Taste of Home is sponsoring a company weight loss program based on our new cookbook, The Comfort Food Diet. I asked one of the participants, Associate Web Editor Heather Gergen, to share with us her journey to a healthier lifestyle.
As a busy mom who works outside the home, I rely a lot on the slow cooker. Trying to cook a healthy meal for my family after work and in between soccer, scouts, piano lessons and every other after school
activity is difficult.
I grew up with a single mom who relied a lot on the slow cooker. I never realized how much until I was a mom with a family to feed every night. She make turkey breasts with gravy, corned beef and cabbage and one of my favorites, beef stew.
In the new issue of Taste of Home, Stephanie’s Slow Cooker Stew recipe is very similar to my mom’s beef stew recipe except my mom thickens her stew with tapioca at the beginning, and this recipe uses cornstarch at the end.
My husband, John, doesn’t think of it as stew. He calls it a thick vegetable soup. My mother-in-law’s beef stew is a thicker, gravier version. I don’t care. It’s beef stew to me. It’s comfort food. And I
I never knew how many calories it had in it until I read the nutritional analysis at the end of Stephanie’s recipe. 1-1/3 cups equals 273 calories. Score. I can eat this on the Comfort Food Diet. How apropos!
I do like vegetable soup, too. And I’ve found a good recipe for the slow cooker. My favorite vegetable soup was always from Bill Knapps, a Midwestern restaurant chain that is now out of business. It was the kind of place my grandma would take me out for dinner. A lot of senior citizens hung out there and they served a lot of comfort food.
I think this Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup is similar to their recipe. The soup is only 143 calories a cup, so you can have a double portion and not feel bad about it. I served it with Petite Croissants that I found at the grocery store. They were only 90 calories a piece. My family liked it a lot. And I had plenty of leftovers to take for lunch throughout the week. I made my six-year-old son eat at least 3 bites of all the diced vegetables in the soup and all the meat that I served him. And he didn’t complain–very much. I also made this delicious Split Pea Soup recipe that he wouldn’t touch. That’s ok. More for the rest of the family ’cause we liked it.
• 16 oz. dried Split Peas, rinsed
• 1 package Pancetta (diced, in the cured meats section)
• 1 container Trader Joe’s Mire Poix (diced carrots, onions, and celery)
• 2 tsp. Crushed Garlic (in jar)
• 1 Tbsp. Salt
• Pepper to taste
• 1 Bay Leaf
Carefully pour in 1-1/2 qts. of hot water. Do not stir. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Remove bay leaf and serve!
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