You leave the office, truck along your commute, and as you approach your front steps, the daunting question you’ve been wrestling since 2:00pm continues to linger: what’s for dinner? We understand that cooking during the weeknights can be a complete hassle, and we know the struggle, so we’re here to help: enter slow cooking. As fresh produce becomes scarce in the winter and your intake of fresh vegetables and fruit declines, it’s easy to fall short on some important nutrients that your body needs. Using a slow cooker is an excellent option, because it allows you to make recipes that incorporate seasonal produce, but allows you to batch cook an entire week’s menu. Slow cooking also offers nutritional health benefits. The slow, gentle heat used in cooking also helps to preserve important nutrients in addition to bringing out the delicious flavours from your food. Certain antioxidants in food (for example, lycopene in tomatoes or lutein in spinach) may offer more nutritional perks for your body when they’re heated rather than consumed fresh, as the heat makes them more absorbable by the body. Here are 3 of our favourite recipes to help get you started this year.
Not only is this vegetable stew vegan and gluten-free, but it’s full of so many good-for-you ingredients. Veggies like eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers give you the variety you crave with so many of the nutrients your body needs. You can expect to find antioxidants like selenium (through mushrooms), vitamin C (zucchini), and dietary fibre through all of the above!
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 2 red onions
- 3 medium- sized potatoes, chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 small eggplants, trimmed and chopped into chunks
- 3 small zucchinis, trimmed and chopped into chunks
- 4 bell peppers of assorted colours, cored and cubed
- 3 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into medium chunks
- 4 portabello mushroom caps, cut into large chunks
- ¼ cup of white wine
- 2 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar; can add more to taste
- 2 tbsp of arrowroot
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add olive oil, onions, potatoes and garlic cloves to a large pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes, or until onions begin to look translucent. Make sure garlic does not begin to brown. Once ready, transfer into your slow cooker.
- Add eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, wine and thyme. Set on LOW for 3 ½ hours, stirring once midway.
- After the time has elapsed, turn your pot onto HIGH and add vinegar.
- Mix arrowroot with 6 tbsp of water until it starts to look like a paste.
- Pour into the crock pot and stir.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 15-20 minutes. This will slightly thicken the liquid in the pot.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- This can be served hot, at room temperature, or cold!
Sweet Potato Soup
What’s not to say about sweet potato? A good source of vitamin C, iron and magnesium, it is equal parts healthy and delicious! With one medium sweet potato serving up over 400% of your daily vitamin A needs, sweet potatoes are not only higher in nutrients than their plainer alternative, but lower in calories too!
- 2 onions
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp of freshly grated ginger
- 1 tbsp of mild curry powder
- ½ cinnamon stick
- ¼ cup of sliced almonds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Non-fat Greek yogurt for serving (optional)
- Combine onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, ginger, curry, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper and 6 cups of water into a 5-6 qt slow cooker.
- Let ingredients cook and remain covered until vegetables are very tender. This should take 7-8 hours on LOW, or 4-5 on HIGH.
- Once cooked to satisfaction, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture.
- When ready to serve, top with almonds and a dollop of yogurt.
This hearty and healthy recipe will certainly help you get through the workweek. High in protein, fibre, iron and vitamin C, this recipe is full of great ingredients that will help you stay immune-strong this winter, and can be enjoyed in a host of ways. For a change of pace, try over quinoa, in a taco salad or over zucchini noodles!
- 2 tsp of olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 pound of extra lean ground turkey
- 4 tbsp of chili powder
- 2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp of salt, plus more to taste
- 1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes
- 1 ¼ cups of low- sodium chicken broth
- 2 cans of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can of sweet corn, rinsed and drained
- Non-fat Greek yogurt
- Over medium heat add oil, garlic, onions, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano and ½ teaspoon of salt to a large frying pan.
- Once onions and garlic have softened, add turkey. Break turkey up with a wooden spoon and stir until it is evenly coated with spices.
- When turkey is almost cooked, pour into your slow cooker and add remaining ingredients.
- Stir all of the ingredients, cover and set to cook on LOW for 5-7 hours.
- Serve with your choice of toppings and enjoy!
To further ensure you’re not falling short on any essential nutrients, winter is a good time to start taking a multivitamin every day. Jamieson 100% Complete Multivitamins provide at least 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamins you need to maintain your health all year long.