Taking it Easy with the Crock-pot: Week 4/4

Interestingly enough, the crock pot had hit its peak in the 70’s. It was such a large trend that there were roughly 40 companies all making their own models. However, the official design patent was sold to Rival Manufacturing. They re-branded the original slow cooker by associating it with Betty Crocker, even going so far as to include a Betty Crocker Slow Cooker Cookbook with every purchase of a new one. Soon a sweep of imitators followed, and its popularity didn’t slow down until the introduction of the microwave in the 80’s. Sometimes all it takes for a good idea to get recognition is the right promotional branding.


This recipe was was brought to us by Gina Homolka, the owner, blogger, and photographer of SkinnyTaste.com, and author of The Skinnytaste Cookbook; Light on Calories, Big on Taste. She started her web-based business in 2008, as a way to encourage others to eat clean without having to sacrifice taste. She currently resides in Oceanside, New York with her husband and two children.


© skinnytaste.com


Servings: 6  • Size: 1-1/2 cups • Points +: 5 pts • Smart Points: 7
Calories: 177 • Fat: 10 g • Carb: 17 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 8 g • Sugar: 8 g
Sodium: 600 mg  • Cholest: 21 mg


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable for vegetarians)
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese rind (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups reduced fat (2%) milk
  •  warmed salt
  •  black pepper


1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add the oil, celery, carrots and onions; cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden. Add to slow cooker.

2. Pour the juice of the tomatoes into the slow cooker, then roughly crush the tomatoes with your hands; add to slow cooker. Then add chicken (or vegetable broth), the cheese rind (if using) thyme, basil, and bay leaf.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours, until the vegetables get soft and the flavors blend. Remove the cheese rid and, using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth (or you can carefully do this in small batches in the blender).

4. Melt the butter over low heat in a large skillet and add the flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in about 1 cup of the hot soup, then add the 1 3/4 cups of warmed milk and stir until smooth. Pour back into the slow cooker and stir, add the grated Pecorino cheese and adjust salt and pepper, to taste.

5. Cover and cook on low 30 more minutes.

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