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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple slow-cooker recipes

Pork tenderloin is cooked with spices for six

Pork tenderloin is cooked with spices for six to eight hours on low in a slow cooker, then shredded for tacos. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

SLOW COOKER SHREDDED PORK TACOS

1/2 onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder

1 pound pork tenderloin

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

8 corn tortillas

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup light sour cream

1. Combine the onion, tomato paste, chili powder, ground cumin, salt and chipotle chili powder in the slow cooker. Add the pork tenderloin and turn it in the mixture. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.

2. Shred the pork in the slow cooker using 2 forks. Stir in the cilantro.

3. Heat the tortillas and place them on a plate covered loosely with a slightly dampened cloth. Place the shredded pork, lettuce, cheese, onion and sour cream in individual bowls and allow diners to build their own tacos. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 308 calories, 28 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 563 mg sodium

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SLOW COOKER MEATLOAF

1 large egg

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3/4 cup ketchup, divided

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Lightly beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, 1/4 cup of the ketchup, breadcrumbs, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Form the mixture into a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf.

2. Cover a wire rack that fits in your slow cooker with aluminum foil and poke a few holes in it. Coat the foil with cooking spray and top with the meatloaf. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of ketchup over the top of the meatloaf and lower it on the rack into the slow cooker.

3. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, until the meatloaf is firm and cooked through. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 248 calories, 24 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 708 mg sodium

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SLOW COOKED CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup light coconut milk

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the onion, garlic and ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until it is somewhat softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, bring to a simmer and cook 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the flour, 1 tablespoon of the garam masala, paprika, curry powder, cayenne pepper and salt until well combined. Let cool 5 minutes.

2. Coat the inside of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add the tomato mixture and stir in the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours until the chicken is very tender and the sauce is thickened. Turn the setting to high, uncover and whisk in the coconut milk. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes. Turn off the slow cooker, stir in the cilantro and let the mixture stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 335 calories, 24 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 15 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 862 mg sodium

TIP: Don’t lift the lid of the slow cooker while it is on, because the already low temperature will drop and take a long time to build back up.

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