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Healthy Slow Cooker Stew With Herbs and Fall Vegetables

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Slow Cookers are the best investment for simmering stews and soups on a cool, autumn day. A little planning ahead will free up hours during the day for other projects.

Squash and zucchini are still plentiful and great stew starters. Add some of your favorite vegetables and lots of spices and herbs and prepare to feast.

Caution: remember to cut your vegetables in small pieces for the slow cooker. This stew is a good staple for those who are limiting their use of potatoes and pastas; full of nutrition and good taste and hearty enough for any appetite.

Mediterranean Stew

2 cups of sliced zucchini

1 can chick-peas, drain and rinse

1 medium acorn or butternut squash, cubed

1 pkg. frozen okra pieces

2 cups eggplant, unpeeled and cubed

1 cup chopped onion

1 large carrot, sliced thin

1 large tomato, chopped

Combine the following and mix with above ingredients in slow cooker.

½ cup raisins

1 minced clove garlic

¼ teaspoon each: red pepper, ground cinnamon, paprika

½ teaspoon each: tumeric, cumin

8 ounces tomato sauce

½ cup water or low sodium broth

Cover and cook 8 to 10 hours in slow cooker on low. Vegetables should be tender but not too soft. This stew is very tasty; good by itself with crackers or cornbread. It is especially great when spooned over steaming rice or couscous.

In trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to limit your intake of sodium and fats. Soups and stews, when properly prepared, will do just that without compromising taste. Become aware of natural juices from fruits and vegetables to use in cooking instead of tossing them. A slow cooker adds moisture which helps cut down on the need to add fats. This way of cooking also enhances the natural flavor of foods as it slowly cooks them.

Economically, it is good to find uses for foods in season. For years I snubbed some squashes and other foods. Now I realize how nutritious many of them are and how tasty when prepared properly. It has become a joke around our house to see what Mom has “dragged in to feed us.”

I hope you join me in experimenting with new foods and combinations that work for your family and those in your care.


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