Dietitian’s Favourite Slow Cooker Meals & Recipes

Imagine returning home after a hectic day at work to the delightful aroma of a slow-cooked meal awaiting your arrival. Slow cookers, the unsung heroes of the kitchen, demand minimal effort while delivering maximum returns. In the eyes of a Registered Dietitian, these culinary marvels stand out as champions, especially when aiming for nutritious meals during time or budget constraints. 

Today, let’s explore the world of slow cooker recipes, slow cooker meals, and the myriad benefits and health advantages that come with embracing the best slow cooker in your kitchen.

 

Advantages of Slow Cooking for Health and Budget

In a recent revelation by Electric Ireland, the slow cooker emerges as a cost-efficient alternative. While ovens, immersion heaters, and tumble dryers rank high in energy consumption, the slow cooker operates at a mere 200 watts (0.10 cents) per hour on a low setting. This energy-saving powerhouse not only eases the burden on your wallet but also promotes healthy eating habits.

Moreover, slow cooking eliminates the need for excess fats or oils, making dishes more calorie-friendly. The process intensifies flavours, allowing for a reduction in added salt—a double win for heart-healthy cooking.

 

Slow Cooker Top Tips for Nutrient-Rich Meals

1.Versify your vegetables

 Adding extra vegetables is a great way to enhance your gut health. Adding a few handfuls of fresh spinach, a cup of defrosted peas, or even some drained and rinsed chickpeas towards the end of your cooking time can help boost the nutritional profile of your meal. 

2. Spice it up

Adding some mixed herbs, turmeric, paprika, or even dried chilli flakes is a simple way to help enhance the flavour of a warm, hearty stew or curry dish. Make sure to taste before serving to ensure the dish is brimming with flavour. 

3. Simmer down on the liquid.

 Slow cookers retain the water or any stock you add, so it’s important to no add too much liquid into the dish. Remember, less is more – you can always add more, but you can’t as easily take out unwanted liquid as easily. If you find you have added slightly too much liquid, just simply add the content to a saucepan and simmer down until the liquid has reduced to maximise the flavours and avoid diluting your dish! 

4. Jazz it up

Play around with different cuts of meat you wouldn’t normally cook. Beef, lamb and pork dishes tend to work really well as the longer cooking time allows the protein fibres in the meat to become soft and succulent. Having different cuts of meat you wouldn’t normally eat also means that you are eating different nutrients. An example includes the B-vitamin content of stewing beef being higher than beef mince (2). 

 

Family Favourite Slow Cooker Recipe

Peanut Chicken Curry

©Pixabay, Chicken Curry_RitaE

 

Serves 6  | Ingredients 

  • 6 chicken fillets, diced 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced 
  • 2 tbsp light soya sauce 
  • Juice of 1 lime 
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger 
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder 
  • 1 red onion, diced 
  • 1 tbsp cornflour 
  • 1 chilli, diced (optional)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter (crunch or smooth)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes 
  • 1 tin coconut milk 

 

Method 

  1. Combine all the ingredients together, stir well and cook in a slow cooker on low heat for 5 hours with the lid on. 
  2. Serve with freshly cooked rice broccoli and sprinkle with chopped peanuts for an added crunch! 

 

A Dietitian’s Top Tip

If you usually struggle for time in the morning to make breakfast, you can give yourself a head start to the day by making porridge in the slow cooker overnight! Simply combine porridge oats and your favourite milk in the slow cooker and leave it on low to gently turn into a comforting creamy porridge overnight; top with some cinnamon, fresh fruit, and seeds for a warm belly hug in the morning. Find more breakfast recipes here

 

Explore More Slow Cooker Recipes by Inside Out Nutrition

Gillian from Inside Out Nutrition has crafted a collection of delectable slow cooker recipes. Explore and purchase the Essential Slow Cooker E-Cookbook at the Inside Out Nutrition Shop. 

Sources of Information 

  1. Electric Ireland. Available on: www. electricireland.ie
  2. Mc Cance and Widdowson’s Food Composition Database. Foods Integrated Dataset 2021.