Healthy crock pot cookery?
I recently got a crockpot and I've been having a blast braising and slow cooking chicken, pork and beef stews and roasts. The food is succulent and savory and delicious but let's face it - the food cooks in it's own fat and juices all day long. Is that just the nature of the beast or are there healthy ways to use my favorite new toy? I am really interested in entrees (no soups, please) that use leaner, healthier cuts of meat and chicken. Any suggestions?
In my experience, the food from the slow cooker is so rich and concentrated that the largest portion you wind up eating is the brown rice, cous cous, noodles or whatever. The fat gets spread thin.
Plus when you refrigerate the leftovers it is easy to skim the fat so at least your second meal from the batch is fat free.
And if you are still worried about it, cook beans instead of meat.
Skin the chicken pieces. Use the skins to make broth and skim that.
Well, many lean cuts of meat do not lend themselves well to the braising that is characteristic of slow cookers, unless fat or salt is added.
I think the best compromise are turkey thighs, which can be cooked that way to great effect. I've done turkey breasts in a slow cooker, and would say that it is better poached (on the bone, please; the bone adds so much).
One of my favorite lower fat crock pot standbys is skinless chicken breasts cooked all day with a spicy tomatillo salsa. I shred the chicken after I take it of the bone, and then put it back in the sauce. We eat this plain or with tortillas and a little cheddar and sour cream and lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. It's easy and delicious and not that fattening, depending on what you add at the end.
There is this "fix-it-and-forget-it" crock-pot book that I have that's wonderful--but of course not terribly low-fat. But the same people who put that one out have now put out a "light" version. The original has like six recipes over every two-page spread, and probably a couple hundred pages, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a few good light recipes you like.