real food. real life.
In December, our pretty little oven broke. It was a sad day. Extra sad because it was days before Christmas and we were about to host our first Christmas dinner for the family.
However, then, a couple months later there was a very happy day! The day it was fixed! Yay! We could bake bread again, roast vegetables, it was lovely.
The reason I bore you with this happy ending story is that while I was suffering through the cold winter months without a nice warm oven, I finally learned how to use a slow cooker. I say finally because we've had one forever and I completely ignored it. Seriously, never used it. It was a decoration in the cupboard. I had heard slow cookers were easy to use, I just never felt inspired to try it.
Well, during those months, I sure got to know my slow cooker! I even learned that yes, they are in fact easy and, with the right ingredients, can create awesomeness with very little effort! I am determined to post recipes on here that can show just that! Not using any pre-made condiments in the slow cooker, that really bugs me. You can use the natural flavour of vegetables, fruits, meats, and spices to create a flavourful dish!
It has been a little while now with a working oven, and I feel like I'm going through slow cooker withdrawal! I haven't used it much since and, I gotta say, I miss it! It is perfect for certain recipes. Like this one! Letting the curry flavours absorb into the chickpeas and sweet potato all day results in one flavourful, easy, healthy, and CHEAP meal! No lie - a can of chickpeas and a sweet potato aren't that expensive! Try it, so easy, simple, and tasty over a bed of brown rice. Yum, leftovers for lunch are calling my name!
Total Time: 5 minutes prep + 4-6 hours in slow cooker
1 medium-sized sweet potato, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 can of chickpea, rinsed
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp of following: garlic powder, ginger, cumin, tumeric
3 tbsp of curry powder
1-2 cups of vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
What to do:
1) Put everything in the slow cooker, stir, and press start! Haha, seriously, I didn't pre-cook anything. The beauty of vegetarian cooking. Cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for about 4 hours, or until potatoes are soft. Stir, often, if you can.
I miss my oven. I miss the smell of baking bread. The sweet crispiness of roasted vegetables. It's been waiting for a "part" for over a month now. Not impressed.
However, the silver lining here is that I am forced to think outside of my little cooking bubble.
We always cooked pork chops by searing then baking in the oven, paired with roasted veggies. We've had these 2 wonderful-looking, local pork chops in our freezer for a while now and I was craving the sweet juiciness that comes with all the searing and the baking. So, here goes. A different tool aiming for the a slightly similar result. Insert the slow cooker. It's been working hard this past month to give us some great meals. I've never been much into slow cooking, but I'm definitely starting to see the appeal!
The outcome? Amazing! We seared the chops first (I mean, I still have my stovetop!) and then placed them in the slow cooker with a bit of chicken broth and veggies. I actually think they are better this way. Juicy, flavourful, and still crispy on the outside front the sear. So good. And to boot, you get a lovely gravy out of the whole thing!
Total Time: 4-6 hours or 6-8 hours
2 pork chops, sprinkled with sea salt/pepper
1 onion, chopped
a couple potatoes, halved
a couple carrots, chopped into chunks
1 parsnip, chopped into chunks
1/2 cup chicken stock
tsp each of rosemary & thyme
tbsp of flour & red wine vinegar (used at end for gravy)
What to do:
1) Place veggies in bottom of slow cooker.
2) Heat a bit of oil on high heat in a medium pan. When nice and hot, place chops seasoned side down to get a nice sizzle. After a minute, flip over to sizzle the other side. Add a bit more sea salt/pepper on the side up. After another minute, remove from the pan and place on top of veggies in the slow cooker.
3) Pour chicken broth over top. Place lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or 4-5 hours on high, or basically until meat is cooked through and veggies are tender.
4) If making gravy, remove veggies and meat when they are done cooking, leaving the broth in the slow cooker. Leave heat on high, add flour, and whisk. Continue stirring until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and serve overtop meat and veggies. Oh my goodness yum.
Yes, this tastes good. Sooooo good. Very simple ingredients that are create a clean, sweet and garlicy sauce. Using the slow cooker, the meat soaks in all the yumminess of the flavours and practically falls off the bone. (As you can see by the chunks of chicken in the sauce overtop the rice in the picture, that I proceeded to gobble up seconds after this pic was taken!)
Using corn starch or arrowroot flour will help create a thicker sauce. However, it's not necessary if you're avoiding things like that. The sauce is just as delicious.
Total Time: 2-4 hours in slow cooker (or longer if using more chicken)
Chicken drumsticks/wings (We have a small slow cooker and usually only cook for 2, so we did only 5 drumsticks. Feel free to do more!)
1 stalk of green onion or leek
1/4-1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp. coconut oil (melted)
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp. hot pepper flakes
dash sea salt/pepper
2 tsp arrowroot flour or corn starch - optional at end of cooking
What to do:
1) Add sauce ingredients to slow cooker - omit arrowroot flour/corn starch until the end. Turn on high. Stir to combine.
2) Add chicken and stir to coat in sauce.
3) Cook, on high for 2-3 hours, or on low for 4-5 hours (depending on how much chicken you're using)
4) When chicken is done cooking and no longer pink on the inside (and starting to fall of the bone) remove to a side bowl. Add arrowroot flour / corn starch to sauce. Keep slow cooker on high. Stir to allow sauce to thicken. Once starting to thicken, add chicken back in and turn off heat or remain on low until ready to serve.
Pairs great with rice & summer rolls! Or at least that's what we had tonight. :)
We really cooked these things. From scratch. On weeknights. And we even had time to do the dishes.
They have real, simple ingredients that you'll find in your cupboards. They're healthy and delicious. No lies.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below!
Here's a pic of me and my babies. Just because.
A Bit About Me...