Five Tips for Meal Prep Slow Cooker Success

Indy Style

Let it simmer… and wait! If you’re a fan of the slow cooker, this segment’s for you!

In our kitchen today, Chef Kat Marris, Fresh & Balanced, shares how to save time, money AND stay on track with your health goals, all in the name of your slow cooker! 

Here are a few of her tips, along with some recipes: 

Tip 1 & 2 

1.Choose the right cut of meat! Use tougher cuts of meat. Chuck roasts, flank steak, pork shoulders/chops and chicken thighs all become super tender when cooked in a slow cooker. Batch cooked proteins in a slow cooker have so many uses for meal prep.

2. Keep the lid closed! Every time you open the lid to stir or smell, you add 20 minutes on to your cook time.

Tip 3, 4 & 5

3. Avoid extreme temperatures! The ceramic insert can crack if there are big temperature shifts. Don’t ever put a refrigerated insert right into the heated base. Allow the meal come to room temperature before cooking.

4. Don’t use frozen ingredients! So many of us load up the slow cooker with leftover frozen vegetables and a protein. However, this will keep food (especially your proteins) in a temperature range where bacteria grows  which is 40 to 140 degrees F. Thaw your proteins and veggies before cooking. **Will assemble hearty sausage and cabbage soup during this tip**

5. Add dairy last! It can get weird really fast if you add your dairy too soon. Items like sour cream, milk and yogurt should be added in the last 15 mins of cooking.

Hearty Sausage and Cabbage Soup 
Makes 8-10 servings
Ingredients 

6 cups chicken broth 
1 1/2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can (14.5 oz) kidney beans, drained
1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green or red cabbage
1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and diced  
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 
5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound nitrate and MSG free kielbasa sausage, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 
In a slow cooker, combine and stir all ingredients. Set slow cooker on low and cook for 2-4 hours until carrots are tender.

Five Tips for Meal Prep Slow Cooker Success

Ginger Peach Pulled Pork 
Makes 6 servings
Ingredients 

4 pounds pork shoulder roast, cut in fourths 
1 (10 ounce) bag shredded carrots 
1 yellow onion, roughly sliced
2/3 cup chicken broth OR water
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger 
1 tablespoon Garam Masala seasoning  
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 cans (14.5oz) peach slices, not drained 
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

Place all ingredients for the ginger peach pulled pork in a large slow cooker. Cover and set on low for 6-7 hours. Ensure pork has reached an internal temperature of 190 degrees before shredding.

•   About Kat (as told by her): I am chef on a meal prep and healthy cooking mission! I run an online meal prep program designed to take the stress out of meal prepping and healthy eating. I also teach meal prep cooking lessons and corporate wellness presentations. I am also a food blogger and write about meal prep topics and provide healthy recipes on my blog, Fresh and Balanced. My goal is to help you eat healthier and feel better one meal at a time.

To learn more, visit: 

Instagram: @katmarris 
Website: freshandbalanced.com
Facebook: Fresh and Balanced 

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