Does the title of this post make your skin crawl? Does it sound like the name of a cookbook that Gwyneth Paltrow would write? Good, that’s what I intended.
To be honest, I’m not even sure what “slow food” means. Is it the opposite of fast food? Is it food that takes a long time to grow? To cook? Is it food that’s intended to be eaten slowly, like soup so that you don’t burn your tongue? I suppose I could easily google this question online.
In any event, I have found that since I started Whole30, I’ve been eating more slowly and taking time to savor my meals. Less shoveling food into my piehole at lightning speed, and more long, drawn-out bites interspersed with audible mmm’s and ooohhh’s.
Eating slowly not only makes your food taste better, but it also makes you more mindful of what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’ve started leaving a little bit of food on my plate after a meal instead of finishing it all. It’s just that now I’m fully self-aware that I’m going to eat my entire meal. There’s a difference in there, trust me.
In addition to eating more slowly, another way to embrace “slow food” is to pull out your slow cooker and make some healthy and easy meals that require very little actual work. Or, pull out your pressure cooker. But “Pressure Food” doesn’t give off the same hippie, eco-friendly vibes as “Slow Food.”
To start off week 2 of Whole30, I broke out my combination Pressure Cooker/Slow Cooker, The Instant Pot, gifted to me by my most generous sister. You can do so many things with the Instant Pot. It acts as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and it also sautés, warms, and steams food. You can even cook hard- or soft-boiled eggs in this magical pot.
The first item we cooked in the Instant Pot this week was slow-cooked chicken thighs and breasts. You can make this recipe in an ordinary slow cooker, no need to have an Instant Pot. If you do have an Instant Pot, however, you can also make this recipe using the pressure cooker setting instead of slow cooker setting. Dump everything in the pot, leave the kitchen, and check back after several hours to find fully cooked chicken that is super tender and extremely easy to shred.
This recipe has a bit of a Mexican flavor to it, but is versatile and can be used in any number of ways. Serve with your favorite roasted root veggies for a nice fall dinner, or along with a side of cauliflower mash for some comfort food. Or have taco night, Whole30 style! Pile lettuce cups with shredded chicken, add some sauteed onions and peppers, avocado or guacamole, salsa, and whatever else that your heart desires.
Slow Cooker Chicken
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, diced (include seeds and membranes if you like it spicy)
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2-3 oranges)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or freshly cracked black pepper
- Place the chicken in the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients and cook on low for about 6-8 hours.
- Shred the chicken in the pot. It will be very tender and will shred very easily.
- Serve as desired!
We also used our Instant Pot to try out Nom Nom Paleo’s recipe for Mexican Beef. This dish was out of this world. And it was so, so easy. The pressure cooker does all of the work for you. I mostly stuck to the recipe, so I won’t re-paste it here, but you should keep a few things in mind.
- For the bone broth, if you’re observing Whole30 but not able to make homemade broth, you can buy freshly made bone broth from a high-quality butcher or grocery store, or search for a compliant boxed broth, such as this one. You’d be surprised how many chicken broths contain sugar in them. I know this because I’ve become that crazy lady in the grocery store who reads every god damn label.
- For the meat, we used a 2.5 lb. cut of grass-fed beef chuck shoulder roast that I purchased at Whole Foods. We cut off some excess fat but otherwise the preparation was very easy and simple. This cut turned out extremely tender and had that melt-in-your-mouth quality.
- I already had regular tomato salsa at home, so I did not bother buying or making roasted tomato salsa, and it came out just fine.
- This dish was AMAZING but it could’ve been a bit spicier. If you’re the kind of person who likes to drop beads of sweat when you eat, I’d throw in some diced chile peppers or cayenne pepper after you’ve cooked the onions for a few minutes.
- You could eat this dish on its own, but it tastes incredible served on top of cauliflower mash (recipe below).
If you’ve been paying attention, this is my second recipe using the ever-so-versatile cauliflower to recreate a type of food that’s forbidden on Whole30.
Last week, I made cauliflower “rice.” This week it’s faux-mashed potatoes using cauliflower instead of potatoes. Potatoes of all kind are actually permitted on Whole30, but I decided to use cauliflower because it’s a nutrition superstar and still tastes great.
This mash is a great, fluffy base for all kinds of food. It was incredible served with the Mexican Beef, and I also recommend serving fried or poached eggs on top of this stuff. The mash was also great as a bed for my homemade burrito bowl. Chipotle meets mashed potatoes. Is it weird? Yes. But is it delicious? Also, yes.
Serves approximately 10 1/2 cup servings
- 2 medium-large heads of cauliflower
- 10-12 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup ghee (or grass-fed butter if you’re not on Whole30)
- 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- other dried herbs to taste (I used oregano)
- Cut up cauliflower heads into florets.
- Fill up a large saucepan or stockpot with a few inches of water. Add a steamer basket. Turn the heat on high.
- Once water is boiling, add cauliflower florets and garlic cloves to steam basket. Cover pot with lid. Steam for approximately 10-12 minutes until florets are soft and very tender.
- Drain cauliflower florets and then add to a large mixing bowl. Using an immersion blender or electric hand mixer, break up the cauliflower. Once it’s starting to come together, add the ghee, coconut milk, salt, pepper, and seasonings.
- Mix until you’ve achieved a smooth consistency.
- Alternatively, you can dump all of the ingredients in a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix or a food processor.
- Dig in.
In addition to the cauliflower mash, we cooked up a second side dish this week that was a perfect complement to our soft-boiled eggs: sweet potato and caramelized onion hash. Caramelizing the onions and roasting the sweet potato brings out the natural sugars in these foods, making the end product extra tasty and reminiscent of the forbidden temple of sugar.
Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Hash
- 6 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled
- 3 TBSP coconut oil or ghee, divided
- salt and pepper
- fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 large onions
- 1 jalapeño pepper, diced (include membranes and seeds for spiciness)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Dice potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Slice onions, dice jalapeño, and mince garlic cloves.
- Toss sweet potato with ghee or coconut oil, salt and pepper, and fresh thyme sprigs.
- Line baking sheets with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and spread out potatoes. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until browned and tender, flipping halfway through.
- While the sweet potatoes are cooking, cook the onions on the stove. Heat a large nonstick skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat. When hot, add onions and sprinkle with salt. Turn heat to low and cook for 35-45 minutes until dark brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally.
- When you notice the onions starting to brown, add the diced jalapeño.
- When the onions are near caramelized, add the garlic.
- Take off the heat when onions are caramelized and browned.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the roasted sweet potatoes and onion mixture and toss until well incorporated.
Have you tried one of my recipes? I would love to hear from you!