Sharing the Slow Cooker Love

When life gets super busy from working evenings to after school activities with the kids and weekends spent at the ski hill, the slow cooker makes a regular appearance on my kitchen counter. I truly love it because not only is it a great way to make healthy meals without a lot of fuss or mess but it is also good for the budget as it’s way more economical to run your crock pot all day than it is to fire up the oven or stove.

I love coming home to the smell of dinner simmering away, i feel like my little kitchen elf has been working hard while i have been gone and that makes me very happy. You should see the celebration dance i do when someone else really does cook me dinner!!!

This weekend i used my crock pot to help me with meal prep for the week. Friday I roasted a whole chicken so we had that for lunches and i will probably make that into a chicken noodle soup later in the week. Saturday i cooked a roast beef and shredded that and we are using that for lunches also and for dinner last night which was shredded beef tacos.

As i know so many of you are as busy as i am if not more, i wanted to share these recipes and my kitchen elf with you to help make your lives a little easier and more delicious!

 

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

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1 onion, roughly chopped into large slices

1 whole chicken (4-6lbs)

1 Tbsp butter (or coconut oil)

2 Tbsp spice mix – this time around i used my Epicure Chicken & Rib rub but you can use a mix of any herbs and spices such as paprika, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. 

  • Place the chopped onion in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Rub the butter (or oil) all over the chicken then do the same with your chosen spice mix.
  • Place the chicken on top of the onions, put the lid on and cook for 7-9 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. Always remember to check the internal temperature of the chicken to make sure it’s cooked through, it should be 165F. You don’t need to add any liquid to the crockpot, just the chicken and onions.
  • Once the chicken has cooked, remove the meat from the bones and place the bones back into the crockpot. Add another onion, 2-3 stalks celery, 2 carrots, any other veggies you have lying around in the fridge, a couple of bay leaves, some sprigs of thyme and parsley (dried will also work here), 2 tablespoons of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and i even throw in couple of teaspoons of turmeric for some extra anti-inflammatory zing! Cover it with water and let it simmer on low overnight for some amazing broth.
  • Tip: Keep a produce bag on hand and collect bits and pieces of vegetables and freeze to be added to future broths. Be mindful to avoid brassicas, as they can give an unwanted bitter flavor. 

 

 

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef

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2-3 lb beef roast (chuck, brisket and round works best)

1/2 cup beef stock

2 tbsp. tomato paste

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp spice mix – this time around i used my Epicure Meatballs and Meatloaf Seasoning but again you can use your own Montreal Steak spice (see below)

  • Rub the spice mix all over the beef roast then place in a pre-heated pan on medium-high heat and using either butter or coconut oil, sear the beef roast on all sides. Place in the slow cooker.
  • Mix the stock, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar together and add to the slow cooker, cover with lid.
  • Place on low for 8-9 hours and cook until the desired internal temperature (145 – medium rare, 160 – medium).
  • Remove from the slow cooker and shred the beef, i then like to add the shredded beef back to the slow cooker mix with the remaining liquid and cook on low for a further 30 minutes or just to warm through.
  • You can use the liquid to make into a gravy if desired.

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Montreal Steak Spice

 

2 tablespoons paprika.

2 tablespoons crushed black pepper.

2 tablespoons kosher salt.

1 tablespoon granulated garlic.

1 tablespoon granulated onion.

1 tablespoon crushed coriander.

1 tablespoon dill.

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes.

  • Mix all ingredients together and keep in a mason jar

Muffins for Breakfast Anyone?

It doesn’t matter what time i get up in the morning (which is usually 5am!) I feel like I am always rushing. This is why smoothies tend to be my go to in the morning as i can pack them full of nutrition and drink them while I am making lunches and getting the kids ready.

I never get bored of smoothies, I just change up the flavours if i do but lately, I have been craving something new yet still healthy and quick so this weekend I experimented with a new recipe for breakfast that could be made ahead of time and just grab and go on the day. The end product was so delicious i had to share them with you.

Apricot Oat and Granola Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

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  • 1 ½ cups quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
  • ½ cup almond flour (I just ground up 1/2 cup of almonds in my food processor, voila, almond flour)
  • ¼ cup oat bran
  • ½ cup camu cranberries (or regular cranberries will do)
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • Grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup real maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 c). Grease a muffin pan or line with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, almond flour, oat bran, cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, orange zest, cinnamon and ginger. In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg; stir in maple syrup, oil and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until everything is moist.

Divide batter among muffin cups and pack down tightly with the back of a spoon so they stay together after baking.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Let cool for several minutes before removing from pan.

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Recipe taken from Joyous Health by Joy McCarthy

Another good make ahead breakfast is my egg muffins that i shared in a previous post. Click here, if you missed it!