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Say YES to the Slow Cooker..

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With all the latest health gadgets on the market, from the Spiralizer to the Nutribullet, some of the old favourites can be forgotten! The slow cooker is one of those staple pieces of equipment that can benefit you in so many ways – for the health conscious, busy mums and just those of you that love locking in flavour, everyone should invest in one (at such budget prices too!)

Why the slow cooker?

How the slow cooker can help: Cooking at home is a great first step in trying to get your health eating under control. Since slow–cooked food relies on long, moisture-rich cooking, you can use less oil than if you were cooking with dry heat in the oven or on the stove. Using your slow cooker to make dinner means that dinner is ready when you get in the door—no more hungrily snacking on other food while preparing dinner.

Using a slow cooker can save you major time preparing meals. By prepping ingredients and putting them in the pot before you leave for work in the morning, you know that when you come home dinner will be waiting. Bonus: Use the extra time you save and hit the gym after work.

Slow cookers lend themselves to stews and other one-pot meals that let you stretch more expensive ingredients, like meat, further.  such as Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions. Chances are a slow-cooked meal will yield leftovers ..Bring leftovers for lunch the next day and you’ll save on lunch money too! BONUS!

Recipes to Try:

1. Slow cooker Three bean & Barley soup 

Serves: 4-5

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon chi coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1.4l water
  • 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 100g dried black beans
  • 100g dried great northern beans
  • 80g dried kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a slow cooker on a medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add water, broth, barley, black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hours (adding more water, 1/2 cup at a time, if necessary or desired). Season with salt.

3-bean-barley-soup-shutterstock-slide crop

2.

5 a day Vegetarian Ratatouille and cous cous – (we added a mozzarella stuffed chicken breast on the side too!)

Serves:2

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste (we used Discovery)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 pack of button mushrooms chopped roughly
  • 1  can of chickpeas
  • a few coriander leaves
  • 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
  • splash of water
  • 150g wholegrain cos cous

FullSizeRender Method;

1. roughly chop both onions, garlic, courgettes, mushrooms and peppers into medium sized chunks

2. In your slow cooker add the coconut oil and all the chopped ingredients, stir once to coat all vegetables.

3. Leave for 10 minutes then add the chopped tomatoes, brown sugar, chickpeas and chicken stock cube and a splash of water

4. Leave to simmer for an hour.

5. Now add the cous cous to the pot and cover.

6. Meanwhile, make a fairly deep incision into the side of each chicken breast, but be sure not to cut through to the other side completely!

7. Stuff with mozzarella, add salt and pepper to the top of the breasts and roast for 30 mins in oven.

8. Serve with the cous cous medley and any other veg!

Coconut Milk rice pudding with Giving Tree Strawberries

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

 Combine the rice, sugar and coconut milk in a large bowl. Stir well, then transfer to the slow cooker with a teaspoon of coconut oil and add the vanilla pod. Leave on a low heat in the cooker for an hour and three-quarters, stirring three or four times during cooking, until the rice is tender. There should be no golden skin on top. To keep the pudding relatively light and also dairy-free, leave it as it is. To make it a little richer and more indulgent, stir in some more coconut milk.

Serve in glasses or bowls with Giving Tree fruit crisps and extra fresh fruit too seasoned with a squirt of lime juice.

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