A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Slow-Cooker Franks and Beans over Toasted Millet

Do you have healthy franks or hot dogs you want to grill but the rain won’t let up? No worries! Just add a healthy does of various beans and veggies; frozen makes it really easy. Then slow cook in spicy tomato sauce and serve over toasted millet for the healthiest version of Franks and Beans maybe….ever!

Millet seems to get lost in the shadow of quinoa’s limelight. Did you know, just like quinoa, millet is actually a seed and complete protein? It’s actually a common ingredient in bird seed mix. I bet that’s what makes some fly better than other, non-millet eating birds. Or not, but its fun to imagine!

I eat millet almost every day in its puffed form. The minute, puffy spheres add volume to crunchy cereals like Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 or Grape Nuts. This helps me make the more expensive cereal last longer while still reaping the benefits of healthy whole grain seed.

Although quinoa is a favorite in our home, I decided to branch out and make something a little different. It’s good to change things up anyway. Thanks to slow-cookers and a few healthy packaged items, I created a fantastic meal with little work. My recipe uses minimally processed turkey franks and pasta sauce from Whole Foods. This sauce had the least ingredients and no oils added which is sadly hard to find.

That Yuengling was so good as a prop, I paid it back by drinking it all!
Wish we could get it here in Texas.

Healthy Millet Franks and Beans is Kelley tested and approved. I’m always trying to pass these tests; what’s up with that? Oh yeah, the whole husband and wife, happiness and health thing! Anyway, after letting me know how much she enjoyed lunch, she was delighted to hear we were having it again today. Having the same meal twice in the same week can be risky since Kelley may not like the meal the first time; fortunately this is not the case!

As with many of my recipes, this one is easily adaptable to your own needs and preferences. Use other veggies, fresh or frozen, choose just one bean, swap meat for veggie franks, or use fresh-made chicken sausage. The possibilities are endless. Even when the rain goes away, and you can use the grill again, remember that the rain will come back another day. Wow, I just got goose bumps from my extremely corny use of a Mother Goose nursery rhyme!

Q: Do you still use your slow cooker in the summer months or is strictly grill season for you?

We got rid of our grill when we moved last December, so I don’t have a choice unless I use a grill pan on the stove. I hope to get a grill soon, though. Those infrared ones seem to be the most popular right now.

Slow-Cooker Turkey Franks and Beans over Toasted Millet

by RC Liley
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 4 Hours

Ingredients (Serves 4 - 6)
    For the Millet
    • 1 cup millet, uncooked
    • 1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
    • 1 cup homemade or store-bought tomato soup; I used Pacific Naturals Organic Low-Sodium Tomato Soup, but you can use your favorite or just add another cup of broth
    • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
    • 10oz bag of frozen, chopped onions; you can use half of a fresh yellow or white onion too
    For the Franks and Beans
    • 4 healthy hot dogs/franks cut into 1/2 in circles; I used Applegate Farms Turkey Franks, but choose your favorite meat or veggie frank
    • 25oz jar of pasta sauce; I chose the Whole Foods brand that had no added oils and only a mix of tomatoes with other veggies, herbs, and spices
    • 10oz bag of frozen chopped onions, green peppers, and celery
    • 12oz bag of frozen mixed bean and veggie blend; I used the Fiesta Blend from Kroger which has broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and kidney, garbanzo, and navy beans
    • 12oz bag of frozen chopped broccoli
    • 1 red bell pepper, sliced and chopped
    • 1/2 of a 12oz bag of frozen sliced carrots
    • 1/4 of a 10oz bag of frozen shelled edamame
    • 1/2 t cayenne powder
    • 1 ½ T cumin
    • 2 T parsley and oregano
    • 1/2 T garlic powder
    For the Franks and Beans
    Add all ingredients to your slow-cooker and mix well.
    Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
    Prepare Millet while waiting on the slow-cooker
    Heat a non-stick sauce pan over medium heat
    Add millet to dry pan and continuously stir to evenly toast; you’ll know it’s toasting when you hear the millet cracking and popping
    Add garlic and onions and let cook for 30 – 45 seconds
    Pour all liquids in pot and bring to a boil
    Stir, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes
    Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes
    Transfer cooked millet to individual serving bowls and generously top with the franks and beans mix
    Add fresh ground pepper and parsley to garnish if you like and dig in
    Enjoy with a chilled lager at home or unsweetened iced tea at work
    Powered by Recipage


    1. i don't have a slow cooker anymore but i preferred it over any other cooking method in the summer months (who wants to turn on an oven?) :)

    2. Yeah, I had the oven on this weekend and whoa, it was hot! Are you planning on getting a slow cooker again soon?