Wintertime and slow-cooked meals just go together. There’s something special about the welcoming aromas of a slow-cooked dinner when you walk in the door from a busy day. But did you know your slow-cooker can make more for you than dinner?
BEAT THE BREAKFAST RUSH
Make it easy to start the day right with a satisfying whole-grain breakfast cooked slowly overnight. High-fiber whole grains, such as steel cut oats, cook easily on low in a slow-cooker and allow you to prepare enough for a full week at one time.
Slow-Cooked Steel Cut Oatmeal
Serves 8 (1 cup per serving)
8 cups water (or other liquid such as milk, almond milk or soymilk
2 cups steel cut oats
1/3 cup Hy-Vee dried cranberries
1/3 cup Hy-Vee dried apricots, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional) to taste
Combine water, oats, dried cranberries, dried apricots and salt, if desired, in a 5- or 6-quart slow-cooker. Place lid on slow-cooker and cook on low until the oats are tender and porridge is creamy, six to seven hours.
Source: Adapted from Eating Well by Hy-Vee dietitians
Nutrition information per serving: Calories 193, Carbohydrate 35 gm, Fiber 3 gm, Fat 3 gm, Cholesterol 0 mg, (if using non-dairy liquid to cook oats) Sodium 78 mg, Protein 6 gm
SPICE IT UP
Cooking with spice, such as the chicken curry recipe below, allows you to enjoy full flavors while reducing added sodium and saturated fats. Garnish your finished dish with fresh herbs for a boost of flavor.
Slow-Cooker Chicken Curry
1 (14 ounce) can lite coconut milk
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup lower-sodium chicken stock
2 rounded tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Combine coconut milk, tomato sauce, chicken broth, curry powder and salt, if desired, in slow-cooker.
Add chopped chicken breast.
Stir in diced onion and diced sweet potato.
Top with garbanzo beans and mix to combine.
Cover slow-cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.
Serve over cooked brown rice and garnish with cilantro.
Nutrition information (1 cup curry mixture and 3/4 cup rice): Calories 302; Fat 4.7 g; Saturated fat 1.9 g; Unsaturated fat 2.8 g; Trans fat 0; Carbohydrates 43.1 g; Sugar 12.2 g; Sodium 800 mg; Fiber 8.6 g; Protein 24.4 g; Cholesterol 60 mg
Source: Marion Hy-Vee dietitian and chef Jen Heringhausen on her blog Cooking is Caring.
SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT
Finish your meal on a warm note with fruit-based dessert from your slow cooker, such as a fruit cobbler. Adjust the level of sweetness to your own choosing. In fruit-based desserts, you’ll find little need to add sugar for a naturally sweet ending to your meal.
Slow-Cooker Peach Cobbler
4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (frozen is an excellent substitute for fresh)
2 cups low-fat granola, such as KIND Oat and Honey Clusters
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tablespoon Hy-Vee honey
2 tablespoon Hy-Vee butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (6 ounce) container Hy-Vee plain Greek style yogurt
Stir peaches and granola together in a greased 4-quart slow cooker.
In a small bowl, combine apple juice, honey and melted butter.
Drizzle over peach mixture.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Serve warm, with 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt as a topping.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories 180, Carbohydrate 32 gm, Sugar 17 gm, Fiber 3 gm, Fat 4.5 gm, Cholesterol 15 mg, Sodium 25 mg, Protein 3 gm
Source: Adapted from Hy-vee.com by dietitian Linda Ashley