6 Must Have Small Kitchen Appliances

 6 Must Have Small Kitchen Appliances | cookeatbehealthy.com

Today I’m kicking off a new series I’m calling “CEBH…A Behind The Scenes Peek Into My Kitchen“! I thought I’d start by sharing my favorite, most-used, cannot-live-without, must-have small kitchen appliances.  These are the appliances that I’ve come to rely on after many years of building up my appliance arsenal to where it is now.  And while these are all indispensable to me now, there was a time when I managed to cook and bake just fine without any of them!  So take heart if you’re just starting out and cannot afford to equip the kitchen of your dreams.  I recommend saving up and investing in quality new kitchen appliances as you can afford them.  Quality equipment will reward you with years and years of reliable performance!  Plus there’s a real sense of satisfaction knowing you’ve worked and saved toward a purchase that, while clearly a luxury, will make your culinary adventures even more pleasurable…and perhaps even more adventuresome!

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

For many years I longed for a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, but there was just no way I could justify the expense of buying the one I wanted – one with a large bowl and heavy duty motor.  However, several years ago my family went together and bought me my lovely mixer, which I use quite frequently!  I don’t bake much anymore, but when I do it is indispensable for mixing batters and doughs!  A real perk to owning a KitchenAid is the myriad of  attachments that are available for it, and honestly I’d say I use it more with those attachments than I do as the mixer itself! As of now I have the Spiralizer Plus, the Ice Cream Maker, and the Rotor Slicer/Shredder.  On my wishlist is the Pasta Roller and Cutter Set.  Check out these recipes for examples of how I put my KitchenAid Stand Mixer to good use!

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies | cookeatbehealthy.com

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Avocado Pesto on Grilled Chicken & Vegetables

Avocado Pesto on Grilled Chicken and Vegetables 

Dairy Free Maple Walnut Ice Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

Dairy Free Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Ninja Cooking System 

This is arguably my second-most indespensible small kitchen appliance (after my Keurig)!  I love it for it’s versatility and the way it simplifies my life by simplifying my cooking!  This little powerhouse has 3 settings: Oven, Stovetop, and Slowcooker…all of which I’ve used repeatedly and many times I’ve even used more than one setting for a single dish.  It’s perfect for braising and then switching to slow cooking or the oven setting,  slow cooking and then switching to the stovetop setting for the last minute addition of noodles to a soup for example, and the size of the cooking vessel is more than generous for preparing a meal to serve a large family.  Here’s three recipes I made using my Ninja Cooking System.

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables | cookeatbehealthy.com

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables 

Sugar Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce | cookeatbehealthy.com

Sugar-Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce 

Polar Vortex Bison Chili | cookeatbehealthy.com

Polar Vortex Bison Chili 

Immersion Blender

This is a one of those simple kitchen gadgets that I really hesitated buying because I wasn’t sure how much I’d use it, but now that I have one I kick myself for not getting one sooner!  It makes blending hot soups a cinch, it works for making super smooth whipped potatoes, and I’ve also used it to make small amounts of whipped cream!  When my granddaughter had her tonsils out and was at the point in her recovery where dairy products were allowed I think I probably made her a dozen or more single serve milk shakes!  All in all I’ve found it to be really useful for many different applications, but I still find myself using it mostly for blending hot soups…saves transferring hot liquids to the blender, dirtying even more dishes, and reduces the risk of burning oneself with hot splattering liquids!  Here’s two recipes to try using an immersion blender.

Roasted Butternut Chipotle Soup | cookeatbehealthy.com

Roasted Butternut Chipotle Soup 

Grilled Zucchini and Vidalia Onion Soup | cookeatbehealthy.com

Grilled Zucchini and Vidalia Onion Soup 

Cuisinart Food Processor 

For many years I used an itty bitty baby food processor and it was fine for chopping nuts or grinding crackers, but not much else!  Finally I decided I was worthy of a “real” food processor and settled on this 14 cup beauty from Cuisinart.  It’s large and powerful enough to handle anything and everything I throw at it!  It’s uses are endless, it comes with slicing and shredding discs, and it’s dishwasher safe! One of my favorite things to make with my food processor is homemade mayonnaise!  The taste surpasses anything you can buy at the store and through trial and error I’ve come up with a foolproof recipe!  I also make all our own hummus so I can control exactly what’s in it…when you eat as much hummus as we do, that’s an important consideration!

Homemade Mayonnaise | cookeatbehealthy.com

Homemade Mayonnaise 

Layered Hummus Dip with Crispy Tortilla Strips | cookeatbehealthy.com

Layered Hummus Dip with Crispy Tortilla Strips 

Vitamix

All well equipped kitchens need a high powered blender.  It can do so much more than make milk shakes!  I use mine most every morning from March through October to make smoothies, I make homemade cashew butter in mine, it crushes ice, it makes soups, and it blends a mean margarita!  I also use it to blend cashew cream!  A few months ago I featured a series of recipes using cashew cream…check out a couple of them here!

Cashew Cream | cookeatbehealthy.com

Basic Cashew Cream ~ Dairy Free

Raw Chocolate Espresso Torte | cookeatbehealthy.com

Raw Chocolate Espresso Torte 

Keurig Coffee Brewer

Perhaps the most frequently used, most beloved, most completely necessary small appliance in my kitchen is my Keurig!  To quote Lorelai Gilmore…”I can’t stop drinking the coffee.  I stop drinking the coffee, I stop doing the standing and the walking and the putting into sentence doing.”  But seriously….coffee is life blood and I am just not myself without it!  One of my favorite desserts features coffee….go figure! 😉

Coffee & Kahlua Dairy Free Popsicle Affogato | cookeatbehealthy.com

Coffee & Kahlua Dairy Free Popsicle Affogato 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my 6 Must Have Small Kitchen Appliances, and I can’t wait to share some more peeks into what makes my kitchen work for me!  I’d love to hear about your favorite kitchen appliances…leave me a comment below so I can check them out.  I mean…if there’s another must have appliance out there, I need to know! 😉

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables | cookeatbehealthy.com

Slow cookers have been a fixture in many kitchens since the early 1970’s when Rival reimagined the slow cooker originally invented by Irving Naxon.  In 1936 Irving invented a bean cooker so his Jewish mother could honor the sabbath by not working.  By using his slow cooker pot, his mother was able to serve a traditional meal of bean stew called cohlent at the end of the sabbath after Saturday services, and still adhere to the tradition of resting on the sabbath. All I have to say is THANK YOU, IRVING NAXON!  The invention of the slow cooker is arguably one of the greatest kitchen appliances of our time!  I know personally, that there were many family dinners that would have never happened had it not been for my trusty slow cooker! 

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables |cookeatbehealthy.com

And yes…it’s a slow cooker, not a crockpot.  Just as all facial tissues are not Kleenex, all cotton swabs are not Q-tips, and all petroleum jelly is not Vaseline.  My personal preference for a slow cooker is the Ninja Cooking System.  It has slow cooker, oven, and stove top cooking settings which make it extremely versatile and user friendly!  

Today I’m sharing a recipe for Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables that happens to be one of my favorite meals of all time!  I love Indian food, but living in the middle of Iowa, authentic Indian is pretty hard to come by!  I’ve experimented with several different recipes I’ve found on line and come up with my version of an Indian Red Curry that I love, and that my family will happily eat every time I serve it!

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables |cookeatbehealthy.com

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables | cookeatbehealthy.com

Put the lid on, set the temperature to low, and walk away while dinner cooks itself!

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables | cookeatbehealthy.com

Your patience is rewarded…dinner is served!

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables | cookeatbehealthy.com

Like all good slow cooker recipes, the preparation is simple and straightforward.  And to save time, much of the prep work and recipe assembly, save for stirring in the lentils and coconut milk can be completed the evening before actually cooking the dish.  The flavors are spicy from the red curry paste, roasted red chili paste, cayenne, and red pepper flakes, and warm and rich from the addition of more curry powder and turmeric.  Potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and bell pepper add plenty of flavor and texture.  Even my husband, a certified carnivore, loves this dish!  Served over basmati rice it is filling and satisfying, and it’s one of those meals that I think is even better served leftover the next day!

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables | cookeatbehealthy.com

Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables
Serves 10
With minimal preparation, a warm and savory spicy red curry lentil dinner can be yours when you get home from a long day at work!
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 30 min
330 calories
51 g
0 g
9 g
14 g
7 g
420 g
451 g
8 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
420g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 330
Calories from Fat 76
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 7g
37%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 451mg
19%
Total Carbohydrates 51g
17%
Dietary Fiber 16g
64%
Sugars 8g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
65%
Vitamin C
84%
Calcium
9%
Iron
35%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  2. 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  3. 2 large carrots, diced
  4. 4 stalks celery, sliced
  5. 4 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
  6. 6 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 2 cups dry lentils
  8. 1 28 oz. can tomatoes
  9. 1 can full fat coconut milk
  10. 3 cups vegetable stock
  11. 3 cups tomato juice
  12. 3 tbsp red curry paste
  13. 2 tsp roasted red chili paste
  14. 2-3 tsp curry powder
  15. 1 tsp turmeric
  16. 1/2 tsp cayenne
  17. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  18. Salt to taste
  19. Prepared basmati rice for serving
Instructions
  1. Combine everything except the coconut milk and rice in a large slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, until lentils and vegetables are tender and sauce has thickened.
  3. Approximately 30 to 60 minutes before serving, stir in coconut milk and allow to heat through.
  4. Serve with prepared rice.
Notes
  1. Enjoy leftovers for up to 4 or 5 days.
  2. I like to freeze individual portions for a delicious lunch to take to work!
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calories
330
fat
9g
protein
14g
carbs
51g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

 

Polar Vortex Bison Chili

Polar Vortex Bison Chili | cookeatbehealthy.com

Is there anything more delicious than a steaming hot spicy bowl of chili?!?  I sure don’t think so!  This past weekend we were in the grips of some of the coldest and nastiest weather of the year so far.  The weather folks call it the Polar Vortex.  I think they just call it that because the FCC frowns on cursing on live television and vortex could, if enunciated properly, almost sound like a curse word!  The wind was howling, snow was falling heavily, and the air temps were plunging to the teens below zero…which meant the windchill factor was around a vortexing negative 40 degrees. There’s really no way to deal with weather like that except to stay inside if possible, watch Netflix, and spend time in the kitchen!

Polar Vortex Bison Chili | cookeatbehealthy.com

My daughter is home from college for the holidays and she loves chili!  I like to think that it’s MY chili she especially loves, so even if I’m being delusional I’m going to keep on believing it’s the truth!  Anyway…knowing Anna would be home, and having heard the forecast, I picked up some ground bison and all the other ingredients to make a huge pot of Polar Vortex Bison Chili in the slow cooker.

I feel like chili is one of those recipes that is very personal, and everybody already has their favorite version, but I always like to tweak mine just a little here or there so we don’t get bored with the same old-same old chili!  To this pot I chose to use ground bison instead of beef because I really just prefer the bison for it’s flavor and healthfulness.  I used a large can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, a minced jalapeño, a couple chopped up chipotles in adobo, spicy V8 juice, and chili powder for different levels and intensities of spiciness.  Aside from those ingredients, I also included a large diced onion, a big ‘ol can of chili beans, a little extra cumin to enhance the smokiness of the chipotles and chili powder, and a generous portion of chopped garlic!  Throw in a little salt and pepper to taste, simmer it slow and low all day long, and 8 hours later…your patience is  rewarded with the best bowl of  chili you’ve ever tasted!  

Polar Vortex Bison Chili | cookeatbehealthy.com

Polar Vortex Bison Chili | cookeatbehealthy.com

I suggest serving the chili with some kind of bread – I made cornbread muffins shaped like mini bundt cakes.  That little depression in the center is perfect for corralling the honey I drizzle on mine.  Biscuits are another family favorite to accompany chili!  Toppings for the chili might include shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped jalapeños, crackers or tortilla chips ~ this is completely a personal preference!

Polar Vortex Bison Chili | cookeatbehealthy.com

Next time you make a pot of chili try mixing it up a little with a few different ingredients – starting with this recipe and taking it from there!  Go ahead…make your family the best vortexing pot of chili to ever come from your kitchen! 😉

Polar Vortex Bison Chili
Serves 8
Take your chili game to the next level with this recipe for Polar Vortex Bison Chili!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 15 min
352 calories
26 g
78 g
15 g
30 g
6 g
449 g
1354 g
9 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
449g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 352
Calories from Fat 136
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
24%
Saturated Fat 6g
29%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 78mg
26%
Sodium 1354mg
56%
Total Carbohydrates 26g
9%
Dietary Fiber 8g
33%
Sugars 9g
Protein 30g
Vitamin A
55%
Vitamin C
109%
Calcium
13%
Iron
45%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 pounds ground bison
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  4. 1 30 oz. can chili beans
  5. 1 46 oz. bottle of low sodium Spicy Hot V8 juice
  6. 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
  7. 1 large onion, chopped
  8. 6 cloves garlic, minced
  9. 1 jalapeño, diced
  10. 3 tbsp chili powder
  11. 1 tsp cumin
  12. 1 tsp salt
  13. 1/2 tsp pepper
  14. Additional salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground bison and chopped onions, seasoned with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper, in large skillet drizzled with olive oil.
  2. Transfer to slow cooker, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Simmer on low 6-8 hours, until soup has thickened and flavors are developed. Adjust seasoning to taste by adding additional salt as desired.
Notes
  1. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy reheated within 3-5 days.
  2. Freezes well.
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calories
352
fat
15g
protein
30g
carbs
26g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Best Ever Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Best Ever Slow Cooker Oatmeal | cookeatbehealthy.com

Raise your hand if you’re busy, stressed out, running out of patience, and burning the candle at both ends!  I can almost feel the breeze from all those hands waving in the air!  😉  This time of year is without a doubt the most joyous for many of us, but it can also be the most stressful!  There’s so much to do…year-end work projects, shopping, cooking, baking, holiday parties, school music concerts, church youth programs, house guests, decorating, secret-keeping, gift wrapping…the list goes on and on!  But no matter how busy life gets, we’re better able to cope with the craziness if we’ve fueled up properly before heading out the door!  To that end, let me introduce you to my Best Ever Slow Cooker Oatmeal!

Best Ever Slow Cooker Oatmeal | cookeatbehealthy.com

This oatmeal comes together in a few minutes in the slow cooker, simmers for a couple hours, and makes enough to feed 8 people once, 2 people 4 times, 4 people twice….you get the idea!  Make it on Sunday, refrigerator single serve portions, and heat them up in the morning when your rushing to get ready for work or to get the kids out the door for school!  It’s deliciously satisfying and will keep you going all morning.  There’s also something about a warm breakfast on a cold winter morning that just seems to set a more positive tone for the day!  And as a mom I always felt better about sending my kids to the bus stop on a belly full of homemade oatmeal, though I rarely had time to make it for them.  This recipe solves that issue!  

Best Ever Slow Cooker Oatmeal | cookeatbehealthy.com

Another time this recipe would be a perfect addition to your breakfast recipe arsenal is when you’ve got a house full of guests.  Maybe family is in town for the holidays.  Maybe your college age kids are home for the weekend with a couple friends in tow.  Maybe your 10 year old hosted a sleep over and you’ve got a hungry bunch of kids to feed.  No matter the scenario – whether you’re making a pot full for yourself to have for breakfast all week, or to feed a crowd, this oatmeal is fantastic – and it’s a recipe you’ll be sure to turn to over and over again!

Best Ever Slow Cooker Oatmeal | cookeatbehealthy.com

One of the things I like most about oatmeal is that it’s like a blank canvas that can be painted with variety of flavors and toppings!  This recipe itself is simple – unsweetened vanilla almond milk, water, old fashioned oats, real maple syrup, a dash of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, and a smidgen of almond extract combine to make the basic oatmeal.  What you do to your own bowl of oatmeal is completely up to you!  I suggest serving fresh berries, nuts, bananas, extra syrup for those who like it sweeter, and more almond milk for those who prefer it thinner. You might also serve it with applesauce like this homemade version, toasted coconut, dried fruits, or even chocolate chips for the kiddos!  My favorite bowl is topped with blueberries, sliced bananas, and walnuts!  There are no rules when it comes to personalizing your oatmeal!!!

Best Ever Slow Cooker Oatmeal | cookeatbehealthy.com

Let this Best Ever Slow Cooker Oatmeal simplify the breakfast frenzy for you and your family!  You’ll be happy they ate a healthy breakfast, and they’ll be fueled up and full until lunchtime!

Best Ever Slow Cooker Oatmeal
Serves 8
This will be your go-to recipe for a hearty and hot breakfast to feed your hungry crew, and keep them fueled up until lunch!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 5 min
292 calories
52 g
0 g
5 g
10 g
1 g
259 g
155 g
12 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
259g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 292
Calories from Fat 34
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
8%
Saturated Fat 1g
4%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 155mg
6%
Total Carbohydrates 52g
17%
Dietary Fiber 6g
26%
Sugars 12g
Protein 10g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
22%
Iron
16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 3 cups old fashioned oats
  4. 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1/4 tsp almond extract
  8. 1 tsp vanilla
  9. Fresh or dried fruit, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, extra maple syrup and almond milk, or other toppings as desired
Instructions
  1. In a slow cooker combine almond milk, water, oats, maple syrup, salt, almond extract, and vanilla.
  2. Stir well, replace lid, and cook on low for approximately 2 hours.
  3. Stir oatmeal after 90 minutes cooking time, adding more liquid if needed, and adjusting cooking time to reach desired consistency of finished oatmeal.
  4. Serve warm with desired toppings.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers in individual serving size containers to quickly reheat for a fast, healthy nutritious, and delicious breakfast!
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calories
292
fat
5g
protein
10g
carbs
52g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Slow-Cooker Bison Stew

Slowcooker Bison Stew | cookeatbehealthy.com

Baby it’s cold outside!  Cliche, I know, but still true!  The polar vortex is racing south from the North Pole and bringing single digit daytime high temperatures, double digit below-zero nighttime lows, and several inches of snow this weekend. Ugh…I really hate winter.  I’ve lived my whole life in the Midwest and still I’ve yet to learn to appreciate winter.  I fully acknowledge how beautiful it can be, but honestly, it has taken me 50 years to even get to the point where I could say that! 😉  I hate the cold, the wind, the cold, the atrocious driving conditions, the cold, the cancelled plans because of bad weather, the cold, the fact that it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon, and the cold!

Slowcooker Bison Stew | cookeatbehealthy.com

But – being of hearty Midwest stock, I’ve learned to cope with all the aforementioned hatefulness that is winter by avoiding going outside as much as possible, owning a car with heated seats (BEST INVENTION EVER) and a remote starter (2nd BEST INVENTION EVER) for when I do have to leave the house, and by cooking foods that warm us from the inside out.  Nothing can make me appreciate a blizzardy weekend more than a bowl of steaming hot stew!  

Slowcooker Bison Stew | cookeatbehealthy.com

Today I’m sharing a recipe for Slow-Cooker Bison Stew!  I love to use Bison whenever it’s available because health-wise it’s incredibly nutritious, and the flavor is similar to beef – only deeper and more intense!  However, Bison is not always easy to come by, so please substitute beef if you can’t get Bison! I promise you won’t be disappointed!  

Can we all take a minute to thank whoever invented the slow-cooker?!?  I feel like a slow cooker is a busy mom’s best friend in the kitchen!  I use a Ninja Cooking System which allows me to switch between slow cooking, stovetop, oven, and steaming.  I love it because it allows me to brown the meat for the stew using the stovetop setting, then switch it to slow-cooking once all the other ingredients are added to the pot!  Optionally, the meat can be browned on a conventional stovetop, then transferred to the slow cooker to continue cooking. The stew could also be slow baked in the oven in a Dutch oven after browning the meat on the stovetop.  And finally, if you prefer not to brown the meat…that works too!  Homemade stew is one of the easiest and most forgiving recipes there is!  

Slowcooker Bison Stew | cookeatbehealthy.com

For this pot of stew I used a Bison roast that I cubed into bite sized pieces.  I tossed the meat in flour, salt and pepper, and seared it in a little olive oil.  Truthfully, that’s the hardest part – and remember – you can totally skip that part if you’re short on time!  Once the meat is browned, simply throw everything else in the pot, cover it, turn the heat setting to low, and walk away!  8 – 10 hours later you will be rewarded with a thick, aromatic, flavorful, piping hot stew! And best of all, your family will love you for making it for them!  

Slowcooker Bison Stew | cookeatbehealthy.com

I tend to keep the vegetables simple – and cut into large pieces so they hold up to a full day of slow cooking. Potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions, and celery compliment the Bison perfectly.  Seasonings are simple as well…salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, garlic, red pepper flakes, a bay leaf, and finally a bottle of beer!  The alcohol cooks away, but the stew is left with a little something special that’ll have everyone guessing what your secret to perfect stew is!  Bonus…the beer helps tenderize the meat if it’s a little tough!

Slowcooker Bison Stew | cookeatbehealthy.com

Finally – pair the finished stew with some crusty bread, a slice of cornbread, or a handful of crackers if you prefer.  I’m confident you’ll find this meal so hearty and satisfying that even serving it unaccompanied will have your family ooohing and aaahing and asking for seconds!  

Slowcooker Bison Stew | cookeatbehealthy.com

So the next time the polar vortex comes knocking on your door, chase the cold away and warm your family’s hearts and bellies with a big bowl full of this satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs, Bison Stew!  It’s not even officially winter yet, and I’m already counting down the days until spring – which happens to be 97 more days…ya know…just in case you’re counting too!!!

Slow-Cooker Bison Stew
Serves 8
This hearty stick-to-your-ribs Slow-Cooker Bison Stew is perfect for chasing away the polar vortex!
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 40 min
413 calories
31 g
126 g
10 g
47 g
3 g
581 g
667 g
8 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
581g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 413
Calories from Fat 93
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
16%
Saturated Fat 3g
16%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 126mg
42%
Sodium 667mg
28%
Total Carbohydrates 31g
10%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 8g
Protein 47g
Vitamin A
195%
Vitamin C
23%
Calcium
7%
Iron
42%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs. Bison Roast, cut into bite sized pieces ~ or beef stew meat
  2. 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  3. 1 tsp each salt and pepper, plus more to taste
  4. 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
  6. 1 lb. potatoes, cut into large chunks
  7. 1 large onion, cut into large pieces
  8. 4 stalks celery, chopped into 1" pieces
  9. 2 lbs. baby bella mushrooms, thickly sliced
  10. 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  11. 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  12. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  13. 1 bay leaf
  14. 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  15. 4 cups beef stock
  16. 1 12 oz bottle beer
Instructions
  1. In a bowl or large zip-top storage bag, toss bison with flour and 1 tsp each salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil to medium high, add flour coated meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is browned on all sides.
  3. Transfer to slow-cooker.
  4. Set slow-cooker temperature to low, add vegetables, tomato sauce, and seasonings.
  5. Pour in beer and beef stock. Stir well.
  6. Cover and cook 8 to 10 hours. Stir and check for seasoning - adding more salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve piping hot.
Notes
  1. This recipe makes 8 very generous servings.
  2. Like many stews, the flavor intensifies as the leftovers chill in the refrigerator.
  3. When reheating add a little more stock or water to slightly thin the broth.
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calories
413
fat
10g
protein
47g
carbs
31g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso “Gravy”

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso "Gravy" | cookeatbehealthy.com

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Beauty is only skin deep.  All good things to remember when reading today’s post.  This is not the prettiest meal I’ve ever prepared, but it most certainly one of the tastiest.  If you are a fan of the classic beef roast served with carrots and potatoes, then this is the meal for you!  If you grew up in the Midwest then this is a delicious and healthy version of the quintessential Sunday dinner we all remember!  If you are, or you know, a meat and potatoes kinda guy, then this will be a recipe to put into regular rotation.  The Bison Roast is tender and juicy.  The vegetables are roasted to perfection.  The “gravy” is such an incredibly wonderfully copycat of a rich and creamy beef gravy that no one…and I mean no one will be able to tell the difference.  

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso "Gravy" | cookeatbehealthy.com

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Cashew Cream "Gravy" | cookeatbehealthy.com

One of the best things about this meal is that once it’s assembled in the slow cooker, you get to walk away and not even think about it for the next 6 to 8 hours.  Unless you’re home – then you’re going to be thinking about it constantly after about 2 hours cooking time because it smells so incredibly good!  But first things first…you need to prepare the Bourbon Espresso Cashew Cream.  I made mine the day before, so that really simplified things the day I served this meal.  I also seared my roast – this is a 100% optional step, and truthfully, if it weren’t for the fact that I have a Ninja 4-in-1, I probably would skip it.  Mostly because I don’t like dirtying extra pans, but with my Ninja I can sear the meat on the stovetop setting, and then switch it to the slow cooker setting.  Honestly it kind of feels like cheating because it’s just so easy.  But then I’m kind of lazy, so….😉  Once the potatoes are cleaned, and halved if they’re large, the carrots are peeled and cut into approximately 4″ pieces, and the onions and mushrooms are sliced, it’s just a matter of layering everything, putting the lid on, and walking away.  Then when it’s time to serve dinner just sit back and let the compliments roll in.  Because I promise you – your family will LOVE this meal!  

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

The cashew cream is a little different than others we’ve made so far in this recipe series.  I didn’t use our basic recipe and then adapt it to this meal – I made it differently from the start!  The one constant though, is that you need to soak your cashews at least 2-3 hours before making the sauce.  By combining a few unusual – yet fabulous – ingredients, this sauce is going to make a rich and creamy gravy that is spoon-lickin’ good!  As usual, drain the water from the soaked cashews, place them in the blender, add the instant espresso powder, salt, pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, water, and bourbon…then blend it all up to a smooth and creamy consistency.  I’m telling you – it’s like magic happens when this sauce combines with that flavorful and juicy bison roast!  Check the roast about an hour before serving and if you find the “gravy” is too thick, simply add a little water to thin it out.

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

An optional step: searing the meat…

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

Layer in the potatoes…

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

Then the carrots and onions…

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

Next the mushrooms…

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

Finally the sauce.  Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or high 4 to 6.

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

Give it all a stir about an hour before serving.  Add more water at this time if the gravy is too thick.

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Gravy | cookeatbehealthy.com

Not exactly a beauty queen – more of an ugly duckling – but flavor is in the tastebuds of the devourers!  Once you dig in – nobody will care how plain this meal looks.  They’ll only care how marvelous it tastes!  

Slow Cooker Bison Roast with Bourbon Espresso Gravy
Serves 6
If you are a meat and potatoes kind of person - or you love someone who is - then this is the recipe for you!
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 40 min
704 calories
60 g
116 g
24 g
53 g
6 g
707 g
602 g
16 g
0 g
16 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
707g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 704
Calories from Fat 210
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g
37%
Saturated Fat 6g
30%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 116mg
39%
Sodium 602mg
25%
Total Carbohydrates 60g
20%
Dietary Fiber 9g
35%
Sugars 16g
Protein 53g
Vitamin A
507%
Vitamin C
40%
Calcium
12%
Iron
41%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 pound bone-in bison arm roast (or beef roast if bison is unavailable)
  2. 2 pounds potatoes, halved if large
  3. 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into about 4" pieces
  4. 2 large vidalia onions, sliced
  5. 12 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  6. 4 tsp olive oil to sear the roast ~ optional
  7. Salt and pepper to season the meat
  8. 1 cup cashews, soaked at least 2-3 hours, then drained
  9. 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  10. 1 tsp ground black pepper
  11. 1 tsp salt
  12. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes ~ optional
  13. 1/2 cup bourbon
  14. 1 cup water
For the "Gravy"
  1. In a blender combine cashews, espresso, 1 tsp each salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, Bourbon, and water.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Set aside, or refrigerate (if not using immediately) until ready to use.
For the Roast
  1. Season the roast generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Sear the meat if desired, then transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Layer potatoes, carrots, onions, and mushrooms around and over the roast.
  4. Pour sauce over all, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 to 6 hours.
  5. About 1 hour before serving, stir the gravy and vegetables together, adding more water as needed.
Notes
  1. Leftovers of this meal are just as delicious as the first serving!
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calories
704
fat
24g
protein
53g
carbs
60g
more
Cook Eat Be Healthy http://cookeatbehealthy.com/