Marathon (Slow)Cooking Day

Hi everyone!  Today I want to tell you about something I try to do every now and then – marathon cooking.  However, today I made it a little easier on myself and slow cooked everything using two crock pots and one pot on the stove.

If you know me or have been reading my posts, you know I started a new job last week.  So far, I really like the company and the team I am directing, but I am, as expected, on information overload!  I work in the health plan industry and have worked mainly in Medicare and TRICARE.  My new job includes a Medicare HMO plan but also, the Arizona Medicaid plan known as Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).  So, bottom line is I have a lot to learn and have been working fairly long hours to get up to speed.

As many of you also know, I am trying to follow the Weight Watcher plan.  However, due to the new job, and a lack of proper meal planning, my second WW week is pretty much a bust.  So, I had to think of some way to keep on track with the plan while learning my new job.  Today I decided that one way to help me this week would be to plan some meals ahead of time and do a lot of the cooking ahead as well.  I decided to go with some old standbys to get me through and one recipe I haven’t shared before.

The two you are familiar with if you have seen my previous posts are vegetarian chili and my spaghetti sauce.  I made a couple of changes to each.  For my chili, I added Trader Joe’s meatless ground “beef” and some chopped zucchini to my previous recipe.  To my spaghetti sauce I added some chopped onions and chopped mixed peppers I had left from the chili.  I doubled both recipes and cooked the chili on high for about 6 hours in my large slow-cooker.  I also cooked the spaghetti sauce on low, on the stove, for about as long. These two recipes are for later in the week and month.  I keep some in the refrigerator and freeze the rest to use another time.

The next recipe is new to you but, oh so simple.  It’s a winter vegetable stew.  All, I did was cut up various vegetables.  You can really use anything you have on hand, but I kept to winter type veggies.  My recipe is below.  I cooked this in a slow cooker as well. This one is for dinner tonight.

Finally I also baked a super easy loaf of whole wheat bread.  It’s a quick no-knead recipe.  Unfortunately, I have a chronic problem with my bread rising as high as I would like no matter what recipe I use.  I think My kitchen has some kind of curse that keeps bread from getting to the lovely height I would like it to!  Here’s the recipe I used for the bread.
It has a great texture and taste, I just need to work on the rising part!  It’s will go well with my stew tonight.  Thanks to the Baking Bites blog for the recipe!

All of these are pretty low in Weight Watchers points although I have not figured them for you here you since you can modify the recipes.  Also, I will use them either alone or with other additions to make a meal that I will need to calculate later.  Don’t want to mislead anyone.  It’s really easy to put everything into the recipe builder on the WW website and calculate the points for however you use these.  I will try to share what I do with these recipes and calculate points at that time.

So basically the main part of the work was the prep which, all together, took about two hours.  You could even start the day before with the prep and just cook everything on the next day.  For me, Sunday works great to do this.

Here are the results of this, not so hard work:
And, here its what the chili and sauce looked like a little while later:
I will share with you later in the week what I made with some of this bounty.  As you can see, there is plenty for several dinners and lunches in various forms!

Here’s my recipe for the stew.  It has a very mild flavor so feel free to spice it up any way you like.  This stew is also great pureed into a soup with a touch of milk of your choice.  I will probably do that with the leftovers.  Remember to feel free to use any vegetables you have on hand.

Slow-Cooked Winter Vegetable Stew
makes 4 servings

2 medium carrots, cut into one inch chunks
2 potatoes, washed but unpeeled, cut into chunks
1 large leek, washed and sliced one half to one inch thick
one half medium yellow onion, chopped
1 kobocha squash, peeled and cut into chunks (I cut slits in the squash and microwaved for a few minutes, then cooled in order to easily cut it open, remove the seeds, and peel)
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp herbs de provence (this spice is easily found in any store’s spice department)
1 tsp celery seed
2 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups torn kale leaves

Combine all ingredients except kale in a 4 qt. slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours.  During the last half hour, add the kale leaves into the stew and cook until they are tender. Depending on the moisture content of your vegetables, and your preference, you may want to add more stock at this point. (If you so, be sure to heat the stock first!).  This is really good served over couscous, quinoa, or rice.

So, I hope you enjoy this post and find it useful.  Until next time!

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9 Responses to Marathon (Slow)Cooking Day

  1. Lorena Royce says:

    Good luck in the new job, Tammy. I’m starting back to WW this week. I have to do something 🙂
    I love Trader Joes meatless ground beef!
    Your Winter Vegetable Stew sounds great. Can’t wait to try it.

  2. Suann says:

    I’m convinced to put some veggies in the crockpot after reading this today! Thank you for sharing!

  3. tammyalex says:

    You’re welcome Suann! Enjoy!

  4. Nanette says:

    Hi Tammy, everything sounds good. Just wanted to let you know I’ve made the Veggie Chili twice now. Wade really likes it. My only real difference is I’ve been using canned corn instead of frozen. Also, I tinker with the spices. My second weigh-in at WW was ok if not grand. Lost less than a pound. Better than the alternative. Hi to Carl.

  5. Tami says:

    I had a rocky week 2 myself. I was so excited to be on the plan and working out every other day, got to WW last week and had GAINED 0.2 lbs! Has this ever happened to you? I was ready to cry and completely went into self pity mode. This week, I’m dusting myself off and getting back on plan. Decided to weigh in on Wed. instead of Mon. and start over regardless of the number. Wish me luck!

    • tammyalex says:

      Hi Tami! Yes, that’s definitely happened to me. And yes, you just need to get back on plan and move on. It’s an ongoing battle with me – day to day. I know for me, planning is key and I have not been doing a good job at that. hang in there girl! You can do this!

  6. Suann says:

    Oh yes that has happened! Remember when we did this at the gym? Lots of weeks it felt like I had not lost and even gained. I find also if I increase the salt even a little, I can gain so I try to watch the 2 days befor weighing in!

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