Slow Cooking In A Fast Paced World
Most of us feel that we don’t have enough time to eat right and exercise - never mind cook healthy meals and actually sit down and enjoy them. I work long days and have a long commute. I'm lucky to have an hour before bedtime when I get home. I might opt out of my exercise routine most nights, but I really try and stay with eating healthy, home cooked meals. Hey, we can all admit - it’s much easier in the warmer months to eat healthy. Toss a salad or throw some vegetables and chicken on the grill – Volia you have dinner! Now that it’s winter, days are shorter, it's dark when you get home, and all you want to do is curl up on the couch.
So, what’s the secret to faster prep and a healthy meal? A slow cooker! If you don’t own one, I suggest you buy one. I use mine so much in the winter months I just leave it on the counter. If it's there you will use it, promise! Give yourself an extra 15 minutes in the morning to prepare your meals, and it will give you more time to enjoy dinner in the evening. I love to make soups and stews. They are inexpensive to make, and are great way to have a healthy meal that really cuts down on extra calories and fat. Here are two amazing soups to start with.
13 Bean Chicken Soup
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- ¼ cup Bob’s Mill 13 bean soup mix
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- I carton of chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- ½ of a red onion finely chopped
- 1 head of rainbow chard coarsely chopped
- ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- Parmesan cheese to use when serving
- Place chicken breast in slow cooker.
- Add all other ingredients except the cheese.
- Next, add water and chicken stock.
- Cover and cook up to 8 hours.
- After 8 hours turn off cooker, pull out chicken and shred it. Place back into soup and stir.
- Taste add salt and pepper if needed.
- Sprinkle Parmesan cheese with each serving
Coffee Stout Beef Stew
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 2 lbs. beef shoulder chuck cut into 2-inch cubes
- 3 TBSP flour
- 2 gloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 red onion chopped
- 1 large carrot skin peeled and cut 1 inch pieces
- 2 stalks celery washed and chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 stems of thyme
- 1 cup frozen vegetables (peas, corn or string beans)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 can of Narragansett coffee milk stout beer (This is a local New England beer, you can replace with any dark beer or a coffee flavored beer if you need to.)
- 1 carton of beef stock
- 1 cup of water
- In a sauté pan, heat olive oil one minute.
- Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, and brown for 5 minutes.
- While ingredients are cooking, fill a bowl with flour and toss beef cubes in bowl to coat. Shake off excess flour and add beef in single layer to pan.
- Brown beef on each side 5 minutes.
- Take all ingredients from the sauté pan and add to the slow cooker with 1 cup of water.
- Add all other ingredients.
- Add more beef stock or water to ensure all ingredients are covered in liquid.
- Cook 8 hours or more.
More About Lori Gizz
Lori is a visual artist, cook, and food stylist. She is a native of Rhode Island who now lives in NYC and who also travels the world in search of food adventure. She recently launched her website www.thegizzcooks.com, sharing her healthy, clean and easy recipes and cooking with real ingredients, the way her grandmother always did. Follow Lori on Instagram @gizznyc for inspiration and creative food ideas.