I have a confession: I have named not only my insulin pump and my CGM… but also my slow cooker. Yes, “Betty” does a lot of work in my kitchen while I’m at the office, keeping things warm and cooking up delicious stews, roasts and other meals while I’m too busy to do so.
In the past few weeks the weather has gotten very cold here, so I’ve been looking to Betty more and more to have a meal waiting for me when I get home. Sure, I have a few slow cooker “go to” meals that I don’t even use a recipe for anymore, but since it’s so early in the winter season (also known in my kitchen as slow-cooker season), I figured I would branch out and try some new recipes. I found a recipe for Barbecued Beef and Vegetable Stew in the 2nd edition of One Pot Meals for People with Diabetes and immediately thought it was a perfect combination (I am very picky about condiments, but barbecue is always welcome on my plate).
Off I went to the store to pick up a few items that I didn’t have at home and the next morning when I got up, I threw a few items in the pot, turned it on, and left Betty to work her magic. When I got home that evening, I could smell the tangy, sweet aroma before I unlocked my door – and I was instantly hungry. So with no further ado, here’s a recipe to keep your taste buds tingling and your table healthy no matter how busy your holiday season:
“This is a tangy, robust-tasting stew, and it is easy and convenient, too. Don’t worry that there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid when you start the cooker. The vegetables and meat cook down and release their juices, providing plenty of liquid at the end.”
- 1 ½ lb beef top round steak, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- 1 Tbsp clover honey or packed light brown sugar
- 2 beef cullion cubes or 2 tsp beef bouillon granules, dissolved in ½ cup hot water
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 4 medium onions, quartered
- 4 large carrots, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups frozen (thawed) cut green beans
- 2 large celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
- 4 medium red bliss or other thin-skinned potatoes (unpeeled), cut into 1-inch chunks
- Salt and black pepper (optional)
- Combine the beef, barbecue sauce, honey, bouillon-water mixture, and allspice in a 3-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir well to blend.
- In the order called for, top the beef with the onions, carrots, green beans, celery, and potatoes; press down each layer slightly, and, if desired, celery lightly sprinkle each vegetable layer with salt and pepper as you add it. (If you are using a 3-quart cooker it will be full.)
- Turn the cooker setting on high. Cover and cook at least 5 hours and up to 10 hours, until the beef is very tender and the vegetables are cooked through when tested with a fork. Stir well and ladle into soup plates.
I like sweet and smoky barbecue sauces, so the kind in my refrigerator had a whopping 17g carb per 2 tbsp serving (yikes!). If you want, you could probably cut out some of the carb by making your own barbecue sauce, such as this recipe from Diabetes Forecast only has 3g carb per 2 tbsp. serving.
If you want to change the recipe to suite your needs and preferences, you can always recalculate the nutrition values by using the “Create a Dish” tool in MyFoodAdvisorTM.
One Pot Meals for People with Diabetes offers some tips about using slow cookers. I found these interesting, so I wanted to share a few of them with you:
- Slow cooker cooking changes the taste of food in unpredictable ways Bay leaves, for example, often tend to taste stronger at the end of the cooking period, while the flavor of chili powder sometimes becomes less pronounced. As a result, don’t go by the amounts of seasonings you’re used to adding in a conventional recipe, and don’t make seasoning adjustments until a dish is done.
- Due to the fitted lip and low cooking temperatures (even with the “high” setting), less water than normal evaporates from slow cooker recipes. In some cases, this means that recipes call for bouillon cubes or granules with a disproportionately small amount of water. This boosts flavor and keeps the broth from becoming too diluted as the meat and vegetables exude their juices. In other instances, recipes simply call for less liquid than the dish appears to need at the start because we know from experience it will have plenty by the end of cooking.
- Slow cookers vary considerably in individual cooking temperatures and efficiency. While we have timed the cooking periods for all our recipes, they may cook faster or slower in your model. When cooking raw meat, it’s important to start off on the high setting for an hour. After that, it’s perfectly all right to stretch out or cut down cooking time to fit your own schedule by choosing a setting yourself. As a rough guideline, the high setting gets things done in half the time of the low setting.
Want more? The One Pot Meals cookbook is on sale online only until the end of the year! Check it out in our online store!