I’m not sure I could live happily without my beloved slow cooker, I really don’t. Any client, friend or family member will testify to the fact that purchasing a slow cooker is always one of the first things I recommend when giving dietary advice.
You see, just like many of my clients, time is a rare and precious commodity in my world and has been for many years. As a business owner and someone that has also worked in the busy corporate world, I have always dedicated a big chunk of the day to my career so any chance to simplify or take time off my long list of daily tasks is embraced with open arms. Whilst I absolutely love to cook, I am miserable at the thought of cooking a meal from scratch and cleaning up after a long day of working hard. Sadly, my husband is the same – so neither of us want to cook when we get home from work, yet we are both committed to eating nutritious food. Quite the dilemma… Sound familiar?
So, I guess my infatuation with my slow cooker began as a strategic choice for a happy home life. As a naturopath my ideal weekday starts with morning exercise, a productive day at the clinic, healthy eating choices throughout the day and a relaxing evening to wind down. Slow cooking has been a gift in helping me achieve this.
Let me tell you why:
- Slow cooking is beautifully simple: I chop up a maximum of 4-5 ingredients in the morning, put in slow cooker and cook for 8 -9 hours normally. My vegetables are rarely peeled, except onions of course and it’s a simple case of roughly chop and throw them in the cooker! Dinner is then ready when I get home from work or is warming nicely due to the timer. A much more calming and relaxing way to spend my evening.
- Amazing flavours: slow cooking is a wonderful way to maximise flavour from cooking a whole chicken on vegetables, simmering a curry or soup, casserole, legume dish or more.
- A healthy way to cook: where meat is concerned, cooking quickly can create carcinogens as a by-product. In comparison, in slow cooking meat you receive the health benefits of collagen and gelatin whilst keeping the vitamins often destroyed when cooking at high temperatures. I always make sure I add handfuls of extra greens like broccoli, baby spinach, silver-beat or green beans to my dish
- Versatile: I don’t simply cook stews, casseroles and soups. I cook roasts, vegetarian dishes jammed pack full of vegetables, tofu and pulses, deserts and more.
As winter approaches, why not consider using a slow cooker on time poor days, especially if you have children or a demanding work routine? You will not only save time and reduce the stress of busy evenings, but you will be eating a healthy and delicious meal every night.
This slow cooker chuck steak & pumpkin curry is bursting with flavour and so easy to prepare. It is also gluten free, dairy free and sugar free plus it tastes even better the next night for leftovers and freezes beautifully.
- 2 1/4 tablespoons curry powder (I use Keens curry powder)
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin
- 1.5 tsp ground turmeric
- 1.5 tsp ground coriander
- 3 tsp dried chili flakes (or less if you like it very mild)
- Salt & Pepper (few pinches of each)
- 1.25 kgs organic chuck streak cut in chunks
- 2 brown onions
- 500 grams organic pumpkin, diced or sweet potato
- 1.5 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 organic red capsicums
- 300 mL coconut cream
Combine all of your spices in a small dish and have ready
Chop onions and capsicums in thick chunks
Peel your pumpkin and dice into cubes
In a saucepan, heat coconut oil and then add your spices, onion and capsicum and cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
Now in your slow cooker, mix your chuck steak, ingredients from your fry pan and pumpkin and then pour in the coconut cream and mix through.
Set your slow cooker to cook on low for 10-12 hours.
Serve on brown or white rice. For a low carb version serve on cauliflower rice or on it’s own with green steamed beans on the side.
This is also a wonderful dish to cook on a weekend instead of ordering an expensive take-away and much healthier for you!