Holly Greader's slow cooking went down a treat
Since my health deteriorated at the start of 2017 I have struggled with cooking. In fact until last month other than some soup I hadn’t cooked a proper meal for myself or James since… well at least 6 months ago. It’s been so long I can’t remember!
I enjoy cooking I always have, I enjoyed food technology at school but even 5 years ago I struggled to cook at times. James has always been the better cook out of the two of us – unfortunately he’s well aware of this. So in case he reads this… yes James, your cooking is wonderful. However… could you please stop burning the leeks?
Anyway, I have been struggling with cooking, which means that James does all the cooking when he comes home from work. It also means that if he’s away for work or working late nights, I am reliant on ready meals and leftovers.
I know many people that screw their noses up or are quite judgemental of the use of ready meals (including my dietician – she didn’t understand that I can’t really cook). However, I’m not sure that I know a ‘spoonie’ that hasn’t relied on ready meals at some point in time. So, if it works for you keep going, you do what suits you best!
Not being able to work is hitting me hard. I know it is the right choice however, I’m running out of ways to occupy myself. I’m also quite a hands on person. Therefore for this reason, and to take some small amount of pressure off of James who does so much for the both of us, I decided that I would like to attempt to cook a slow cooker meal once a week.
Now believe me when I say I’m not entirely sure that once a week is very realistic. However, I’m going to give it a go.
So without further ado I introduce…
Spoonie Slow Cooking!
I thought it would be a great idea to share the recipes I use, and how I make cooking a little easier for me.
My slow cooker is one of my favourite kitchen appliances if not my favourite!
There are several ways I could suggest cooking as a ‘spoonie’/ ways to make life a little easier.
1. Use a slow cooker where possible. It reduces the chance of you needing to stand over your hot cooker or stir what’s in the saucepan. It also reduces the chances of you needing to bend down to get in and out of the oven.
2. When preparing your food, especially vegetables, ensure you’ve got a good sharp knife. When your knife is sharp it reduces the amount of strength, strain and energy you use. It’s much easier, just be careful please!
3. If possible find a way to make yourself comfortable i.e. in a chair. This could be at the kitchen/dining room table (this does require you needing to carry items potentially depending on your house from one room to another however, it can help massively overall). Take your ingredients and utensils if you don’t want to carry pans or your crockpot if it’s too heavy (mine's an extremely light one) set yourself up for what you find comfortable. Using Tupperware to transport food from one room to another may be the best light weight option. Some days I can’t quite get to my kitchen table (it’s usually a “little” messy. Therefore I sit in my arm chair (with my heat pad), my most comfortable position and a little table – is it called a TV table? It’s like something the Wormwoods use to eat dinner in front of the TV from Matilda.
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
4 boneless & skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup of hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon of ginger – grated
4 cloves of garlic – minced
2 spring onions – thinly slices
1 tablespoon of corn flour
sesame seeds – for garnish
1. Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and the white part of the spring onions.
3. Pour the mixture over the chicken and cook for 3 hours. Cooking time may be more or less depending on the size of the chicken breast and the amount in the slow cooker. I cooked 5 breasts (because there was an extra in the packet) which took a little over 3 hours.
4. Remove the chicken from the liquid (I found kitchen tongs the easiest way to do this) and place on a chopping board. Wait for the chicken to rest for a few minutes before shredding with two forks (you may choose to slice the chicken instead as I have found shredding to be a long process. I stood in my kitchen to do this with the help of my perching stool too. However, I feel sitting at a table would have been easier).
5. Whilst the chicken rests take three tablespoons of sauce from the slow cooker and whisk in the corn flour. Then slowly add this mixture into the slow cooker sauce and whisk until thickened (this may take a little time).
6. Once you have shredded the chicken add it back into the slow cooker with the sauce and toss to cover the chicken in the sauce.
7. Finally it is time to serve! I chose to serve the chicken with rice noodles. I used the left over spring onions and cut them with scissors to garnish the dish along with some sesame seeds. You may wish to serve this with rice or a jacket potato – or obviously anything else you desire.
Whenever making a new recipe, I never expect it to look even half as good as the pictures however, the pictures here are the outcome of my first attempt. I must admit I am quite proud!
If you decide to have a go at making this I would love to see your photos, and hear your tips and tricks!