I used to love cooking my own food, but having a newborn baby, tiredness, emotions, hormones – I have never been as unhealthy as i have been over the last 8 months. I try to limit my intake of processed foods, takeaways were something that I hardly ever had, and were a real treat. I can’t say I was a saint with food, but I was quite happy to rustle up food after work.
So one day, I got so fed up. I looked over to the corner and saw the slow cooker standing there. I ripped it out of the packaging, and I decided to give it a go. I’d been shopping and decided I would use the veg this week, instead of letting it go off as usual.
And I must say, it has helped me out so much!
We chose the slow cooker mainly because there was two in the shop, and we just chose which one we liked the look of! What we have got is a Crock-pot 3.5 litre slow cooker. It has 3 settings – low, high and keep warm. 1 hour on high is about 2 on low if I remember correctly. It’s very easy to use, and the 3.5l is plenty big enough for me, my partner and bubs. Now I’ve got the bug though, and I am very tempted to try a gammon or pork in the slow cooker (all for myself! haha) but I may need a bigger one for that. As it is just for me, I am hoping I can get some small cuts of meat to give it a go.
I have made vegetable casserole, vegetable korma and a vegetable stew. I got back into cooking so much I even made my lentil chilli, even when I had left it too late to get the slow cooker out. It has reinvigorated my love of cooking and i am thinking of different things to try. Bubs is loving it, as she is getting loads of nutritious meals, full of veg and pulses and beans.
There are loads of facebook groups and g+ groups about slow cooking, and they have been really helpful as well as full of recipes to try. You can cook roast chickens, bake cakes and even cook bread in a slow cooker!
I have tended to make up a recipe as I go along, and so far it hasn’t gone wrong. I chuck whatever veg we have in, as well as stock, passata, chopped tomatoes, curry paste/herbs/spices/sauces and leave all day – at least 7 hours on low. Here is what I did to make Vegetable Casserole:
2 celery sticks
1 tin chopped tomatoes
passata (half a jar)
stock (I filled the empty chopped tomatoes tin with water and 1 teaspoon of stock powder)
tomato paste (couple of squeezes)
I chopped all the veg up, added it to the slow cooker, added the tomatoes, passata, stock and gave it all a good stir. i did had a small sprinkle of herbs – it says in the instruction book that dried herbs can over do it in the slow cooker so to only had a small amount.
I am feeling so much better in myself for eating healthier, getting back to cooking food from scratch and think it has made me feel a bit better mentally as well as physically. With slow cooking, you don’t really need to add oils or fats, so it really is low-fat cooking as well. I was also quite chuffed to find out you can chuck in frozen veg into the slow cooker – I have quite stock of frozen bits and pieces.
It may be a slightly lazy way to cook, but it has really helped me to get my cooking mojo back. I really think it will come into its own when I get back to work. I am hoping I can prep the food the night before, then chuck it all in to the slow cooker in the morning, before I go to work.
As we are currently eating a veggie diet in the house (although I eat meat, I don’t tend to cook it for main family meals) I am really trying to find different and tasty veggie slow cooking meals – if you have any you’d like to share, leave me a comment!