A slow cooker is a great investment for any kitchen since you can create healthy, wholesome meals especially during the colder months. If you don’t quite know what to create with your slow cooker, try a few of our tasty ideas below to give you some extra inspiration.
Honey and garlic chicken
Show off your cooking skills with this tasty topping of honey and garlic chicken which works well with rice or noodles.
Beef and broccoli crockpot
A yummy crockpot of beef and broccoli is a classic dish which even the kids are bound to love. Add a few more vegetables such as carrot or asparagus to give the dish some body.
Make like Seinfeld and create your very own Jambalaya from scratch. It’s the perfect recipe for entertaining and tastes amazing with a glass of white wine.
Healthy butter chicken
Skip the naan bread and fill-up on tasty chicken and vegetables for a modern take on a traditional Indian dish.
Mozzarella stuffed meatballs
Try this delicious recipe as an appetiser, or a side to plain pasta. The filling is so thick and creamy – you’ll never want to eat anything else!
For the warmer months, try a classic potato soup with all of your favourite vegetables. It makes for a filling dish for both lunch and dinner, with plenty of leftovers!
Images via Huffington Post, Just Taste, Table For Two Blog, Gimme Some Oven, Half Baked Harvest, Cooking Classy, Creme de La Crumb
The humble kale has experienced a steep rise to fame in the past two years thanks to its versatility. You can eat it raw, cook it, roast it, and even drink it as part of a green juice. The green leafy vegetable is full of goodness like Vitamin C and Calcium and also contains a chemical with anti-cancer properties.
Even though it is very popular at the moment, there are a lot of people who dislike kale because of its slightly bitter taste. However, if you roast kale to make delicious kale chips, most of the bitterness subsides and the kale takes on a very similar taste to potato chips.
With less than half the calories, kale chips are the better, healthier option when feeling peckish. Here’s how to make perfectly crispy kale chips:
- Your oven temperature is very important as kale can burn easily. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius.
- Cut your kale into chip-sized pieces and separate the leaves from any stems that are quite thick as they take much longer to roast.
- Wash and thoroughly dry kale – it won’t get crispy when the leaves are still moist.
- Sprinkle olive oil over the leaves, making sure that each leaf is covered but not drenched.
- Add sea salt and any other spices or herbs you’d like your kale chips to taste like, such as paprika or rosemary.
- Spread in one layer on a baking tray and bake for about 10-20 minutes. The baking time really depends on your oven so make sure you check on your chips after 10 minutes. If the edges of the leaves are starting to turn brown, they’re ready.
Enjoy your guilt-free kale chips!
Image via thevintagemixer.com
Rather than creating one main meal for lunch or dinner, mezzes are a great way to experiment with different foods each night.
Just like tapas, they are small, designed for sharing with 2 or more guests, and are really easy to create on a limited time frame.
Lemon feta dip
Ingredients: Reduced-fat cream cheese, feta cheese, garlic, olive oil, lemon, red pepper flakes, chives
A simple dip is perfect for any mezze meal, especially if you have an abundance of bread on the table. Sprinkle some cracked black pepper, coriander and serve with a side of olives.
Ingredients: cucumber, olives, tomato, feta cheese, olive oil, red onion
Make this quick and easy summer salad which tastes fresh, and is ideal with red or white wine. Cucumber, olives, feta cheese, tomato and red capsicum with a splash of olive oil is the best way to treat your guests. No lettuce.
Grilled cheese jalapenos
Ingredients: jalapeno peppers, goat cheese, smoked paprika, ground cumin, garlic, sea salt
For those who like it spicy, these grilled jalapenos are the perfect starting dish. Slice in half, add some goats cheese with olive oil and cook until golden brown.
Ingredients: Red wine vinegar, lemon zest, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, octopus, olive oil, lemon juice
Prepare this delicious seafood dish which is so quick and easy! Simply wash the octopus, and carefully cut the tentacles into small pieces. Season, and grill until golden brown. Yum!
Ingredients: green lentils, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, fresh mint, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, allspice, black pepper
Finish off with this fresh and healthy lentil salad which everyone is sure to enjoy. It’s the perfect summer salad which won’t leave you feeling too full after a few too many servings.
Images via A Nutritionist Eats, Travel and Leisure, Damn Delicious, Dana Slatkin, The Daily Meal, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Gratins are fabulous any time of the year because they can be made with almost any ingredient, and are ready in less than 30 minutes.
Our recipe takes inspiration from a classic French dish mainly revolving around eggplant, tomato, and of course zucchini. The result is a creamy main meal with a slight crunch around the corners, and packed with colour and taste.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant
1.5 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium zucchinis
2 ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup freshly ground breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC), and sprinkle some olive oil over a pan lined with baking paper.
- Slice the eggplant into diagonals and lay each slice over the tray. Brush with oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and Herbes de Provence.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the eggplant is soft in the centre. Take them out to cool.
- Slice the zucchini and tomatoes, and spread them out evenly over the eggplant. Seeason with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Arrange each slice so that the previous row is still visible, this will allow them to cook evenly.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, olive oil, and grated cheese before cooking in the over for 30-40 minutes. Remove only until the top is golden or the centre is nice and soft.
Image and Recipe via Food Beest, Blogher
Variety, really, is the spice of life. So, instead of packing yet another sandwich or last night’s left overs; why not try some alternatives. It won’t be as time consuming as you may believe, either. In just a few minutes you’ll have a tasty lunch, which will have your colleagues salivating!
Essentially, you’ll need to invest in departmentalized, lunch containers. They have some great designs with high functionality. Plastic wrap is for 1980s school yard lunches, which just isn’t going to cut it! These containers can give you inspiration to think outside the square and get creative. Plus, they are excellent for chopped foods which you can eat on the run. Not everyone can have an uninterrupted lunch break, so something you can pick up and eat while you work can be the difference between having lunch and going hungry.
If this sounds like you, avoid bulky foods like sandwiches or thick, awkward wraps. You need quick and easy, bite-sized foods like grapes, cubed cheese or fruits, rolled sandwich meat, olives, etc. That will be far more satisfying than going hungry and making up for it during the evening meal or hitting that 3.30 mark and pulling out the chocolate bar.
If you do have the opportunity to have a more relaxed lunch break, the sky’s the limit! When you go shopping, think of tasty treats that you can put in your new containers. You might want a different type of cheese or a yummy looking bread roll, covered with some type of topping. The choice is endless. For colder days, you might want to choose something you can warm up. Soups are excellent because they are usually vegetable based, which will add to the 5 serves you should be eating each day. Remember to buy containers for various food options. If you can’t pack a soup, you won’t have the option.
For the warmer days, go with a salad. There is something very refreshing about eating salad on warm days. There are so many varieties, that you could literally choose a different selection, each day of the week. You can either choose to make your own or buy a ready made one. Either way, it will still be cheaper and healthier than scrambling to buy your lunch from a busy, overpriced, strategically placed vendor.
At first you may be a little timid about the types of things you will put in your containers but, after time, you will get much more creative. SHESAID has some great lunch recipes, which freeze well and will fit in your containers. Maybe have a bit of a cook up and prepare foods for the week, or even a month, in advance. Your lunches will become famous around your office and the only thing you’ll need to do is keep it safe from the boys in accounting!
Bacon, eggs, snags, toast smothered in butter; otherwise known as heart attack on a plate! What about a healthy Sunday breaky, which is sure to impress, without all that fat? Here’s some easy savoury and sweet ideas for everyone.
Cheese, ham and creamed corn doorsteps
Doorsteps can have almost any topping, but here I’ll describe the cheese, ham and corn variety. The base is a really thick, (about 2.5 – 3 cm’s) high fiber, brown bread. Lightly toast both sides and then add a pre-made mixture of grated cheddar type cheese, diced ham, creamed corn and salt and pepper to taste. If you choose low fat varieties, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. Place under a grill, cooking it slowly, until the cheese melts. When it’s ready, the smell will wake the entire household.
You can play around with different topping mixtures; either savory or sweet. For example; add baby spinach for some greenery or grated pear and apples, for a sweet topping. The thick brown bread makes it super filling and different toppings add variety.
Now there’s nothing wrong with eggs, but you just need to be careful of what you add to them and avoid cooking them in fats. For something a little different, poached eggs are cooked in water and therefore, the cooking fat is eliminated. Select a high fiber bread or muffin, to put your egg on; add a light sprinkle of season all, instead of salt and pepper and enjoy.
How about throwing some leftover veggies in a non stick pan and adding an egg or two. Instant bubble and squeak. The egg provides protein and the veggies will add to the 5 serves, required each day. Experiment with various herbs and spices, instead of salt, and you will find you won’t miss it. I use season all, instead of salt. It makes food taste amazing and keeps extra salt out of my diet.
Banana and cinnamon on toast
Cooked fruit is totally underrated. For example; what about some banana under the grill, on toast, with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Yum! Nutritionally, bananas are rich in Vitamin C and B6; while cinnamon is high in Calcium and Iron. Both are high in fiber and low in fat; making them perfect for breakfast.
Cooked fruit, yoghurt and muesli
Cooked apple, pear, strawberries, berry mixes or mangos tastes amazing. Why not slice some up, cook in the microwave with a teaspoon of water and then add some yoghurt and muesli. You will have a warm, texture rich, healthy breakfast, which many of us crave in the mornings. Plus, the cooked fruit is much easier to combine through the mixture, than non cooked fruit.
You can even try cooked fruit on pancakes or crepes. Roll them up with a bit of yoghurt and sprinkle with cinnamon. You might want to add a little muesli, for extra crunch. Get creative and try different cooked fruits, either alone or combined with other elements. Avoid adding extra sugar, because cooking the fruit will bring out the sweet flavour.
Ever wanted to snack on something quick and easy when you’re feeling peckish, but feel sluggish and sick afterwards? There are a variety of snacks and meals which will satisfy your cravings but best of all – are also super-healthy! Swap your junk foods snacks for the 5 following healthy alternatives.
Sweet potato chips
Crave the crunch of chips but want to keep a tighter waistline? Sweet potatoes are a healthier alternative since they’re packed with essential vitamins and minerals, minus the amount of carbohydrates when compared with a standard potato.
Swap your standard base for a healthier alternative of cauliflower. Simply chop finely, pop into a food processor then create the base by pushing the mixture down with your hands. Half the calories with a classic crunch!
Eggs are some of the best super-foods, since they are loaded with nutrients and of course protein. Enjoy your eggs baked with a side of greens, low-fat cheese and lean-mats for a satisfying dish.
Why deny yourself when you don’t have to? Try these quick and easy oatmeal cookies which are packed with yummy currants, raisins and are sure to keep the cravings away.
There are healthy ways to enjoy your popcorn without feeling the extra bit of guilt. Enjoy wholegrain kernels and avoid any buttery toppings which will only pack on the extra calories.
Images via LifeHack, Mccormick, The Cafe Sucre Farine, Green Kitchen Stories, 24 Fit Club
There is no white or brown sugar used here. There is honey and sweetness is also achieved by the addition of apple. This homemade muesli bar is perfect for a snack at home or in lunchbox. It is high in fibre, has the protein of nuts and seeds and is nutrient- and energy-dense. As it is lower in added sugars than other muesli bars, you could also eat it as a breakfast alternative.
Makes 12 or more
2 apples, grated
100g butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup puffed rice
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup sultanas
- Put apple, butter/oil and honey in a saucepan over a low heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. When mixture starts to pull away from the sides, it is ready.
- Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour over the butter mixture and combine.
- Pour mixture into a paper-lined tray and flatten it out to about 1.5-2cm thick. Cover and put it in the fridge to set. It will take a few hours to firm up.
- Cut into squares and keep it in the fridge until ready to serve or to put in a lunchbox.
Recipe via The Healthy Mummy
The ultimate winter indulgence – except this recipe is kind to your hips! And it’s a crowd pleaser, regardless of whether you’re feeding a tribe of children on school holidays or your hubby/boy’s footy mates.
2 free-range skinless chicken breasts
1 red onion, sliced
4 wholemeal burger buns, sliced in half
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
Sweet chilli sauce, optional
- Slice each chicken breast in half, cutting into the side of the meat to make two thin pieces.
- Cook chicken on a hot barbecue grill for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through.
- Cook onions on the hot plate until translucent.
- Toast buns on the barbecue grill or in the oven.
- Assemble the burgers with spinach, slices of tomato, onion, mayo and sweet chilli sauce.
Courtesy of The Healthy Mummy
Nobody ever said that raising kids was easy, at least no one who’s actually raised children! Practical parenting is something you have to learn as you go along, so we’re passing on these five common sense parenting tips. Remember, raising kids is always a work in progress.
1. Encourage open conversation
Start having back-and-forth conversations with the kids when they’re still young. Don’t just ask “How was school?” because the default answer is “Fine,” even if the child got beat up on the playground, found out a best friend was moving away or failed a big test. Ask more in-depth questions like, “What was the coolest thing that happened at school today?”
2. Make reading a treat
There’s an old saying that kids spend the first three grades of school learning to read and the rest, reading to learn. Make sure yours have the fundamentals, then work at instilling a love for reading. Find out what they’re interested in at all stages of their lives and make sure they have access to books about their passions.
If reading is fun for the kids, they’re more likely to devote more time to that and less to TV, games and fooling around on the computer. If your child gets engrossed in a book and wants to stay up late reading, approve—for an extra hour! Whether your child enjoys reading is a major indicator of how successful he or she will be in life.
3. Healthy food comes before junk
Your kids aren’t going to have an appetite for the dinner you cooked if they’ve been gorging on sugary snacks. When they come home from school or inside from playing, offer them healthy treats like chilled cut fruit, veggies with yogurt dip or homemade popsicles with fruit juice. Don’t keep junk food around the house.
4. Try to tell the truth
Maybe not the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but as much as you think the child can handle. If you continually lie to your child in order to avoid hurting his or her feelings, how is that child supposed to trust you later in life—like the teen years? If you’re about to get a divorce or grandma’s dying from cancer, you can’t keep something like that a secret forever.
5. Accentuate the positive
Some parents are so afraid that their children will be injured or disappointed by failure that they turn them into little hothouse plants. This is not good for either of you, because kids learn by making mistakes—and so do parents. Encourage your child to spread his or her wings and explore the world!
What are your best practical parenting tips?
An avocado melt is the perfect easy dinner for the start of the week. Try our roasted mushrooms and corn version, or add your favourite vegetarian fillings for a healthy twist.
4 x Panini, cut in half
10 mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 avocados, pip and skin removed, diced
200g creamed corn
2 shallots, finely diced
Paprika / pepper
1. Combine mushrooms, avocado, corn, shallots and egg in a bowl and season with salt. Spread mixture evenly over 8 panini halves.
2. Place on a baking tray in an oven preheated to 180C for 10-15 mins or until golden brown.
3. Sprinkle with paprika or pepper to taste.
What’s for dinner tonight?
So, you’ve been to a party, or maybe you’ve actually been to two parties, three bars and now you’re slowly making your way home. It’s 3:30am and you’re standing there eyeing off the greasy delights on display at the ‘open 24 hour takeaway’ and it’s looking very tempting indeed! You want 3 pieces of pizza and a large bag of chips. You want to take them home and eat them while sitting on your couch. Don’t do it. It is a one-way ride to bad health and once you get on that roll you won’t stop. Chips, greasy pizza and strange looking over-oiled pasta dishes are not going to make you feel any better the next day or any day really.
This summer it is important to get a grip on your diet and avoid certain foods for all time. They only seek to cause havoc upon your physique and your moods. Here’s this miss list for this summer.
- French fries
The facts are that French fries sound exotic and potatoes seem okay late at night. But the truth is they are just about the worst thing you could imbibe after 4pm let alone late at night. French Fries seem okay, but have you ever wondered why you don’t feel so great afterwards? They are starchy white potatoes cooked in very hot fat. Worse than this they are often flavoured in chemicals and sugar. They seem like the best snack food at the time, but don’t be fooled.
It’s around 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon and they look so cute and harmless sitting there, all sugar and warmth. Don’t be fooled. Doughnuts are fried bread. They make you feel sluggish and tired. Yes?that feeling is the doughnuts talking.
Any kind. These are just a packaged version of French fries. There are some health food versions that don’t leave that nasty after-taste and are okay? but really. The original versions are hard to resist. Deep down we all know they are a one-way ticket to more cellulite.
- Soft drink
Become ambivalent about it. Lose your desire for cola or lemonade. None of them are okay. If you get the desire for something fizzy, go the plain mineral water option. Not only will it make you feel better, but your skin will benefit too.
Marie-Antoinette was wrong when she suggested that the masses should all eat cake. The inclination is always there, particularly around 3 p.m. with a cup of tea, but wrong. Cakes are okay every once in a while, but don’t make a habit of it every day.
If you must, try to move onto the sesame snap kind of treat. Most lollies will take you on a high and then dump you in the middle of nowhere. They are a sugar over-load. Try an energy bar from the health food shop. Most of them are really lollies, but the reality is that they contain a third less of the calories, more protein and less fat. Don’t think that they can replace a meal though.
- Fat-free cookies
Beware! Nothing ever is. Anything that says it is fat-free is not necessarily so. Read the label carefully and have a think about what is in the product. Fat-Free doesn’t always mean it is fat-free. You might be better off making your own, with dried fruit and ingredients you understand and feel good about eating because you know what you are eating.
How to win the war
This is the only way to avoid the cravings and sometimes the sheer necessity to eat whatever you can get you hands on that contains high quantities of sugar. Make sure you have healthier snacks on hand. Carry them around with you. Sometimes if you have a small bag of cashews or dried fruit in you handbag it will quell the desire for something less desirable. Another method is to simply stop buying sugar-loaded snacks. If they are not there, chances are you won’t eat them.
Variation is the key when it comes to eating?and most things. If you had cereal for breakfast, surprise yourself with something entirely different, like yoghurt for a snack. Then have a salad for lunch and so on. Make it your business to create food that is interesting for yourself. Ask yourself if it is something sweet, salty or savoury that you currently desire. If you can satisfy your needs this way then you will slowly stop any compulsion towards bad foods and bad party season habits.