Simple Slowcooker Beef Stew

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I made this easy slowcooker meal for today’s dinner, and with a few tips it was to quick to organise.

Ingredients

1kg chopped chuck steak
250g mushrooms chopped
3 small sweet potatoes chopped chunky
3 carrots chopped chunky
1 cup chicken stock / bone broth
2 tins tomatoes
1 Tbs Paprika
1 tsp garlic
Salt and pepper
A few sprigs fresh thyme – stems removed (use 1 tsp dried thyme if you don’t have fresh)

Place all ingredients into your slowcooker. I had the beef already diced and frozen from the week before, which I had taken out of the freezer the night before. This way half the prep is done already. I chopped all other ingredients into the slowcooker with the meat and added all the spices. Place the slowcooker on Low for 6-8 hours (mine cooks really hot so I use a 24hr timer to make sure it doesn’t overcook)

Tips
  • Pre cut all slowcooker meat ahead of time and freeze in freezer bag for easy slowcooker meal options later in the week or for a few weeks later!
  • Put all ingredients into slowcooker the night before while you’re making another meal and put the insert into the fridge for the next day.
  • Prepare all ingredients for your slowcooker meal on the weekend for an easy option so there is no prep to be done during the week.
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    Ivan’s Croatian White Cabbage Salad

    Ivan, my mums amazing partner, introduced me to this salad, and ever since I have been addicted! It is so fresh, light refreshing and tangy that I use it as an accompaniment to so many meals, BBQ’s and lunches!

    Ingredients
    • 1/2 head cabbage sliced finely (use a whole cabbage for a large salad)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup coconut vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar)
    • Salt and pepper

    Put finely sliced cabbage, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper into a salad bowl and adjust flavours to your taste. You can use your hands to work the salad through and release some of the cabbage flavours. There should be enough dressing to leave a small amount (about 1/3 or more) of liquid in the bottom of the bowl when you stir it around. It should have a balance of all ingredients and the vinegar in the salad is perfect to cut through a heavier meal. Marinate for 30min and then serve with your favourite meat dish – great with sausages or lamb, essential for BBQ’s or just any meal that needs a fresh salad on the side.

    Crispy Moroccan Chicken Drumettes

    We used to make the most amazing Moroccan chicken strips with rice and a salad salsa. Normally with spelt or Gluten free flour. Since going full Paleo, I have tried combinations of almond flour and coconut flour to get similar results, however nothing ever came really close. Finally I have found a solution that works for a super yummy crispy coated chicken treat! Yes, I do mean treat. Even though this is amazing, I still would not cook like this every single night, but it is so great to have these things available for when you are wanting a great meal that brings back yummy food memories!

    Obviously we put fresh corn in the salsa, (not paleo), but the kids love the fresh corn and we had run out of cucumber so it was the next best thing!

    Ingredients

    20 chicken drumettes (small chicken drumsticks)
    3/4 cup arrowroot flour
    1 Tbs Moroccan spice mix (there are several out there that are are great with no added nasties)**
    1 Tbs Chicken spice mix (paprika, cumin, marjoram, salt, pepper or similar)**
    2-3 Tbs coconut oil or butter/ghee (tastes great with a blend of coconut oil & ghee)

    Salsa

    1 fresh corn cob – cut (substitute with cucumber for paleo)
    1 capsicum diced
    2 tomatoes diced
    1/2 cup coriander chopped

    Cauliflower Rice

    1 head cauliflower – pulsed in a blender to rice consistency
    2 Tbs coconut oil
    1 onion diced (optional if fructose intolerant)
    Salt & Pepper

    Method

    Put flour and spices into a large freezer bag and shake to blend. Add the spices – you can tell it’s right when you can smell the spices in with the flour and it gives off a strong flavour. We used a blend of chicken and Moroccan flavour because of the kids but you can go all Moroccan spice for a hotter flavour!

    Put the chicken pieces into the bag with the spices and flour and coat by shaking in the bag. Heat the oil in a hot frypan and fry the chicken in batches for approx 2min per side until golden. Place into a baking tray on a rack and place in a 200 C oven for 15min until cooked.

    For cauliflower rice, pan fry oil, onion and pulsed cauliflower until cooked to a rice like consistency. Assemble the salsa in a bowl. Serve together on a plate and enjoy the yummy crispy Moroccan flavours!

    ** there are some natural spice blends that you can find around that don’t have rice flour or sugar in them as additives. My fave, is Screaming Seeds brand, but there are plenty of others too, and you can also make your own blends!

    Slowcooker Beef Silverside

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    The orange and maple syrup in this recipe seems to cut through some of the saltiness of the beef, but I have had it without those two things as well and also loved it, so it is optional, but if you have them on hand, give it a go! If you don’t want to use the oranges just fill up the slowcooker with more water. The white sauce I make is nut free, and is based with coconut cream, so it does have a coconut flavour to it. We don’t mind that, but if you want to, test out some different brands to find the best flavour for a less strong coconut flavour. You can also add extra mustard for a richer sauce. I used white potato here because we ran out of sweet potato, but make sure when you are using sweet potato to cut the pieces quite large.

    In Slowcooker
  • 1.5 – 2kg beef silverside
  • Enough cloves to randomly spike the outside of an onion
  • 1 onion
  • 2 star anise (optional – to go with oranges)
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup or honey (you will not taste this)
  • 3-4 potatoes cut in half
  • 4 carrots cut into large pieces
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 oranges
  • Method

    Arrange vegetables around the beef in the slowccoker. Add vinegar, peppercorns, bay leaves, star anise and maple syrup into the slowcooker and squeeze juice from the oranges inside and place oranges on top. Cover with water and cook on low for approx 6hrs. Once cooked, rest for 10min (take away from direct heat of slowcooker and cover lightly with alfoil) to rest before cutting into slices.

    White Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Butter (or coconut oil/ghee)
  • Small Can of coconut cream (approx 270ml)
  • 2 Tbs Dijon or whole grain mustard (or horseradish)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Method

    Heat butter/oil & coconut cream together for a couple of minutes on a medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the parsley and simmer all until it thickens (approx 5-10min) then add parsley and serve with meat and veg from the slowcooker!

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    Slow Cooker / Crockpot Tips

    There are a few things that make cooking with a Slow Cooker / Crockpot easy. I have a few things I have found to be really helpful in preparing for my slow cooked meals.

    • Use a 24hr Power point timer – essential for organising the times you want it to turn on so your meal is ready for when you need it. This allows you to cook meals with a shorter time frame and not over cook your meal. Yes you can over-cook, and even after it’s turned off it will continue to cook with residual heat, so its a great idea to have a timer.
      24hr powerpoint timer

      This is what mine looks like, but you can get digital timers too.

    • Meal planning is essential for me. On the weekend, you can fry off your meat and put all your ingredients into a freezer bag or container so you meal is ready in the fridge or in the freezer for a quick weekday meal you can access easily.
    • If you haven’t prepared your meal on the weekend, I often prepare the night before while I am making dinner, place everything in the slow cooker insert and put into fridge for a quick removal in the morning. If you don’t have room for the crock pot insert in your fridge, put everything into a container, freezer bag or bowl for easier access.
    I placed all ingredients into the insert of the slowcooker, put the lid on and placed into the fridge

    I placed all ingredients into the insert of the slowcooker, put the lid on and placed into the fridge

    • Marinating meat for a slow cooker dish later in the week, and putting in bag/container of choice to go in the fridge (for recipes in the next 2 days) or the freezer for any day in the future. Just bring it out of the freezer the day before and put into the fridge for your meal the next day.

    Our Bunless Burgers

    Bunless Burgers can be done a million different ways. The great thing about them is you can let your imagination run wild and have all your favourite toppings/burger filling that you’ve ever loved (within reason) and put it all together for a really quick weekday meal. You can get burgers already made, and you can get a lot of good quality gluten free burgers these days, however it’s not too hard to smash together a few home-made burgers to make sure you know what’s in them! Here’s how we make ours. (My 5yr old helped me make these)

    Ingredients
    • 500g ground beef or pork
    • 1 Tbs Italian herbs or another spice blend like Moroccan
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 egg
    • 1 Tbs coconut flour
    • 1/2 diced onion (optional)
    Method

    Mix all ingredients together and roll into burger patties. Fry off in your frypan on either side until brown and cooked to your preference. Fry of your bacon and some fried eggs if desired. Serve with your favourite fillings to go on the side. Here are some of the things you can have with your burgers:

    • Fried onion
    • Fried Eggs
    • Avocado
    • Natural tomato relish
    • Pickles
    • Bacon
    • Sliced fresh tomato
    • Dijon mustard (we use instead of cheese)
    • Pineapple
    • Grilled eggplant
    • Roasted Capsicum
    • Beetroot
    • Lettuce
    • Sauerkraut
    • And many other things

     

     

    Slow Cooked Honey Mustard Chicken

    Who loves easy meals – I do! The slow cooker is my Fav thing for easy meals during the week. When using a Slow Cooker/ Crockpot, cooking / browning the meat first is optional, however, it gives a nicer colour to the dish and renders off the fat from the meat, giving the end dish a less oily consistancy. Either way is is yummy and a time saver. See my note below for extra tips and tricks.

    Ingredients
    • 1 Tbs coconut oil
    • 8 skinless chicken thighs
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 parsnips, cut into sticks
    • 3 carrots, cut into sticks
    • 1 cup chicken stock
    • 4 Tbs wholegrain mustard
    • 2 Tbs honey
    • small handful thyme sprigs
    • flat-leaf parsley, chopped to serve
    • salt and pepper
    Method

    Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown until golden, then remove to a plate. You don’t want to cook the chicken for too long if you are going to be using the slow cooker. Cook the onion in the same fry pan for 2 mins until softened, mainly just to lift the chicken goodness from the fry pan. If you don’t want to fry the onion, that’s ok. You can de-glaze the pan with the stock instead and just put the onion into the slow cooker as is.

    If using a Slow Cooker

    Place the parsnips and carrots into your slowcooker and add the thighs and the onions. Mix the stock with the mustard and honey, then pour in. Scatter over the thyme, and cook on low for 4hrs or on high for 2hrs. (If you put the all ingredients into the slow cooker raw, cook on low for 6hrs or high for 3hrs.) Serve with chopped parsley and green veg of choice, if desired. I didn’t – it was a meal in itself!

    If using a Casserole Dish

    Place the thighs and the onions to your casserole dish and add the parsnips and carrots. Mix the stock with the mustard and honey, then pour in. Scatter over the thyme, then bring to a simmer. Cover, then cook for 30 mins on stove top or 1hr in a 180 C Oven, until the chicken is tender.

    Note:
    • If using a slow cooker, I like to fry off the meat and onion the night before, put everything into the slow cooker dish, put the lid on and place into the fridge for the next day. Then all you need to do is put it on in the morning.
    • I have my slow cooker on a 24hr power point timer so I can set it to start cooking later and be finished near to when I get home. This is such a great thing to have so you don’t over cook your dish. Yes, you can over cook meals in the slow cooker!
    • A great Weekend prep idea is to brown your meat, then put all ingredients for your slow cooker meal into a freezer bag or container to go in the freezer. You now have your quick meal ready to take out of the freezer for later in the week.

    Delightful Dill Dip

    Creamy Dip – perfect for veggie sticks or other crackers of choice. Also a good dip to have in kids lunch-boxes with veggie sticks.

    Ingredients
    • 400g can coconut cream*
    • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 4 Tbs Dill
    • 2 tsp garlic or garlic powder
    Method

    Mix all ingredients together. (add the Dill at the end) You can whisk or blend the coconut cream first if you like it really smooth (*see note below)

    You can play around with the ratio’s, but I prefer more coconut cream than Mayo, then add the Dill. I like to keep the cream cold so it is thicker, so make sure you leave it in the fridge for at least 30min before you serve. The flavour develops much better that way too.

    Serve with veggie sticks or other dipping device of choice! This is a double mixture, so you can halve it for less dip.

    * Note:

    A good quality full fat coconut cream will have much more of the solid coconut cream and will be better to use in a dip. Do not use Lite Coconut Cream! It will never thicken. A good tip to find out, is to put the can in the fridge and see how much solidifies, and how much coconut water is left at the bottom. The solid coconut cream at the bottom is the only part I use in my dips, so the dip isn’t too runny. Go to a Asian supermarket for a better quality coconut cream.

    Back to Basics – Slowcooker Bone Broth

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    Bone Broth or Real Stock is essential when making a soup that has amazing flavour and has all the health benefits you need when you are sick or just feeling run down. Most of the time though, it’s just great to have a batch of pre-made bone broth to drink daily to make you feel great. It’s so easy, especially if you have a slow cooker (love!)

    I normally make a big batch every couple of weeks and freeze in small bowls to have on hand when you need it.

    Chicken Broth
    • 2 kg chicken bones (or a few carcasses from roast chickens, or 2kg chicken necks)
    Beef Broth
    • 2 kg beef bones
    Rest of Ingredients
    • 3 carrots, chopped chunky
    • 3 long celery stalks, chopped chunky
    • 2 medium onions, chopped chunky
    • 1 leek, chopped chunky
    • 6-8 garlic cloves
    • 5 bay leaves
    • handful thyme sprigs
    • bunch parsley stems
    • Sea salt and pepper (to season bones)
    • 1Tbs whole peppercorns
    • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
    • water

    If the bones have already been roasted before (I will put all bones from roasts into freezer bags for times like this) then that’s great, but if not, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C, season the bones with salt pepper and brown them up! No need to turn them, just get them to golden brown. Doesn’t take too long, and it will mean a lot in flavour later.

    Put all the veggies in the bottom of your slow cooker, then add your browned bones, then any other ingredients. Top up with water so it covers everything nicely. Tap water is fine but if you want it to start cooking straight away, put in water from your kettle so its nice and hot. If you cooked the bones in the oven, put some hot water in the baking dish to get all the browned juices and crispy bit on the bottom and add that into your slow cooker too. Put it on for 8-10 hours on low or 5 hours on high.

    Strain all the liquid into a bowl, and discard the bones and veggies. Make sure there is a bowl in the sink! Many people have lost hours of work because they have strained the broth straight down the drain by mistake!

    You now have great bone broth you can use any way you want. I cool mine in the fridge, in the larger bowl first (it is normally the consistency of jelly once cold), and then separate into smaller glass bowls to store in the freezer, however they don’t normally last that long.