Slow Cooker Jackfruit Tacos (Vegan, GF, DF)

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A few weeks ago, I was wandering through Trader Joe's, arms full of an embarrasing quantity of plantain chips when I noticed these tins of young jackfruit. I had heard about this magical fruit that cooks and shreds like pulled pork but had not yet seen it in person. I grabbed a couple cans already trying to decide between bbq sandwiches or carnitas tacos. 

Obviously, tacos won. I would never put a sandwich before a taco. I love finding new ingredients. It happened a lot with AIP and when both Cameron and I were plant based. Even though I eat meat now, it’s still fun finding new meatless options to try. For someone who loves to cook, it's very exciting, like a mini adventure in my kitchen. 

When shopping for jackfruit, get the young or green kind - the other will be too sweet.   Straight out of the tin, it mostly just tastes like the light brine it come in but will soak up whatever sauce or liquid you give it beautifully. 

You'll notice the jackfruit segments have two distinct parts: the flesh is soft and stringy the core is firm and solid. I just chop all of it up but I’d you’re looking for the real faux pulled pork experience that jackfruit is known for, you will want to remove and discard the firm core. 

We made tacos but this could also be used as burrito or enchilada filling.  

Jackfruit Tacos

2 20oz tins young jackfruit in brine, drained, chopped

1 14oz tomato sauce

2 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped 

additional spoonfuls of adobo sauce, to taste

2 grated garlic cloves

2 small shallot, finely diced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon molassas

dash cinnamon

s + p

tortillas and toppings, for serving

quick vegan crema, for serving (recipe and ingredients below) 

Combine all ingredients, except tortillas and toppings in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Use two forks to shred if needed. Serve with tortillas and toppings of your choice like chopped lettuce, diced onions, cilantro leaves, lime wedges, pepita cream - anything you like. 

If you want to make a quick vegan crema just blend 1/2 cup pepitas with 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup avocado oil and the juice of 1/2 a lime. Season with a pinch of cumin and salt, to taste. 

AIP Slow Cooker Beef Stew (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

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I swear I've posted this already but I can't find the post so here it is again. We make this all the time. I have the recipe memorized. It's usually a spur of the moment decision to make this. The ingredients are staples so we're usually almost all the way there with the ingredients, minus the beef.  

It's one of the easiest recipes, no searing or browning on the stove first - just easy chopping prep and into the slow cooker for a few hours. It's done when the beef is so tender it can be cut with a  spoon. This takes a surprisingly long time even on high - like 6-8 hours. Each time I make this, I cut the beef into smaller and smaller pieces and it's ready much faster. 

About 6-8 servings.

AIP Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped

4 carrots, peeled, chopped

4 ribs celery, chopped

2 turnips, peeled, chopped

8 oz mushrooms, chopped

1.5 cups green beans

2 lbs lean stew meat, cut into 1" pieces

1 bay leaf

1 sprig rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

water, as needed

salt + pepper

1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Place all the ingredients, except water, in slow cooker. Pour in just enough water to be level with ingredients. Cover, set on high and cook until meat is spoon tender, about 7 hours. Remove bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Season with salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar. 

Thai Lemongrass Beef + Root Vegetables (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

This is the slow cooker, crockpot, AIP version of the recipe I made a couple years ago. I love a good beef braise. This one is less labor intensive - just put everything in the slow cooker and let the magic begin. The kitchen's going to smell great thanks to the cinnamon, anise and lemongrass. 

My favorite part of making this dish is getting out my meat mallet and giving the ginger and lemongrass pieces a good hit. Bruising helps release the flavor. 

I'm going to sauté thinly sliced cabbage zoodles to serve with this. 

Serves 6. 

AIP Thai Lemongrass Beef + Root Vegetables

2 lbs stew beef, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 yellow onion, chopped

4-5 carrots, peeled, chopped

2 daikon, peeled, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

2" ginger root, peeled, smashed

3 lemongrass stalks, cut into thirds, smashed, tied into a bundle

2 kafir lime leaves, fresh or dried

2 star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

several turns of szechwan peppercorns

1 quart beef stock

s + p, to taste

lime juice, to taste

Place beef, onion, carrot, daikon, garlic, ginger, lemongrass bundle, kafir leaves, star anise, cinnamon, fresh crushed szechwan pepper and beef stock into a slow cooker. Cook on high until beef is spoon tender, about 6 hours. Skim off any foam. Remove lemongrass bundle. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice. 

Garlic + Rosemary Slow Cooker Pork (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I like this pork.  It fills the house with a lovely smell while it's cooking and rosemary always reminds me of winter.  It's so piney.  Piney is a word, right?  

I'll whip this up just to have in the fridge for last minute dinners like pasta/zoodles, with veggies in a stir fry, make tacos, sandwiches, use it for salad... 

If you don't have fresh rosemary, use 1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves tied in a piece of cheesecloth or in a tea infuser.  That way, you avoid all those hard little leaves in your dish but still enjoy the flavor. 

Garlic and Rosemary Slow Cooker Pork

2.5 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2" pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 sprig large sprig fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon fennel powder

This one is real easy: place everything into the bowl of your slow cooker.  Stir to to coat pork - use clean hands - it's easier.  Cover and cook until pork is tender enough to very easily shred with a fork, about 5 hours on high, 8 hours on low. Shred and enjoy.

Classic Pot Roast in a Slow Cooker

Quick- before spring is officially here and we don't arrive home chilly wanting giant hunks of roasty, saucy warm beef with root vegetables.  I can hardly imagine.  

This is a classic, straight forward pot roast with lots of vegetables, spoon-soft meat and a flavorful gravy. 

I got out my kitchen scissors and knife and cut off as much fat as I had patience for.  This cut has plenty so feel free to get some of it off. 

serves 4.

Classic Pot Roast in a Slow Cooker

2 cups baby carrots

12 pearl onions, trimmed

1 pound turnips, peeled, large pieces

1 bay leaf

3 garlic cloves, sliced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 lb beef chuck pot roast, fat trimmed

s + p

1 tablespoon grape seed oil

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup red wine

2 cups beef stock (chicken or veg is ok, too)

Place baby carrots, pearl onions, turnips, bay leaf, garlic, thyme and rosemary in bowl of slow cooker.  

Generously sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.  Heat grape seed oil in skillet over medium high heat.  When hot, sear roast until a deep, brown crust has formed, about 4 minutes each side.  When browned on all sides, place on top of vegetables in slow cooker.  Add tomato paste, flour and wine to pan, whisking constantly.  Bring to boil, add stock.  Whisk until thickened.  Pour over roast and vegetables.  Cover and set on low for 8 hours.  Beef will be super tender and fall apart when poked with a fork.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve on its own or over egg noodles.

 

 

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

Happy 2016!  I hope everyone had a fun and indulgent holiday season.  I know I did.  Lots of food and family time.  Now I'm back to gym and staying busy, working on healthy recipes for this month.  You can look forward to lots of veggies, lean proteins and nutritious snacks. 

But for now, here's an easy soup you can throw into the slow cooker and enjoy on a cold night.  It's so yummy and easy to make!  I think it took me about 10 minutes to get all this prepped and into the slow cooker.  Then it's hands off for four hours and then dinner is served.  The only problem being that I have to deal with smelling something delicious all day that is not yet ready for eating.  

Serves 6.

Green Split Pea Soup in a Slow Cooker

1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed, checked for debris

4 oz ham, diced

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1/2 teaspoon cumin

6 cups chicken or veggie stock 

s + p

chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Combine all ingredients, except fresh parsley, in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours until peas are super tender with some even falling apart.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowl

Another slow cooker recipe!  I really like the idea of coming home from work to a pot of this stewy chicken ready to be stuffed into taco shells, wrapped in tortillas or served over cilantro brown rice and topped with grated cheese, chopped lettuce, sour cream and sliced avocado.  

Serves 4-6.

Slow Cooker Chicken for Tacos, burritos...

dash olive oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno chile, seeded, minced

1 14oz tin diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon chile powder

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup chicken stock

1 14oz tin black beans, rinsed, drained

1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

s + p

lime juice, to taste

In a bowl, stir together onion, garlic, chile, tomatoes, cumin, chile powders, sugar, oregano and stock, season with salt and pepper.  Add drizzle a bit of olive oil in bottom of slow cooker.  Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker. Pour seasoned tomato mixture over chicken.  Cook Low for 6-7 hours.  Chicken will be very tender and shred easily with a fork.  Stir in beans and corn, the stirring will break up chicken into bite sized pieces.  Cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess liquid.  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lime juice. 

Slow Cooker White Bean, Andouille + Collard Greens Soup

I'm only minimally sorry for bombarding you all with all these slow cooker recipes this month but I've been using this little machine weekly.  I have the 4 quart crockpot which is great size for Cam and me.  I promise I'll start mixing it up after the slow cooked pork recipe I'm sharing next week.  

This is almost a stew, slightly thickened by the starchiness of the beans.  Make sure not to let it cook too far, otherwise the beans will breakdown entirely and you'll have a weird, delicious blended bean soup situation. Cook until the beans are tender but don't let them fall apart.  

Slow Cooker White Ben, Sausage + Collard Greens Soup

12 oz white beans, soaked overnight and drained

12 oz andouille sausage, sliced

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 carrot, peeled, diced

1 bay leaf

about 3" piece of parmesan cheese rind wrapped in cheese cloth

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

4 cups chicken stock

3 cups water

1 bunch collard greens, stems discarded, leaves chopped

splash red wine vinegar

s + p

Add beans, sausage, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaf, cheese rind, thyme, basil, oregano, stock and water to the slow cooker pot.  Stir, cover and let cook on High about 4 hours or 7 hours on Low, until beans are tender.  Stir in collard greens.  Season with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.  Serve hot. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

I got a SLOW COOKER!  I'm pretty excited about this one.  Mostly because my favorite meals are stewy, one pot affairs; best eaten over rice.  I think this puts us in slow cooker territory.  This thing's not going into the cupboard but staying on the counter all season.  I'm really looking forward to prepping meals in the am hours and coming home to a hot dinner. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1" pieces

8 oz potatoes, 1" pieces

8 oz carrots, peeled, 1" pieces

2 tablespoons minced ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, finely diced

1 14 oz tin diced tomatoes

1 cup light coconut milk

1 cup water

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon garam marsala

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon fennel powder

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek

s + p

1 cup chopped green beans

Stir everything, except the green beans, together in the bowl of a slow cooker.  Make sure it's all evenly mixed.  Cover and set to high.  Cook about 4 hours undisturbed: chicken will be cooked through and potatoes tender. Stir in green beans, recover and cook 30 more minutes.  Serve with rice, if desired.