Friday, 6 May 2016

It's Summer - Time to Grab Your Slow Cooker for Great Low Fat Meals!

It's Summer - Grab Your Slow Cooker for Great Low Fat Meals!
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, slow cooking is a great way to stay cool in the kitchen on long, hot summer days! You probably think of your slow cooker along side warming Autumn soups and hearty Winter stews, but think again! So, if you’ve tucked away your Crock-Pot or slow-cooker as the weather’s got warmer, bring it back out of hibernation.

5 Fabulous Advantages to Summer Cooking with a Slow Cooker

When you think about it, it’s easy to see why you’d want to keep your slow cooker out on the counter this summer:
  1. You can produce delicious hot food without having to use the oven (and therefore avoiding turning the kitchen into a blast furnace)
  2. It’s particularly useful when feeding a crowd for family get-togethers (who doesn’t love a bowl of Chili Blanco at the weekend?)
  3. Slow cooking is easy on the pocket (you can use cheaper cuts of meat, which become melting tender and moist when cooked this way, )
  4. Spice and aromatic flavours fully develop and deepen with slow cooking, great for many summer time favourites from main courses such as Barbecue Chicken Sliders to side dishes such a Boston Baked Beans
  5. Slow cooking is great for low fat cooking, especially on the Mediterranean Diet.

8 Super Tips For Successful Slow Cooking All Year Round

    Slow-cooking is an easy and stress-free method of cooking but as is often the case in life in general, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail! So here’s my 8 super tips that will guarantee successful slow cooking all year round!
    1. Make sure your ingredients are evenly cut into similar sized pieces
    2. To keep down the fat, especially the saturated variety, remove the skin and any visible fat from meat and chicken.
    3. You can often prepare the ingredients in advance the evening before, then store in the fridge overnight in a sealable, airtight container and add to the slow cooker in the morning.
    4. Be extra careful with dried beans when cooking in a slow cooker. Ensure that the dried beans are rinsed then soaked in fresh, cold water for at least 5 hrs in advance of use, then drained and rinsed again.  For red or black beans (such as kidney beans or turtle beans), pre-cook them before adding to the slow cooker. Do this by adding the soaked, drained beans to a large saucepan and cover with fresh cold water, bring to the boil and then boil rapidly for 10 mins. Drain and rinse before adding to the slow cooker.
    5. Intensifies the flavour of your ingredients by spending 10-15mins sautéing them in advance of adding them to the slow cooker. Sautéing provides caramelisation and this adds depth and complexity to your recipe, as well as improving the texture and appearance. Many slow cookers now offer a sauté function to aid this process.
    6. The other advantage to sautéing is that it brings ingredients up to a safe temperature before adding them to slow cooker. Make sure you use hot stock or sauces too.
    7. Use the right size slow cooker for your recipe and don’t over-fill it.
    8. Resist the urge to lift the lid! Each time you take a peek under the lid, you’re allowing heat to escape and extending the required cooking time. The only exception to this is if your recipe directs to add an ingredient part way through the cooking time (often 15-30 mins from the end) when you may be asked to add herbs, tender greens or pre-cooked beans, all of which just require warming through.

    Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Blanco Recipe Video

    If you are looking for a tasty low fat, slow cooker recipe that's great for Summer gatherings , then perhaps you’d like to watch my Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Blanco Recipe Video:

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