Kick Start Your Health in 2016: Week Three
Ok, so there has been a 'little' gap in between posts - Jan and Feb have been really busy for me!
Stage Five: Be Time Savvy
This is where the slow cooker comes into its own; time is one of the major factors for people to fall off the wagon or eat badly (myself included). A weekly meal planner really helps, as does planning minimum-input meals!
I have been known to buy bags of ready chopped veg to save time, especially when my little one was in the very little stages; I simply did not have time to stand and chop veg for hours and slave over a stove. I was not a confident baby wearer, but that is one option for prepping a meal. For me, it was ready prepped veg.
Some of our favourite dishes are seriously simple and healthy...I have included some recipes and inspiration for you to follow. Please feel free to add your own, I would like this to be a growing resource :)
Now, this can be any kind of stew you like. If you eat meat then diced stewing steak or lamb steak works well, if not then a veg stew is great, perhaps throw in some pulses to add protein to the dish...
* 600g lean diced beef (change to whatever you prefer as I say above)
* 1kg ready chopped casserole veg; this is made up of turnips, swede, carrots, onion and celery
* 1 Pint stock
* Bay leaf
* 1 tbs tomato puree
Chuck everything into the slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours. Serve!
Spaghetti Bolognaise Sauce
Completely English version so I do apologise to any Italians!
* 500g lean minced beef (or equivalent)
* 1 carton passata with basil
* Crushed garlic clove
* Thyme, oregano, bay leaf
* Handful of mixed peppers
* If we are really needing to bulk out the meal then I add diced carrot and swede (frozen!) and/or lentils
Throw everything in. Cook on low for about 4-5 hours. Boil up your pasta and serve.
Chilli con carne
Similar to the spag bol...apart from I use regular passata or chopped tomatoes, throw in a tin of kidney beans and use the following to spice:
* Chilli flakes
* Balsamic vinegar (this sweetens up the chopped toms without the need for sugar)
* 500g free range chicken or turkey
* 1/3 chorizo
* Two peppers, diced
* One onion, diced
* Three sticks of celery, chopped
* 1 tin chopped tomatoes
* Smoked paprika or cajun seasoning
Cook on low for 5 hours, then add 1 cup of long grain rice and 2 cups of chicken/veg stock and cook on high for 30 mins. I also throw in frozen peas and sweetcorn at this stage too. Fab with a salad and a yoghurt/garlic dip.
Moroccan Lamb Stew
* 500g Lean diced lamb
* Red onion, diced
* Diced Peppers
* Tin chopped tomatoes
* Tin chickpeas
* Crushed garlic
* Cinnamon stick
* Balsamic vinegar
Throw it all in and cook on low for 5 hours until lamb is cooked. Great with cous cous and roasted veg!
* Chunks of carrots, onion and celery in the bottom of the crock pot like a trivet
* Joint of meat
Cook according to the weight of the meat. Always ensure that it is fully cooked before serving
* Quorn sausages (you can use meat but this is my preference!)
* Onion, diced
* Peppers, diced
* Swede and Carrot, diced
* Cannelini beans
* Two tins of tomatoes
* Crushed garlic
* Small amount of smoked paprika, thyme, paprika, black pepper, bay leaf
* 1/3 Chorizo, diced
Again...throw it all in! Cook on low for about 3 hours or until the quorn sausages and veg is cooked through.
You can add extra veg, or change the content to suit you, but the main point is that you can throw everything in all at once and BULK out with loads of good stuff. There's no fat (apart from the fat in the meat, I haven't added any to any of my recipes) and no sugar. You are slow cooking your food in one pot and eating everything in it, so any escaped nutrients are remaining in the surrounding sauce. With a roast dinner, the escaped fluid can be used to start off bone broth, which is amazingly nutritious!
Just goes to show that good, healthy, nutritious food doesn't need to be super complicated or time consuming; there are some perfectly acceptable cheating methods out there and these recipes are family friendly and REAL FOOD! Not a packet of meal replacement powder in sight ;)
Love, health and happiness
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