Sometimes your main dish doesn’t have to occupy your slow cooker! On Saturday night, we took our teenagers to an early matinee (we saw the new Hunger Games). To see a movie in the late afternoon you most likely will come home starving- we always do. But, the last thing we want to do is go home and prepare dinner. It’s much better if our slow cooker is waiting for us bursting with food that tastes even better than it should because we’re so hungry. That is exactly what we did on Saturday. About 30 minutes before the movie, I chopped a rainbow of peppers to make some cheesy risotto – that you don’t have to stand over the stove for 30 minutes to make!
We love rainbow food! The more colors you get in your diet, the more variety of vitamins and minerals you will get. We used:
- Red Peppers
- Orange Peppers
- Yellow Peppers
- Green Peppers
- and purple cabbage to complete our rainbow.
Bell peppers are becoming more and more a staple in our diet. I rarely come home from the grocery store anymore without them. They are a great snack. They are perfect to send in a school lunch. They are delicious for dinner. They can be served raw or cooked. You can spread laughing cow cheese on them for a crunchy treat (we do that all the time!). Plus, the variety of colors they come in mean they have a variety of phytochemicals and antioxidants.
According to my favorite food resource:
Bell pepper is not only an excellent source of carotenoids, but also a source of over 30 different members of the carotenoid nutrient family. A recent study from Spain took a close look vitamin C, vitamin E, and six of these carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin) in all commonly eaten foods and found that only two vegetables contained at least two-thirds of all the listed nutrients. One of these foods was tomato, and the other was sweet bell pepper! Bell pepper alone provided 12% of the total zeaxanthin found in the participants’ diets. (Bell pepper also provided 7% of the participants’ total vitamin C intake.)
I combined 1 cup of rice, with all the veggies in a slow cooker, and added broth.
I put some chicken in the oven, and set the oven timer to cook it for 1 hour. We set the slow cooker on high and left for the movies.
When we got home, we added cheese, butter, and milk, and gave it a quick stir. The chicken was ready. I had some leftover fruit salad from making it for a meal plan. And the rice was perfect. I blanched some broccoli and cauliflower to complete our balanced myplate meal.
And did my family like it? No actually, they LOVED IT!! I’m not just saying that. But how can you not love cheesy rice? It was warm, cheesy, chewy, and full of vegetables! We’ll definitely be making this one more often… maybe even weekly for awhile until we get sick of it.
If you try this recipe, we’d love to know how it turns out for you!
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 1 medium bell pepper, red
- 1 medium bell pepper, orange
- 1 medium bell pepper, yellow
- 1 medium bell pepper, green
- 1/2 cup chopped cabbage, red
- 1 3/4 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 1 1/2 cup, shredded Monterey cheese, low fat
- Finely chop all the bell peppers and purple cabbage.
- Combine the rice with the vegetables in a slow cooker, and pour 1 3/4 cup chicken broth over it. Set it on high for 2 1/2 hours, or low for about 4 hours. Make sure the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
- Unplug the slow cooker, and add milk, butter, and Monterrey cheese.
- Stir to combine and let sit for 5 minutes. Season with salt if desired.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie