Healthy Crock Pot Open-Face Sausage Pizza Sandwiches

Hey everyone! This week’s recipes is one of my favorites I’ve made so far. And, it’s also by far the easiest! It’s definitely gonna be a staple in my house from now on.

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This recipe comes from, once again, my favorite Crock Pot recipe book: The Better Homes and Gardens Skinny Slow Cooker mag. I slightly modified it and my version turned out great!

You will need:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 12 ounces uncooked ground Italian chicken sausage
  • 3 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green peppers (or really any kind of peppers you want!)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 8-ounce can pizza sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
Chances are you already have some of these!

Chances are you already have some of these!

Start out by heating the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Then, add the sausage and cook until brown. Make sure to break it up!

I got over my fear of touching uncooked meat for this post. You're welcome.

I got over my fear of touching uncooked meat for this post. You’re welcome.

Once the sausage is browned, drain out the fat. Coat your Crock Pot with the cooking spray, and then go ahead and toss in all the ingredients except for the bread and cheese. Cook for 4 to 4 and a half hours on low, or 2 to 2 and a half hours on high.

It even looks good before it's cooked!

It even looks good before it’s cooked!

Once it’s done, divide it evenly on all the ciabatta halves. Top them each with some of the cheese.

And you're done! So. Good.

And you’re done! So. Good.

THAT’S SERIOUSLY THE RECIPE! It’s so easy, and inexpensive too! I’m in love.

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BuzzFeed’s Ultimate Roast Chicken Tournament

BuzzFeed’s Ultimate Roast Chicken Tournament

Have you heard the hype about BuzzFeed’s Ultimate Roast Chicken Tournament? I woke up today and this was all over my Twitter feed. It’s definitely worth a read, and all of the chickens look delicious – but I won’t give away which one won.

This article is great because, as I’m sure you know, roast chicken is both delicious and healthy, which sometimes can be hard to find. Even if there’s one that calls to you more than the winner, worry not, they have the recipes available for all of them. Happy roasting!

Crock Pot Spinach & Basil Brown Rice Risotto

I know I just recently did a Crock Pot recipe, but I’m here today to tell you that Crock Pots aren’t just for soup, y’all. You can seriously make almost anything in them these days. There are tons of resources for Crock Pot recipes that go anywhere from beef and broccoli to tacos. Today, we’ll be making risotto!

I got this recipe, again, from the Better Homes & Gardens “Skinny Slow Cooker” magazine. I got this around a year ago, so I don’t know if it’s still available, but it’s got some great recipes in it!

“Spinach And Basil Brown Rice Risotto,” pg. 117. This is technically intended to be a side, but I ate it as a main dish.

You will need:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 & 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped red or green sweet pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 & 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (I only used one cup, two seemed like way too much, but to each their own!)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup snipped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Remember, gather your ingredients first!

Remember, gather your ingredients first!

Start by coating your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Then, add in your rice (uncooked!), sweet pepper, and salt. Pour the water over it and slap on the lid.

Doesn't it just look soo appetizing at this stage?

Doesn’t it just look soo appetizing at this stage?

Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, or on high for 2 to 2 & 1/2 hours. Now, I think something might be wrong with my Crock Pot, because I had it on high, and it took 4 hours for the rice to become tender. So make sure to check before you take it out!

In the meantime, prepare the rest of your ingredients. I would wait to do this part until around 30 minutes before your cook time is up. All you really have to do here is chop your spinach, snip your basil, and grate the lemon peel. Use a cheese grater!

Then, once your rice and pepper mixture is finished cooking (when the rice is tender), throw in the spinach, basil, nuts, oil, lemon peel, and garlic. Cover again and cook until the spinach is wilted. Add some cheese if you like, and you’re done! This is probably the world’s easiest risotto recipe.

It tastes better than it looks, I promise.

It tastes better than it looks, I promise.

I have to admit that my rice came out pretty mushy, but the flavors were really good, so I’m sure someone with more cooking prowess could make this amazing. Happy crocking!

Quick & Easy Apple Orchard Panini

Okay, okay, I know I said my next post would be about budgeting. But when I saw this recipe, I changed my mind. I was scouring my new favorite blog, Iowa Girl Eats (check it out!), when I saw this beauty. You had me at brie!

It also is SO easy to make and takes only a few minutes!

I can't even get over how good this is.

If this doesn’t look good to you I just don’t even know what to say.

The great thing about sandwiches is that you don’t have to be exact, so feel free to use as much or as little of each ingredient as you want. I just eyeballed it for what looked good.

You will need:

  • Italian bread
  • Green apples
  • Brie
  • Roasted deli turkey
  • Apple butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Start out by gathering all your ingredients, as usual.

I realize this is missing the bread and the olive oil. It's been a long week, okay?

I realize this is missing the bread and the olive oil. It’s been a long day.

Next, slice your brie and apples, and your bread if you need to.

I was super excited about this part just because I finally got to use my marble cheeseboard.

I was super excited about this part just because I finally got to use my marble cheeseboard.

Lay out two pieces of bread and brush the olive oil on ONE side of each. This is a college house, so we don’t have a kitchen brush, so I just drizzled a little bit and spread it around with a knife. Then flip ’em over and smear your apple butter on. I did it on both sides, but I imagine it would taste just as good on just one side. I think next time I make this I’m going to try it that way – it was a little rich for me this time (but still delicious, trust me).

It even looks delicious before you make it!

It even looks delicious before you make it!

In Kristin’s recipe, she used roasted deli turkey instead of the honey smoked kind I had. I think it would probably be better with the roasted turkey, but I already had a bunch of turkey that I needed to use, so here we are.

Next it’s time to put it all together!

This is when I discovered I am really bad at slicing apples.

This is when I discovered I am really bad at slicing apples.

Then pop your top slice of bread (olive oil side up) on top! Kristin used a panini maker, which is another amazing kitchen item I don’t have, so I just used a Foreman grill. Put the sandwich in your Foreman grill/panini maker/skillet until it’s “golden brown and crispy.” Use a spatula to take it out and let sit for a couple of minutes so you don’t burn your hand. I unfortunately learned this part the hard way, when a glob of hot apple butter went through a crack and burned my finger when I was trying to cut my sandwich in half. Oops.

So. Good.

Here's another angle.

Here’s another angle.

And there you have it! Told you it was easy, right? Thanks to Kristin for this awesome recipe!