Slow Carb Secret Weapon: The Slow Cooker |
In the realm of low-carb diets, your slow cooker is a favorite tool of low-carb gurus. You simply throw all the ingredients in, turn it on, and let it cook while you do something else. But what if you can actually get more bang for your buck with your slow cooker?
Are you sick of the same old fare? If so, you may want to consider adding a slow cooker to your arsenal. The slow cooker is a kitchen staple that can help you throw together a flavorful, healthy meal in minutes, all while the system itself takes care of most of the cooking.
Slow cooking is one of the best ways to preserve and save time. It’s also a brilliant way to enjoy tasty and nutritious food without spending all day in the kitchen. The slow cooker has become one of the most popular kitchen gadgets of all time; but as with any kitchen tool, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. In this post we’re going to look at the different types of slow cookers, their unique strengths and weaknesses, and how you can use this nifty appliance to cook some delicious meals for your family.. Read more about slow carb chicken recipes and let us know what you think.
The slow carb diet is wonderful in many ways: losing weight, eating properly, not feeling hungry all of the time, having a day when you can eat anything you want… all of these things are what make the diet work. There are, however, a number of things about it that are inconvenient. One of them is the fact that preparing your own meals all of the time may become very time-consuming, especially when it comes to legumes! This is where I believe one of the most important slow carb diet secret weapons, the slow cooker, comes into play.
Slow cookers (also known as crock pots) make it simple to cook food at low temperatures for extended periods of time. They’re fantastic for stews, chilies, lengthy braises, baked beans, pulled pork, and a variety of other comfort foods. In general, you combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, set it on “low,” and simmer it for 8 to 11 hours. After that, you’ll have some delicious hot goodies waiting for you to enjoy.
This is especially beneficial for individuals on the slow-carb diet since this cooking technique is excellent for legumes. If you throw beans into the slow cooker with enough liquid, you’ll almost always get properly cooked beans after 9 hours (of course, this will result in bland beans, but there are methods for that). This greatly simplifies things: you won’t have to soak the beans overnight, boil them for an extended period of time, or stand around the whole time they’re cooking. As a result, after all of the ingredients are in the pot, you may walk away and go on with your life. Lentils are even simpler: they can typically be mixed in with the meat and the rest of the ingredients and will be completely cooked by the time the meal is finished.
Here’s the basic recipe to show you how simple it is to prepare beans in the slow cooker: 1 pound dry beans (washed and picked over), 2 bay leaves, and 5 cups liquid (water or chicken broth) in a slow cooker for 9-11 hours. Done. You’ll have some delicious, slightly seasoned beans that you can use in any dish and they’ll turn out perfectly every time. You can either put them on in the evening and have beans ready the following morning, or you can put them on in the morning and have beans ready when you come home. This will also provide a LOT of beans; you’ll typically be set for the rest of the week.
But, apart from making beans simple, my favorite feature of the slow cooker is the variety of comfort foods it can prepare. I enjoy using the slow cooker to create carnitas, shredded chicken, and Moroccan stews – all kinds of delicious, full, decadent meals that don’t seem like “diet food” at all.
One thing to keep in mind when using a slow cooker: a little more time invested at the start will produce MUCH better results in the end. Many people prefer to save time by cutting up a lot of vegetables, tossing them in the slow cooker with some meat, and then returning to discover watery, tasteless mush. Little shortcuts, such as microwaving the aromatics (onions, garlic, spices, etc.) ahead of time or browning the meat in the slow cooker insert before cooking, add significant depth of flavor and make a huge difference. So, if you’re reading a slow cooker recipe and it says to perform these things, don’t skip them.
Here are a few additional fast slow cooker cooking tips:
- Slow cookers generally come with ceramic inserts, but some have stove-safe metal inserts. I’ve got an All-Clad with a metal insert and love the convenience: it allows you to brown things in the slow cooker directly, which means you get all the tasty browned bits and also means one less pan to clean. The downside — the metal inserts for this are really pricey and hard to find. The Cooks Illustrated people recommend a Crock-Pot slow cooker, but it doesn’t come with a metal insert. So if you can fork out the dough, grab a metal insert. If not, don’t sweat it 🙂
- Cooking on low is supposed to be better, and I’m sure it is. However, in my experience, cooking on high does not result in a substantial reduction in quality. And, considering that cooking on high may save you anywhere from 4-6 hours, it’s sometimes a no-brainer.
- I can’t fathom using anything less than a 6 1/2-quart slow cooker. That may seem to be a large slow cooker, but you’ll want to be able to fit things like pork shoulders in there, as well as onions and all the other deliciousness that comes with it… So go for broke!
And here’s the most important tip: the hands-down, no-argument, absolute best book on cooking with slow cookers is “Slow Cooker Revolution” by the folks at America’s Test Kitchen. This book has some of the best recipes I’ve ever eaten anywhere (slow cooker or not). Their advice on using the slow-cooker is spot on and easy-to-understand. Bottom line: this book completely changed the way I use a slow cooker, and I’ve never had a bad meal out of it. Highly, highly recommended.
So that’s all for my slow cooker suggestions, one of the slow carb diet’s hidden weapons. Make good use of it and share your thoughts, ideas, tips, and recommendations in the comments section below!
For those of you who are new to the world of slow cooking, I’ll break it down for you using a few of my favorite dishes. (For the full story, check out my blog post on the slow cooker.). Read more about slow carb diet meal plan and let us know what you think.