From The Nutritionist

 Kate Williams, RD, LD
Guest Author:
Kate Williams, RD, LD
 Carrie Welt, CCC
Author:
Carrie Welt, CCC

The Slow Cooker – A Magic Hat of Sorts

Did you know the slow cookers, used in kitchens around the world, hit the marketplace over four decades ago? Originally intended as a simple bean cooker1, it quickly became a kitchen staple in the modern household. Simple preparation results in a family meal that tastes like someone spent the better part of their day in the kitchen which makes the slow cooker a magic hat of sorts.

After a long day at work and school, no one wants to enter the house with bags of greasy takeout food. Instead, allow a few extra minutes in the morning. Choose and combine a few simple ingredients like chicken breast, brown rice, mushrooms, and peppers. Campbell's® Slow Cooker Sauces can be the answer to the flavor conundrum. Now the slow cooker can greet the family with the waft of a perfectly seasoned, nutritious meal. Poof - like that family dinner time has been transformed! It really can be this simple.

Sneak in Factor

Slow cooker recipes are a great way to sneak in nutritious ingredients that are sometimes met with a disapproving eye. Hide veggies, beans, lentils, whole grains and more in your one pot creation. Or let coarsely chopped, colorful veggies take center stage that provides taste, texture and color!

Steaming Hot Pot – Slows the Conversation

As the family sits at the table and wait for their bowl of Slow Cooker Simple Beef Bourguignonne or Slow Cooker Chipotle Chili to cool, let the conversation flow! Discuss hot topics of the day and stay connected with your crew.

Upgrade Your Skills

Would you love to expand your slow cooker section in the recipe box? Here are some questions I posed to Campbell’s Chef Carrie to enhance our slow cooker skills.

1. What are some of your favorite meats to use in the slow cooker?

Chef Carrie suggests “Brisket, chuck and round are desired cuts because they are naturally tougher and become tender from the long cooking progress of a slow cooker”

2. Do you have any fish or shell fish suggestions?

Chef Carrie recommends “If you want to make fish or shell fish in a slow cooker, my recommendation is that you use a very flavorful broth, set the slow cooker on low (approximately 200) and leave the fish in only for a very short period of time, so that you are in fact poaching the fish, not braising it”

3. Some kids SEE the vegetables, they turn away. What about pureeing veggies to sneak in a wider variety into my kids’ diets? Any thought on this?

Chef Carrie notes “I prefer to celebrate vegetables by throwing them into the slow cooker at the end of the cooking process, the last hour or so.  But if hide them you must, I would cook them with the meat until completely soft and puree them into the sauce that the meat is served with.”

4. What spices, if any, really shine in slow cooker meals? Dried herbs from your garden maybe?

Seasoning suggestions from Chef Carrie “Hearty herbs, like rosemary, do better. But it really depends what protein you are cooking.”

5. What are your favorite Campbell’s products to use in the slow cooker?

"I love the whole line of Slow Cooker Sauces. I use the Korean BBQ variety on brisket to make bahn mi sandwiches (This version of a Vietnamese-inspired sandwich, includes other ingredients like cilantro, carrots, cucumber, and kimchee) for my sister."


While I haven’t tried many desserts, like cobblers, in my slow cooker, Campbell’s Kitchen® has us covered. I may need to invest in ANOTHER slow cooker, one for dinner, one for dessert! Here are some I have my eye on:

Blueberry Compote with Lemon Dumplings – made with V8® Pomegranate Blueberry Fruit & Vegetable Blend

Brown Sugar Spice Cake – made with Campbell’s® Condensed Tomato Soup

Dust off your slow cooker,

Kate

Kate's Bio

Kate received her bachelor's degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and completed her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over ten years of experience in a variety of nutrition-related practice areas including clinical nutrition, weight management counseling, health and wellness and nutrition education. Kate has worked as a nutrition consultant to the Campbell Soup Company since 2005.

Chef Carrie’s Bio

Chef Carrie earned her A.O.S. degree from The Culinary Institute of America and her master of management degree in hospitality from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. Carrie is a Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC) by the American Culinary Federation. Carrie Welt joined Campbell as Senior Chef, managing Campbell’s Culinary and Baking Institute (CCBI) and works with the global network of chefs to build passion for food throughout Campbell Soup Company. Among her responsibilities are culinary education, planning internal and external events, business and innovation support, and building the CCBI global network of chefs.

  1. http://www.crock-pot.com/about-us/about-us.html. Acessed August 13th, 2015

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.