If you don't have a slow cooker. STOP reading this and run out and get one! Seriously, they are next to nothing at Kmart, Target, Big W etc... and they need to be a staple in your Kitchen right now. As winter approaches they are about to become your best friend.
I's a massive fan of slow cookers for a number of reasons; they are super quick and easy to prepare and 'set and forget' when you have a busy day ahead, the flavour-bomb in your meals is insane, your body more easily digests slow cooked meats over pan/oven roasted meats, and it fills your home with the most delicious smells (hello warm cozy home, heater on and the scent of your dinner cooking away without you having to even touch it).
To be honest I didn't really know how to use mine when I first started cooking with it. I googled a few recipes to get started, but now I have my go-to items always in the fridge and pantry to whack on a meal whenever I foresee a hectic day ahead, or when I feel like a beautiful comforting nourishing meal.
There's a tonne of inspiration out there in cook books (my personal favourite is anything by Pete Evans) if you want to get all fancy pants, but today I want to give you a few tips and tricks to put in your back pocket that won't see you running out to the supermarket to get all the ingredients.
Here's a really easy guide to follow to have the most delicious meals ready to go at all times (or whip up a batch of something on a Sunday and pop portions in the freezer for ready-made meals).
Stock these essential items in your pantry (I always buy organic to reduce my toxin/chemical exposure):
Cans diced tomatoes
Cans coconut milk/cream
Vegetable stock/bone broth
Tomato paste (handy but not essential)
Herbs: salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger/garlic (fresh if you can), cumin, coriander, garam masala, chilli etc.
Fill your fridge at the start of week with a few of these meats and veggies:
Mince (either lean beef, chicken, turkey)
Chicken Breasts/Thighs/Chicken or Lamb Roast
Fresh cauliflower, broccoli, zucchinis, carrots, asparagus, spinach, coriander, parsley... literally anything that takes your fancy in the veggie section.
**Optionals: olives, red wine
Ok, here's my super duper simple recipe list of things you can whip up in flash (in the morning before work):
CHICKEN ROAST/LAMB SHOULDER: mmm did anyone say slow roasted lamb? yummy! This will seriously melt in your mouth. Roughly chop an onion into large chunks and place on the bottom of your slow cooker. Place roast of choice on top. Pour a can of diced tomatoes over your roast and season with salt and pepper. Throw in some garlic/ginger roughly chopped and pour in stock/broth until it reaches the base of your roast (your roast shouldn't be soaking in it, just touching). Set on low and leave all day or around 8 hours (longer the better). Serve with roasted or steamed veggies (I love pumpkin, sweet potato broccoli and brussel sprouts).
CURRY: This one is my absolute favourite! Brown diced onion in a frying pan with 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil. Dice up any veggies you have handy and add to the pan. Toss in garlic/ginger and some yummy spices like garam masala and cumin. If you have tomato paste add 1-2 tablespoons here. Add minced meat of choice and brown up. Now add can coconut milk/cream and a cup of veggie stock/broth. If you don't mind it hot, add some chilli flakes here. Stir and transfer to your slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper and slow cook for 3-4 hours on low. Serve with some brown or cauliflower rice.
VEGGIE PACKED STEW: Using the same principals above up until the coconut cream part, brown up your onion, veggies, mince, spices and tomato paste. Add can of tomatoes and some stock/broth. Transfer to slow cooker and add more broth if you think it needs it. Cook on slow for 3-4 hours (or more). *To turn this into a mediterranean dish, add some olives and basil.
BOLOGNESE SAUCE: This one is my partner's absolute favourite. We make up a big batch and use half turkey half beef mince (the turkey gives it a sweeter taste). Brown onion in wok with some coconut oil and add diced zucchini, carrots, celery, etc (and mushrooms if you have some). Add 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste and spices of choice like mixed herbs, cumin, coriander etc. Add mince and brown. Now pour can tomatoes into the mixture as well as some stock/broth. Pop in 250ml of red wine. Transfer to slow cooker and cook on low for a couple of hours (or more depending on the time you have). Serve over zucchini/carrot noodles, cauliflower/brown rice or spinach (my partner just boils up pasta and has some bread on the side to make it more family friendly).
There! How easy is that?
Happy cooking #fitbitchfamily
Hayley @ fitbitch
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