Slow-Cooker Makes Good Food Easy

9 Jan

Slow-Cooker Lamb Stew includes sweet potatoes to pump up the vitamins and minerals.(Photo by Charla L. Draper)

The first month of the year represents a fresh, new start.  One of the most consistent goals for the new year is to lose weight. Inc. magazine polls show that for 2019, folks are weighing in to do the following:

71 percent plan to diet or eat healthier

65 percent plan to exercise more (me included!)

54 percent plan to lose weight

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 70% of adults age 20 and older are overweight, including those that are obese. These stats are costly.  The economic impact of being overweight can affect earnings. Those who are overweight tend to have higher rates of absenteeism, lower productivity and higher medical costs.

We know that childhood obesity has been creeping higher and higher. Youth carrying too much weight can face many of the same health issues that we see in adults—propensity to develop heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, poor body image and low self-esteem.

Keeping an assortment of colorful fruits and vegetables on hand is a great start to a healthier year. The more colorful the food, the better it is for you. Try adding an item from the produce section that is new to you, to your shopping basket. It is amazing that some young people are unfamiliar with typical fruits and vegetables, let alone some of the new items like kiwi, jackfruit or purple cauliflower. The recommended dietary allowances (RDA) encourage adults and children to eat five to seven fruits and vegetables every day.

Sweet potatoes are colorful, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They can be served raw, baked, roasted, or fried. One of my fav ways to use them is to use sweet potato instead of white potato in stew or soup.

Try to adopt these suggestions, including them in your family activities for the next 30 days. You’ll find that everyone will have fun, be less stressed, and more energetic by including these simple changes. Try it—I am pretty sure you will like it too.

Slow-Cooker Lamb Stew

Inspired by recipe created when I worked at Southern Living magazine.

2 1/2 pounds lean lamb stew meat (about 1-inch pieces)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

1 (14.5-oz.) can beef broth

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons)

In slow-cooker, layer chopped sweet potatoes over ingredients. Slow simmered, this stew is good and healthy.

1 pound peeled, chopped sweet potatoes (about 3 to 4 med. potatoes)

Rinse lamb stew meat, and pat dry with paper towel. Sprinkle with combined salt and pepper; toss in flour, shaking off excess.

Cook half of lamb in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until browned. Repeat with remaining lamb and oil. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Add broth, and stir to loosen browned particles from bottom of Dutch oven. Transfer lamb mixture to a 6-qt. slow cooker.

Stir in celery, onion, and garlic. Top with chopped sweet potators. (Do not stir to incorporate.) Cover and cook on LOW 4 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Serve over hot mashed cauliflower or rice, if desired. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Substitute 2 1/2 lbs. beef stew meat for lamb. Proceed with recipe as directed.


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