Fire up your slow cooker and enjoy a healthy Italian meal!

By: Jodie Shield, RDN

Crock-pots make weeknight meals so easy. I love coming home after a long day to a warm, homemade meal and a house filled with an amazing aroma. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Red Gold Tomatoes sent me some of their new slow cooker recipes and products to try. They’re having a 2-A-Day Crock-Pot Give-a-way contest on Facebook from September 17 through October 8, 2014. Their Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili is my new fav. I also tried their Rustic Italian Chicken, which was good, but I had to make several changes because my family likes their Italian spicy. For starters, I used diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil rather than plain, diced tomatoes; I doubled the fresh garlic and Italian seasoning, too. Then I sautéed chopped onions with the other fresh veggies in some olive oil. Finally, I tossed a pinch of red pepper flakes into the crock-pot during the last of hour of cooking for maximum flavor. When everything was done, I ladled a generous portion onto some whole-wheat perfectly cooked pasta and served this dish with my beet-walnut spinach salad. If you love easy and healthy Italian, you have got to try my Caprese Lasagna Rollups and Pasta with Bolognese. All are on my new app Time To Eat Healthy.

 Rustic Italian Chicken

 6 Servings

 Prep Time = 20 minutes

Cooking Time = 6 hours


  • 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 2 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt, optional
  • Pepper, optional
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups whole wheat pasta of choice, cooked and drained



  1. Place chicken in slow cooker.
  2.  Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add onion, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic and Italian seasoning and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.
  3.  Add vegetable mixture to cock-pot along with diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. Add crushed pepper flakes during last hour of cooking. Serve over pasta. Garish option: Parmesan cheese and chopped basil


Nutritional Information per Serving (with ½ cup pasta): 408 calories, 33 grams protein, 37 grams carbohydrate, 14 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 139 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams fiber, 419 milligrams sodium

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About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N.
Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

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