COOK CLUB: Hy-Vee Dietitians take slow cooker out of the box

Watch Tuesday's KCRG-TV9 at midday segment

Carly Weber
Published: January 15 2014 | 3:36 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:09 am in

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?

On Jan. 14 on KCRG-TV9, Oakland Road Hy-Vee Dietitian Linda Alexander shared three creative and healthy ways to use a slow-cooker that will earn it a permanent home on your kitchen counter.


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


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

Serves 6

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.


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

Serves 8

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 by dietitian Linda Ashley

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