Take it Slow!

 September 9, 2013
Posted by jenn

Dinner Tip for a Busy Week ~ Include the Slow Cooker

Here’s 3 of our favorite slow cooker recipes:

We heard from a client this morning who with a mixture of excitement and exhaustion shared; “Great weekend but ahead of schedule the week began while I was busy not preparing for it. Help!”

In a few moments we plotted a strategy to successfully navigate through her work demands, the kids school and activities schedule and her husband’s busy travel agenda for the week ahead.  All was well covered and the only thing left was…dinner.

My client likes to cook and is excellent so she opted for food prep and hired us to plan and shop.  We’re on it.

Considering all the events which took place this past weekend in San Francisco we weren’t surprised to find additional requests come in and were happy to reassure her that she is definitely not the only one.  If this is true for you also, give us a call. We would love to help.  Meanwhile, here are a few of the meals we’ll be shopping for and recommending to our short on time clients to help them and their families eat well this week. R166336.jpg.rendition.largest

1.  Five-Spice Pork Sandwiches

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Prep 25 mins

Cook 10 hrs to 12 hrs  (low) or 5-1/2 to 6 hours (high)


  • 12 1/2 – 3 pound pork shoulder blade roast
  • 1 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Homemade Five-Spice Powder or five-spice powder
  • 6 – 8 whole grain hamburger buns or kaiser rolls, split and toasted
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded napa cabbage or packaged shredded broccoli (broccoli slaw mix)


1.Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Place meat in cooker. In a small bowl combine apple juice, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and Homemade Five-Spice Powder. Pour over meat in cooker.

2.Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5-1/2 to 6 hours.

3.Transfer meat to a cutting board, reserving cooking juices in cooker; cool meat slightly. Remove meat from bones. Using two forks, shred meat, discarding fat. Place meat in a medium bowl.

4.To serve, arrange meat and, if desired, cabbage in buns. If desired, strain reserved cooking juices; skim off fat. Serve cooking juices in individual serving bowls for dipping.

Homemade Five-Spice Powder
Yield: 1/3 cup

  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 6 star anise or 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole Szechwan pepper or whole black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
In a blender combine cinnamon, anise, fennel seeds, pepper, and cloves. Cover and blend to a fine powder. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature. Makes about 1/3 cup.
2. Dried Fruit, Chicken, and Bulgur Pilaf
Makes: 6 servings
Prep 20 mins
Slow Cook 2 hrs  (low)

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size strips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 1/2 cups bulgur
  • 1/2 medium lemon, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup pitted dried plums, quartered
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 114 1/2 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped or slivered almonds, toasted*
  • Fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • Finely shredded lemon peel


1.In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken, onion, and garam masala; cook and stir until chicken is browned on all sides and onion is tender.

2.In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine the chicken mixture, bulgur, lemon slices, plums, raisins, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne pepper. Pour broth and the water over mixture in cooker.

3.Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 2 hours. Stir in almonds.

4.To serve, sprinkle each serving with mint and lemon peel.



3. Pork Roast and Harvest Vegetables

Makes: 6 servings

Prep 30 mins
Slow Cook 10 hrs to 12 hrs  (low) or 5 to 6 hours (high)


  • 11 1/2 – 2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups parsnips cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 medium)
  • 1 1/2cups carrots cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 medium)
  • 1 large green sweet pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup celery cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 16 ounce can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon granules
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


1.Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3 1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker. In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat; add meat. Cook meat until brown, turning to brown evenly on all sides. In cooker combine parsnips, carrots, sweet pepper, and celery. Sprinkle with tapioca.

2.In a small bowl combine apple juice concentrate, the water, bouillon granules, cinnamon, and black pepper. Pour over vegetables. Place meat on top of vegetables.

3.Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.

4.Transfer meat and vegetables to a serving platter. Strain cooking liquid; skim off fat. Drizzle some of the cooking liquid over meat; pass remaining cooking liquid.

Life goes too fast! Savor it!


With thanks from BHG.com