to clean up the kitchen so Mom can spend the evening basking in the love of her loved ones. Read More ›
My current go-to green vegetable is kale, which has nutritional value and health benefits that are off-the-charts. Whether I’m throwing it in my smoothie or steaming it as a recipe addition, I do my best to eat it every day.
The next time you are at the supermarket grab a bunch of kale and start cooking these recipes that you’ll actually eat and taste great.
Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes
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Takeout is tasty and convenient, but comes with high fat, sodium, and calories. Afterward, you may experience bloating or a tummy ache and have little idea what ingredients were used in the dish you purchased. Instead of surrendering control to your local drive-in, diner, or dive, use these SparkRecipes to cook your favorite take out dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen. By doing the cooking yourself, you can use savory spices, health-smart ingredients, and improved cooking methods like baking and steaming that bring out the natural flavors in food. With the money you save, don’t forget to give yourself a little tip: you deserve a reward for a job well done!
Chicken Satay with Vegetables (Chef Meg's Makeover)
Crispy Baked Egg Rolls
Chef Meg's Spring Rolls
Pot Stickers (steamed wontons)
Baked Crab Rangoon
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With so much talk about hot sauce, we had to taste test all the popular varieties for ourselves. We got our mouths fired up for this spicy taste test. Find out who topped our list.
It’s All About Sodium
Hot sauce is the new ketchup. Dab a little on sandwiches, pizza, pasta dishes, chili, grilled meats, eggs – almost any dish. If you check out the label, you’ll notice that there’s not much nutrition information per serving—no calories, fat, saturated fat, carbs, or protein (or at least so little that it can be listed as zero by food labeling guideline). What it does have is sodium—and some brands have more than others. Read More ›
You should think of hummus as a white canvas and vegetables in your refrigerator or herbs in your garden as the paints to create a colorful work of art. This painting will not go on the wall but in your belly. Hummus is simple to make and will pair well with almost any flavor you want to add. Although the basic recipe includes olive oil and tahini (sesame seed paste), too much can be a little too much--it can taste bitter, and it does contain a lot of fat, though it is the good-for-you kind. In my recipe, I reduced the amount of tahini and replaced it with drained and rinsed white kidney beans. Read More ›
The fiery red sauce in the green-topped squeeze bottle is a staple in my kitchen. Loyal fans will not go near another chili sauce – it’s so popular it has its own Facebook page.
What is Sriracha?
Sriracha was developed in Los Angeles, California in the early 1980′s by David Tran. His Chinese and Vietnamese roots were the inspiration for this American-born chili sauce.
Pronounced "SIR-rotch-ah" this sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar is the perfect balance of hot, spicy, tangy and sweet. Instead of just being hot, Sriracha has serious flavor that keeps food-lovers coming back for more. It even has a nickname – affectionately dubbed “rooster sauce” (the bottle dotes the image of a rooster – Tran’s astrological sign). Read More ›
You’ve seen it on hundreds of labels and may have even used it in your own kitchen — learn all the need-to-know facts about this additive.
What Is It?
Pectin is a gelatin-like substance that is naturally found in some fruits. It’s often added to jams and jellies to help cooked fruits reach a gel-like consistency. It can also be used to thicken barbecue sauce, cranberry sauce, canned frosting and yogurt. Some homemade jellies may call for high pectin fruit such as quince, concord grapes, currants, raspberries or apples in order to help thicken them. Fruit that is slightly underripe contains more pectin than fruits that have fully ripened. Read More ›
Meet the new superfoods that will have no trouble making it from your shopping cart to your dining room table. "After all, there's not much good in knowing about the health benefits of some obscure fruit or grain if you don't end up eating it," admits David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life (Bantam). These seven wonders of the nutrition world can help you and your family get healthier—while still pleasing your taste buds.
"Green tea is made from the leaves; white tea is made from the buds," notes David L. Katz, M.D., director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and author of The Way to Eat (Sourcebooks). "It is even richer in bioflavonoid antioxidants." These powerful phytochemicals may aid in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol—and they might have a slight metabolism-boosting effect that can assist with weight management. Just don't add lots of sweeteners to the mild-tasting brew or you'll counteract some of these impressive effects. Read More ›
Picking blackberries is one of my all time favorite summer activities. It was my fresh blackberry pie that won my husband's heart when we were first dating. Fortunately for him, we bought a house that has blackberries growing abundantly in our back yard. I love harvesting them with my kids on warm summer afternoons.
Blackberries are rich in antioxidants and are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese vitamin E, folate, potassium and copper. They are also are great as snacks or can serve as an exotic new ingredient in your regular cooking regimen. I’ve gathered our top blackberry SparkRecipes to help you get started. Read More ›
Who can pass up a moist and tender barbecue sandwich, pulled chicken simmered in a slow cooker until it's falling apart, or, my favorite, Kentucky Burgoo, with several tender cuts in one bowl.
These recipes, while quite different in ingredients, are all ideal for the slow cooker, and they yield the same fork-tender, falling-apart meat. What's the secret?
What do all three of these recipes have in common? What's the common thread?
Let's shift from the art of cooking to the science for a moment. That common thread is collagen, the connective tissue in meat.
We all know that meat is basically bundles of muscle cells, with fibers embedded within that allow the animal to move. Connective tissue connects cells and tissues within the meat, like support hose or an athletic bandage. As you move, the fabric stretches and moves with you, supporting your movement. As the animals grow the muscle bulks up and the connective tissue toughens, offering more support. Read More ›
Turn cooking into a family affair by promoting your kids to assistant chefs. Here are some quick and easy ways to get them involved.
Help them plan.
Let your children create the menu. Teach them how to plan a balanced meal. Plan around what's in season and make it a goal to include lots of fruits and vegetables. My kids and I love to use Zisboombah.com to plan balanced meals.
Make it fun and educational.
Learning to cook is fun because it's hands-on and experiential. You can cover a whole range of topics, including math (measure ingredients), reading (recipe instructions), fine motor skills (cooking techniques), and science (chemical and physical reactions). Read More ›