By Sara Baker
As many of you know, I am one of the JillFit girls who loves to cook. With the exception of my Sunday Prep day (which usually takes a few hours) I like to find or create fast, clean, flavorful and easy recipes.
One of my favorite fat loss lifestyle cooking tools is my slow cooker/crockpot. I was fortunate to receive a very nice and massive slow cooker as a wedding gift but you can find a great crockpot for around $15 at Wal-Mart or Target. As I am sure many of you can relate, I get sick of trying to choke down dry chicken breast after dry chicken breast. Ugh! This is especially true when dieting for a competition and are limited on condiments, toppings etc.
Enter slow cooker. A great way to cook all your chicken breasts for a week is the slow cooker and it is so simple. I love that I can cook a large quantity without having to watch over it and because it is cooked on a lower temperature for a longer time, the chicken stays moist.
Just place 4 or 5 chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Add chopped onion, a few chopped garlic cloves and enough water to cover the chicken. For additional flavor, I add sodium free chicken broth/bouillon (I found this in a powder form vs. a cube form). You can also add a variety of spices such as cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, Mrs. Dash etc. Just remember all of your chicken breasts will take on this particular flavor. I then cook this either on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, depending on how much time I have. When the chicken is done, it should be so tender it should literally fall apart :) I then remove the chicken breasts and make my meals for the week. If you did not season the chicken prior you can now add individual seasonings to each chicken breast to get the flavor you desire. Here are 2 options for meal ideas:
1) Shred one of the chicken breasts and mix it with cooked peppers and onions for a Mexican type salad.
2) Chop one of the breasts to mix with broccoli and sweet potatoes for a little protein/carb/veggie “mash” VERY yummy!
Now that the weather is changing, I also am a big fan of soups. I love soup but never buy commercially grade soups for a few reasons. First, they are loaded in sodium. Even the low sodium soups are high in sodium as most of the store bought brands are shelf stable for a very long time. I also find them so incredibly easy and cheap to make that I cannot justify buying them! My favorites for fall include healthy green chili, butternut squash and turkey or buffalo chili.
With the economic recession, many more people are hopefully cooking at home. The slow cooker has really made a comeback in the last few years. I have also recently seen recipes for non-traditional slow cooker recipes such as lasagna and desserts. I have not been bold enough to try these yet as I have to find a way to adapt the recipes to make sure they are for the FLL! I will let you know when I create or discover a new recipe, until then, what are your favorite slow cooker recipes? Happy slow cooking!