Slow Cooker Herbed Chicken & Veggies

My slow-cooker is such a doll, cooking dinner for me all day while I’m at work. Came home to a heaping batch of this the other day!
Let’s face it, the last thing you want to do when you get in from work is slave over a hot stove. Everyone loves coming home to a warm, home-cooked meal. Enter slow-cooker. This guy will change your life, or at the very least, he will cook you dinner while you’re out.

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All you need to do for this recipe is toss all the ingredients in your slow-cooker and let it do all the work. Perfect for the lazy chef, the pressed for time chef or the I can’t cook chef.

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For this recipe, you’ll need one package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, one onion, 4 cloves of garlic, some olive oil, chicken broth and your favourite vegetables and spices. I used red-skin potatoes, parsnips, carrots, mushrooms and green beans for the vegetables and basil, parsley, paprika, rosemary, oregano, pepper and garlic powder for the spices.

Start by chopping all your vegetables and placing them in a large bowl. Save the onion and garlic for later. Add olive oil and spices and toss until well coated.

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Transfer the vegetables to your slow cooker. Slice one onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic and place them on top of the vegetable mix.

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Meanwhile, coat your chicken with olive oil and spices the same way you did for the vegetables. Brown the chicken on both sides in a frying pan.

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Add to the slow cooker on top of the onions and garlic.

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Add 3/4 cup of reduced sodium chicken broth (or mix one part chicken broth with one part water) and mix inside the slow cooker.

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Set your slow cooker on low for 5-6 hours or until veggies are soft and chicken is fully cooked.

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If any broth has not been absorbed, add a 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch to thicken.

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You can make this the night before and warm it up when you get home for work or let the slow cooker make you dinner while you’re out. You can leave the slow cooker on the ‘keep warm’ setting all day if you make it the night before and don’t want to have to reheat it when you get home.

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Slow Cooker Herbed Chicken & Veggies

Ingredients:photo 3-2
1 package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 cup of green beans, chopped
1 cup of mushrooms, quartered
2 cups of small round red-skinned potatoes, halved
3/4 cup chicken broth
generous amounts of basil, parsley, oregano and rosemary
dash of paprika, pepper and garlic powder

Instructions:
1. Add carrots, parsnips, green beans, mushrooms and potatoes to a large bowl. Coat with olive oil and spices. Mix well.
2. Coat chicken breasts with olive oil and spices and add to a frying pan on medium heat. Cook until browned on both sides.
3. Add vegetables to a slow cooker. Top with slices of onion and garlic.
4. Add chicken to the slow cooker.
5. Add 3/4 cup of chicken broth to slow cooker (or enough to make an inch and a half layer at the bottom of the slow cooker).
6. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until vegetables are soft and chicken is fully cooked.
7. If chicken broth is not all absorbed, add 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch to make a thicker gravy.

Enjoy!

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Breaking Up With Pasta and Rice

Carbs.  To some, they are the enemy. To others, they’re your best friend. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I love more than coming home after work to a giant plate of this

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But let’s be honest. I’m going to want to eat my entire refrigerator in about an hour. After I wake up from my carb coma, of course.

So I decided to try something different. I decided to break up with pasta and rice. Not forever. But let’s just say we are taking a break.

Enter vegetables. My ‘rebound’, if you will. Eat less carbs and up your vegetable intake all at once. Goodbye gluten, see ya later spikes in blood sugar, au revoir stored fat.

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Here’s three ways you can replace pasta and rice with, yup, you guessed it, vegetables.

Zucchini Noodles

zucchini noodles With only 36 calories in a cup of zucchini versus the 220 in a cup of fettucine noodles, you can eat these guilt-free! Zucchinis are high in manganese, folate, potassium and vitamin A, help lower pressure, and are high in fiber, helping to eliminate carcinogenic toxins in the colon.

Zucchini noodles are simple to make. Just grate a zucchini lengthwise to create fettucine-like noodles. Cook them in a frying pan with garlic and your favourite spices. Try using parmesan cheese for added flavour. Serve this alongside some protein (pesto chicken? mm).

Cauliflower Rice/Mashed Potatoes

cauliflower rice Cauliflower is full of anti-oxidation and detoxification properties. Low in calories and high in dietary fiber, it’s a no-brainer that cauliflower is rich in health benefits. Why not replace a heaping scoop of rice with some cancer-fighting cauliflower.

To make cauliflower rice, cut a head of cauliflower into chunks. Put them in a food processor (or grate by hand if you have the patience that I lack) until the florets look similar to rice or couscous. Do not over-process or you will end up with cauliflower mush. Not so appetizing. Heat the cauliflower rice in a frying pan until soft and add spices to give it some taste.

Craving some mashed potatoes instead but don’t want the added carbs? Steam or boil cauliflower until it is soft. Transfer this to a food processor with butter, garlic and parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth. Eat as much as you want without the starch from potatoes.

Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti squashWho wouldn’t miss a heaping bowl of spaghetti? Spaghetti squash is full of vitamins and minerals (like manganese which helps with the healthy production of bones, tissues and even sex hormones). It’s also rich in fiber but low in calories. It resembles spaghetti when cooked and tastes delicious.

The only downpoint of spaghetti squash? Cutting that sucker open! Make sure you have a good knife. The outer shell of spaghetti squash is tough to pierce. Once you’ve cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, place it open side down in a pyrex dish filled about an inch high with water. Bake in an oven on 375 for about an hour or until the spaghetti squash is soft. For faster cooking, pierce holes in the outer shell of the spaghetti squash with a knife. Scrape out the insides of the spaghetti squash with a fork and top with whatever sauce you would normally use on your pasta.

And there you have it. Three vegetables that can replace your favourite carbs. Looks like the breakup with pasta and rice isn’t going to be so difficult.