I had never used a slow cooker until a few years ago when someone gave me one as a sort-of joke. To tell the truth, I’ve come to love it! You throw in a few ingredients in the morning, you come home in the evening and dinner’s ready. The Crock-Pot debuted for home cooks over 40 years ago as a method to cook dried beans. It became an efficient way for homemakers and busy people to serve affordable, tender, delicious meals using inexpensive cuts of meat, making it easy for moms and dads to prepare wholesome meals every day.
Crockpots and other slow cookers are typically available from 2- to 7-quart capacity with a range in price from about $15- $300 and much higher, depending on the size and features.
In the cookbook, this dish calls for tilapia fillets. For the slow cooker version, halibut or any firm, 1-inch thick white fish fillet will work. The anti-inflammatory properties of fresh cilantro, ginger, and olive oil help keep skin looking young. Of course, the fish is loaded with lean protein and Omega-3s.
Halibut Fillets with Cilantro
4 halibut fillets
3/4 cup seeded and sliced tomato
¼ cup white wine or chicken broth
2 Tbs. peeled and thinly sliced gingerroot
1/2 cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped scallions
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
1. Slice one of the lemons in about 10 thin rings and place on the bottom of a 5-to-6 quart slow cooker.
2. Place the halibut fillets in a single layer on top of the lemon slices.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker.
4. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
5. Cover; cook on Low for 2-to-3 hours or until the internal temperature of the halibut is at 145˚F.
6. To serve, place each halibut fillet on a plate and garnish with a lemon wedge.
In the cookbook, this dish is called Mama’s Chicken Sauté, but it adapts well to crockpot cooking. My mother made this dish whenever we craved comfort food. It calls for hard boiled eggs, but you can leave those out, because long, slow cooking can make them rubbery. For this version, I cook the potatoes in the slow cooker with the chicken. The chicken provides selenium, and the tomatoes offer lycopene. The garlic contributes healthy allicin compounds, while the olive oil adds natural anti-inflammatory compounds (oleocanthal and oleuropein).
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. minced garlic
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups diced tomatoes
12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch strips
4 medium-sized red potatoes, cut into halves
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 bay leaves
Pinch of ground pepper
- Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker
- Cover and cook on Low for 6-to-8 hours or on High for 2-to-3 hours.
- Serve with a fresh green salad
Inexpensive cuts of beef are taken to new heights with low, slow cooking. The lysine in the beef repairs tissues and helps the skin build collagen. Try to buy grass-fed beef, because it contains Omega-3s and other healthy fats. The carrots provide beta-carotene, which our bodies convert to vitamin A, which boosts immune function. Carrots also contain lutein, which is beneficial to eye health. The natural red pigments of the cabbage (betalains) are said to lower blood sugar levels and boost insulin production. Betalains have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Asian Short Ribs
3 to 4 lbs. beef short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbs. peeled and thinly sliced gingerroot
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup carrots cut into 1-inch chunks
½ head of red cabbage, cut into quarters
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup green onions for garnish, chopped
- Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and red pepper.
- Pour over ribs in a slow cooker. Place carrots and cabbage on top. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.
- Transfer the cabbage, short ribs, and carrots to plate and cover with foil. Skim the fat from the cooking liquid and discard.
- Turn the slow cooker to high. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with ¼ cup of water until smooth.
- Whisk into the cooking liquid and cook in the slow cooker until thickened. Spoon the sauce over the short ribs and vegetables and sprinkle with the green onions.
I hope these healthful recipes will make your life a little easier and more delicious during this lock down!