Beat the winter belly blues with these slow-cooked options
There’s no doubt about it – the crock rocks. It’s a versatile, healthy, and money-saving way to enjoy some seriously substantial (and delicious) nutrition. As Summer winds down and the nights get longer, here are some suggestions on slowing down your meals and keeping cooking cozy.
The benefits of slow-cooked meals
Before we get to the really, really good stuff, let’s list off the really good.
A slow cooker can feel like your best friend when it comes to labor saving. The darker winter days can leave us all feeling drained through lack of sunlight. Who has the energy for dishes? A slow cooker has all the ingredients snugly stuffed inside, meaning there’s less stuff to wash up when prep is over.
Slow cooked meals are also extremely finance-friendly, and here’s why:
• Medical bills: We wouldn’t be Fit2Go unless we prioritized this not-so-obvious pot perk. What goes into outside prepared meals is beyond our control. Slow cooking your own meals at home put you in total control of what goes in there. By extension, you gain more power over your health by deciding sodium, fat and carb content for a fitter you.
• Cheaper cuts of meat taste better: No need to buy that super-expensive slab of tenderized steak. Your slow cooker will tenderize cheaper cuts over a long time at low temperature.
• Lower utility bills: If you ever went full-on slow-cooker, you’d save a lot on energy bills. Slow cookers use less electricity than ovens or stoves. They’re so cost-efficient, they can reduce electricity cost by half.
• Replaces a restaurant: Or ordering out, for that matter. It’s often easiest to step out or order in when you’re too worn out by your day. Slow cookers prevent those expenses. Add in some protein, vegetables, and liquids in the morning, and you’ll always have a Winter winner ready-cooked by evening.
Now for the really, really good stuff. We’ve gathered together some suggested recipes that will take the chill out of any Winter, whether you’re in the mood for a filling casserole, soup, or stew.
Bring on the meals!
Want a gluten-free, Keto, and Paleo-friendly chicken feast? Try some chicken breast, salsa style. All you’ll need for a high protein, low-fat meal is one pound of chicken breast, a cup of chunky salsa, a pinch of ground cumin and garlic powder and a little salt to taste (if you like). It’s a 5-minute prep time, a 4-hour cook time and serves beautifully with salad or rice.
A super-healthy chicken stew/broth can really drive home how amazingly easy slow-cooking is, but wow, what results! You can choose as many veggies as will fit in the pot, but a great stew uses onions, carrots, potatoes, and celery for a colorful base. Place some chicken breast in the crockpot with your veggies of choice, cover in chicken broth and slow cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
If you’re in the mood for a thicker stew, add a mixture of cornstarch and water (to prevent clumping in the stew) to the pot half an hour from completion and monitor the thickness. If you like a thinner broth, skip that step.
If you want a grease-free bowl of healthy heat, then find the leanest beef you can (90 percent or above is perfect). Place the protein in your slow cooker and add liquids and whatever spices work for you. Cover and cook for 4 hours. Pop the top 20 minutes before the end and add in some red kidney beans. Serve it with rice or all on its own.
There are few things more comforting on a cold day than a hearty soup, and your slow cooker is super-versatile in this regard. To name but a few healthy options:
• Barley and Beef. Add half a cup of pearl barley, 2 sliced carrots, and 2 sliced stalks of celery to the slow cooker. Brown one pound of cubed beef in a high-heat skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add it to the slow cooker with 3 cups of beef stock then cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or 4 on high). Serve with some thin crusty bread and a side salad.
• Zingy Lemon Lentil. Load up the slow cooker with lentils, corn, garlic, onion, carrots, vegetable stock, and a teaspoon of curry powder. Cook on low for 5 or 6 hours until the lentils are tender. Extract the cooked ingredients and add them to a blender to the consistency you wish. Return the puree to the slow cooker and add the juice and zest of one lemon.
• Black Bean. Another one to really warm you up! Grate up 2 medium carrots, dice two stalks of celery and a medium onion, and mince 2 cloves of garlic. Rinse a pound of uncooked black beans under cool water. Combine all these with 1 cup of salsa and one tablespoon of chili powder and add to water and vegetable broth in your slow cooker. Stir it up and cook on high until the beans are super-soft. Blend up the finished contents to the consistency you require and flavor with salt, pepper or parsley.
This is just a taste of the world of slow-cooking. We understand how quick and tasty nutrition can make all the difference on a busy schedule or a relaxed day. We created our very own menu that defines flavor, convenience, and health and delivers it straight to our customers’ doors!
Drop by and browse for a wealth of low carb, no carb, veggie, Vegan and Pescatarian options. We fully customize our food to fit your lifestyle. Just drop us a message if you’d like to learn more.