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Hy-Vee at Midday:Slow Cooker Creativity

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A Healthy Dose of Slow-Cooker Creativity Wintertime and slow-cooked meals just go together. There's something special about the welcoming aromas of a slow-cooked dinner when you walk in the door from a busy day. But did you know your slow-cooker can make more for you than dinner? Today your Hy-Vee dietitian shows three creative & healthy ways to use your slow-cooker that will earn it a permanent home on your kitchen counter.

1. Try breakfast from your slow-cooker.
Make it easy to start the day right with a satisfying whole-grain breakfast cooked slowly overnight. High-fiber whole grains, such as steel cut oats, cook easily on low in a slow-cooker and allow you to prepare enough for days to come.

2. Add some spice with slow-cooked ethnic dishes.
Cooking with spice, such as the chicken curry recipe below, allows you to enjoy full flavors while reducing added sodium and saturated fats. Your neighborhood Hy-Vee store stocks a wide variety of no-salt-added canned foods that make the sauces for many slow-cooker recipes healthier. Garnish your finished dish with fresh herbs for a boost of flavor.

3. Quick and easy fruit-based desserts from your slow-cooker.
Finish your meal on a warm note with fruit-based dessert from your slow cooker, such as a fruit cobbler. As with any home-baked dessert, you can adjust the level of sweetness to your own choosing. In fruit-based desserts, you'll find little need to add sugar for a naturally sweet ending to your meal.

Slow-Cooked Steel Cut Oatmeal
Serves 8 (1 cup per serving)
All you need:
8 cups water (or other liquid such as milk, almondmilk or soymilk
2 cups steel cut oats
1/3 cup Hy-Vee dried cranberries
1/3 cup Hy-Vee dried apricots, chopped
¼ tsp salt (optional) to taste
All you do:
Combine water, oats, dried cranberries, dried apricots and salt, if desired, in a 5 or 6-quart slow-cooker. Place lid on slow-cooker and cook on LOW until the oats are tender and porridge is creamy, 6-7 hours.

Source: adapted from Eating Well
Nutrition information per serving: Calories 193, Carbohydrate 35 gm, Fiber 3 gm, Fat 3gm, Cholesterol 0mg, (if using non-dairy liquid to cook oats) Sodium 78mg, Protein 6gm

Slow-Cooker Chicken Curry
Serves 6
All you need:
1 (14 oz.) can lite coconut milk
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup lower-sodium chicken stock
2 rounded tablespoons curry powder
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
All you do:
1. Combine coconut milk, tomato sauce, chicken broth, curry powder and salt, if desired, in slow-cooker.
2. Add chopped chicken breast.
3. Stir in diced onion and diced sweet potato.
4. Top with garbanzo beans and mix to combine.
5. Cover slow-cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.
6. Serve over cooked brown rice and garnish with cilantro.
Source: Cooking is Caring Blog authored by your Marion Hy-Vee registered dietitian and chef, Jen Heringhausen, RD, LD

Slow-Cooker Peach Cobbler
Serves 8
All you need:
4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (frozen is an excellent substitute for fresh)
2 cups low-fat granola, such as KIND Oat and Honey Clusters
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tbsp Hy-Vee honey
2 tbsp Hy-Vee butter, melted
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 (6 ounce) container Hy-Vee plain Greek style yogurt All you do:
1. Stir peaches and granola together in a greased 4-quart slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl, combine apple juice, honey and melted butter.
3. Drizzle over peach mixture.
4. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
5. Cook on HIGH for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Serve warm, with 2 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt as a topping.

Source: adapted from by Linda Ashley, RD, LD Nutrition information per serving: Calories 180, Carbohydrate 32 gm, Sugar 17 gm, Fiber 3 gm, Fat 4.5gm, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 25mg, Protein 3 gm

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