You know you are showing your age when you get excited about kitchen gadgets. I am honestly 25 and not 45 guys. My slow cooker is my best friend and it’s one gadget that’ll change the full time working gal’s life – it’s a game changer.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a fridge full of food but comes home feeling pants and tired and decides to order in a takeaway. It’s simply because I can’t be bothered to stand over the oven and make a half assed meal. With a little effort the night before or in the morning it can save your bank balance, your health and you’re getting a nutritional, healthy, home cooked meal. That is a win win for me.
I use my slow cooker around 3/4 times a week and sometimes more if I’m working late. I’ve got a few staple recipes that I’ll have day every week and I’m experimenting with more. Here are my top few for any slow cooker newbies!
The night before, chop up an onion and grab your chicken thighs. I’ll pop them into the slow cooker pot with a selection of spices. My go to are a teaspoon of ginger, garlic, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin and gram masala. If you don’t have these to hand you can pick up curry seasoning especially for the slow cooker from Schwartz. I’ll leave the meat to marinate over night in the fridge. The morning before, I’ll add a tin of chopped tomatoes and around 100ml of water and leave it on the low setting whilst I’m at work. Once I’m home, I’ll give it a stir and add more spices if needed. Then I’ll cook some rice and it’s ready to serve!
Beef and Vegetable Stew
The morning before I’ll add my beef and vegetables into the slow cooker pot. Usually I use a carrot and swede but I’ve added parsnips, peas and a variety in before. Note – if you want potatoes in your stew, add these in around an hour before serving as they’ll be all starchy and pants. You can add herbs to flavour: I usually go with rosemary, parsley and mixed herbs with some salt and pepper. I’ll then pour in around 400ml of water into the pot and add 2 beef stock cubes. I’ll also add in 2 tablespoons of Bisto. I’ll leave it on low setting whilst I’m out. Once I’m home, I’ll either add some cubed potatoes in an hour before I’m due to serve it or whip up some mash potato. If the gravy is looking runny, add more Bisto until it reaches a consistency you like.
Chicken Fajita Bowls
The morning before I’ll chop up an onion and some peppers. I’ll pop these into my slow cooker pot along with some chicken breasts. I usually do one for however many people are eating. I’ll then add some chopped tomatoes, 50ml of water and some seasoning. You can either make your own with chilli powder or use any Mexican fajita mix. I’ll leave it on the low setting and once I’m home, I’ll shred the chicken with two forks. Once shredded, I’ll grab my bowls and fill with salad, flavoured rice, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. I’ll add my shredded chicken and finish off with a little bit of cheese, or a lot of cheese. A much healthier version on fajitas!
This one requires a little more effort and it’s my go to on a lazy Saturday where I want to be a little healthy. Il’l chop up an onion, 2 leeks and pop them in a pan where I’ve melt a knob of butter. I’ll let them soak up the butter and add some garlic. Once they are all covered in butter I’ll put it in the slow cooker, add two chicken thighs and pour 300ml of chicken stock (I use 2 oxo cubes) into the pot.I’ll add some herbs such as thyme, mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper. I’ll leave it on a low heat either all day or on high for around 4 hours. About half an hour before I’m ready to serve, I’ll take the chicken out of the pot and shed the chicken removing all bones. I’ll leave this on the side whilst I blitz the soup with my liquidiser until it’s super smooth. I’ll then grab another bowl and put in 2 table spoons of plain flour and around 20ml of cream. I’ll ladel 2 spoons of the soup mixture in and blend it together. Once blended, I’ll pour it back into the slow cooker with the rest of the mixture and stir it until mixed. It should thicken the soup up and make it creamier. I’ll then add the chicken back into the soup and let it absorb the flavours for around 30 minutes, then it’s ready to serve!
I’m always looking to try new recipes so let me know in the comments of one’s that you use on a regular basis!