In a world where we want everything now and we have no time for anything it seems, cooking is becoming more and more of a chore to lots of people, including myself. However you can’t avoid the fact that if you are serious about a healthy life and a healthy body, your nutrition must be consistently clean, well-varied and include adequate quality (quality is key) protein, vegetable content and healthy fats. Notice the word consistency. This is something that cannot be escaped either. Quality, long lasting results are achieved by day after day of eating like this. This can be tough time-wise and also motivationally, to keep your food varied and tasty and to not let it get boring, so inevitably that all-important consistency is put to the test. This is where the long-forgotten slow-cooker comes in very very handy. You can prepare the food, place it in the slow-cooker (one of, if not the healthiest ways to cook, due to the quality of the metal compared to a non-stick pan for example) and leave it. No attendance required. Sometimes it can be left over-night, which for those of us who are time-pressed, is perfect; to wake up the next day with everything ready to go.
Here is one of my favourites.
Clean Peanutty Thai Chicken
In The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth, Dr Jonny Bowden states that “Asian foods can be really healthy, but unfortunately you might know it if you’ve only eaten at typical Asian fast-food restaurants”. Many restaurants rely on MSG for the flavour that’s missing in the overcooked, over-processed food they serve, and many use sauces that are made ‘tasty’ not by the richness of the flavours but by the addition of sugar and wheat starch. This version of Thai Chicken is super-clean, light and healthier than almost anything but the very best Asian restaurants I’ve found. Remember to use chickens that were raised on a pasture (free-range) as they are chemical-free, steroid-free and contain higher contents of Omega-3 fats. I recommend using natural, organic peanut butter because many of the commercial brands have a ton of trans-fats and added sugar. I hope it goes without saying also that it should be consumed in moderation, as with almost anything (apart from perhaps broccoli!).
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup low-sodium tamari sauce– juice of 1 large lime
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 chunk peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 700g boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into slices
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peanut butter, broth, tamari, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, honey, and red pepper flakes. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary, and set aside. Combine the onion, bell pepper, and chicken in the slow cooker and pour the sauce evenly over all. Stir gently to coat. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or on low for 5 to 6 hours, until the chicken is cooked through but still juicy. Stir in the cilantro just before serving.
Reprinted with permission from The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes On Earth by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D.,C.N.S., and Jeannette Bessinger, C.H.H.C., Fair Winds Press.
Now here’s the juicy bit. As of this moment, I am inviting anyone to post their favourite winter recipe that can be put in a lunchbox or eaten as a warm snack or meal. As the temperature starts to drop into the winter, it is great to have warm-meal ideas in our repertoire, to go alongside our raw foods and and protein-based salads (i.e. your PowerPacks). The best recipes will be included in the all-new Hot PowerPack, coming very soon. You will have full bragging rights, as your name will be attributed to your inspiration. Use the following guidelines:
- Adhere to the 60/30/10 Paddy PowerPack guidelines, or as close as possible. If you know these, then awesome. If not, then just have a go and think high proportion of lean protein.
- Can either be a chunky soup, broth or slow-cooker recipe (it doesn’t have to be gourmet-cuisine here guys, just whatever works for you or whatever you’d fancy).
- A photo would be fantastic but is not essential.
I look forward to seeing or reading your ideas below…
Keep it clean 🙂