or someone that loves to cook soups, stews, chili and other one pot meals and knows the nutritional and time-saving merits of slow-cooking, it is still a mystery to me why my Rival Crock-Pot sat unused (in my basement) for over four years. When I finally used it a few weeks ago, all the good things I imagined would happen did, and I wondered why I had waited so long.
low cooking came into popularity in the 1970s when a large number of women entered the work force and quick dinner solutions eased their evening burden. The idea that you could start dinner in the a.m., simmer it safely and slowly while at work and come home to a fully cooked meal was very pleasing. All that is generally required of the crock pot user is to place raw food (usually some type of skinless poultry, beef or pork and vegetables), liquid (such as broth, wine, water, oil, or some combination) and herbs/seasoning into the ceramic or porcelain crock and turn it on. Depending on the size of the slow cooker, recipes should clearly indicate the proportions of raw food to liquid needed for best results. For easy serving and cleaning, the“crock” usually slips in and out of the heating element base which can be either manually operated (Off, Low & High) or (in newer models) digitized with automatic timers and settings. Food generally cooks between 200 and 300 degrees over 6-8 hours with a heavy lid holding in heat, moisture and flavor.
esides the pleasure of having dinner ready when you get home from work, slow-cookers have other benefits for bariatric patients. Leaner and cheaper cuts of meat and poultry (which can be a bit tough & hard to chew when roasted or grilled) practically melt in your mouth after 6-8 hours in a crock pot, making more types of protein tolerable post- operatively. Vitamins and minerals which can leach into cooking water when vegetables are boiled, steamed or microwaved, may also “melt” into the slow-cooker’s “gravy” and will be consumed when you eat your stew, instead of poured down the drain. Depending on the size of your crock pot (2 – 7 quarts) multiple delicious meals may be cooked, portioned and frozen by using your slow cooker just a few times per month. When you select slow cooker recipes, please choose those that focus on protein and vegetables and limit those with potato and grains. If you choose to make chili or other stews containing beans in a slow-cooker, note that raw beans contain a toxin that will not be killed at the low temperatures slow cookers maintain. Be sure to use canned beans or boil your beans for at least 30 minutes before putting them into a slow cooker recipe.
EST ADVICE: Don’t wait! COOK LOW and SLOW for delicious and nutritious satisfying meals.
Nancy Murphy, RDN, CDE