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Heart Healthy Slow Cooker Book [Full PDF]

4 Nov, 2020 RedByte No Comments

Heart Healthy Slow Cooker. For a number of years, the slow cooker has been one of the most often- used appliances in our kitchen. It can be a real savior for working people, delivering a hot, ready-to-eat meal when you come home from a long day and feel least like cooking. (Not to mention that wonderful aroma that will be filling the house.) It also is good for your food budget, allowing you to use less costly cuts of meat and turn them into fork-tender delicacies. But the sad truth is that a lot of the recipes out there for the slow cooker are not all that great from a health standpoint.

500 Heart-Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes: Comfort Food Favorites That Both Your Family and Doctor Will Love!

Do a quick search online or open a typical slow cooker cookbook and you’ll find recipes that are full of more fat, sodium, and calories than are good for you. Of course, most don’t include any nutrition analysis, but you can imagine what it would look like for the first slow-cooked dip recipe that comes up on Google, which calls for 2 pounds of Velveeta cheese, plus taco seasoning mix and other high- sodium ingredients.

As someone who’s been making recipes more heart-friendly for more than 10 years, that bothered me. It forced people to either eat things that were less healthy than they should or limit their use of the slow cooker. So I decided to take some of the slow cooker recipes that we had used for years, add some new ones, and put together a book that would solve the problem. A book of heart-healthy slow cooker recipes. This is that book.

What Do We Mean By Heart-Healthy?

heart healthy

A fair question is what we really mean by heart-healthy and how these recipes fit that description better than the ones in other slow cooker books. It seems like there is a lot of discussion and some controversy about what really is heart-healthy. But there are a couple of key concepts that I have come to believe in over the years that most mainstream medical people agree with as well.

They are as follows:

  • Reduced sodium
  • Reduced saturated fats and trans fats
  • Less dietary cholesterol
  • Higher fiber

Let’s look at each of these in turn and see why these recipes adhere to these concepts.

Reduced Sodium

As many of you who are familiar with my other books or my website may know, reducing sodium was the first goal of my heart-healthy cooking journey. As a starting point, consider the following facts:

  • The United States Food and Drug Administration recommends 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium daily for healthy
  • The US Department of Agriculture recommends that individuals with hypertension, African Americans, and adults 50 and older should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per
  • The United Kingdom Recommended Nutritional Intake (RNI) is 1,600 mg
  • The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences recommends 1,100 to 1,500 mg daily for
  • Studies have shown that many people in the United States and Canada routinely consume 2 to 3 times that

Given these figures, it’s pretty safe to say that many of us consume more sodium than is good for us. If you already have a history of heart disease or have a family history of it, it’s even worse. I know I sound a bit like a zealot in this, but I can honestly say that I felt much better when I first started my low-sodium diet over 10 years ago. And I’m probably in a better position now medically than I was then. All I can say is that it’s worked for me and for lots of other people I’ve talked to.

Reduced Saturated Fats and Trans Fats

These have been shown by a number of studies to be major contributors to high cholesterol. In general, saturated fats are fats that are solid at room temperature. There are several sources of saturated fats. The most common ones are the following:

  • Red meats—Beef, pork, and lamb contribute a significant amount of saturated fat to our Many experts recommend reducing the amount of red meat we eat. If you find that difficult, and I admit that I do, the slow cooker can help by allowing you to use leaner cuts of meat.
  • Poultry skin—Any slow cooker recipe you look at recommends removing the skin from poultry, thus problem
  • Whole fat dairy products—By using other items like cream soups and fat- free evaporated milk in our slow cooker recipes, you won’t even notice that you aren’t using whole milk or cream for that
  • Tropical oils—We use only healthier oils like olive and canola and don’t even miss things like palm and coconut

Trans fats are also called trans-fatty acids. They are produced by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation. This makes the fat more solid and less likely to spoil. Research has clearly linked trans fats to a number of health problems. The most common sources are margarine and other solid shortenings. In general, I never use them.

Less Dietary Cholesterol

Although there has been some disagreement about how significant the role of eating foods high in cholesterol is in increasing your blood cholesterol, most experts still recommend reducing it. Common sources of dietary cholesterol are the following:

  • Egg yolks—I almost never use whole eggs, preferring to use an egg substitute like Egg Beaters that is made from egg whites. I can’t tell the difference.
  • Organ meats—This is good news for everyone who hates (I happen to like it, but I only eat it once every couple of months.)
  • Shellfish—This is another thing I like but try to

Higher Fiber

There have been a number of studies showing the benefits of increasing our fiber intake, not only for heart health, but for many other areas of the body as well. A few key findings are as follows:

  • A study published in the May 11, 2000 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine reported that diabetic patients who maintained a very high-fiber daily diet lowered their glucose levels by 10
  • A 1976 study by the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, showed that fiber is useful in treating diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity and in reducing cholesterol
  • Two studies published in The Lancet showed that people with high fiber diets suffered from fewer incidents of colon polyps and colon

So there are a lot of good reasons to add more fiber to your diet, even if you aren’t currently being treated for a medical condition that requires it.

In the next section I describe what we’ve done to bring these recipes in line with these guidelines.

How We Make Recipes Heart-Healthy

Most of the things we’ve done to make these recipes more heart-friendly involve simple substitutions and changes to the usual ingredients. Some may seem obvious, particularly to anyone who has read any of my other books. Some may be less so. The following are some of the key ones.

Eliminate the Salt

One question that may occur to some people looking over the recipes in this book is, “Why is there no salt in any of the ingredient lists?” That’s a fair question and deserves an answer. As I said in the Introduction, I first got involved with heart-healthy cooking because my doctor put me on a lowsodium diet. It took some time and lots of experimentation, but I learned how to cook things that both taste good and are easy to prepare that are still low in sodium. Along the way, we literally threw away our salt shaker. There’s one shaker full of light salt (half salt and half salt substitute) on the table. My wife uses that occasionally. Two of my children have given up salt completely, not because they need to for medical reasons, but because they are convinced like I am that it’s the healthy thing to do.

When I started creating recipes focused on other areas of heart health, going back to using salt wasn’t even something I considered. In creating these recipes, I was not as strict about the amount of sodium as I usually am in my own diet. I didn’t plan on people buying special sodium-free baking powder that is difficult to find except online. I didn’t eliminate most cheeses except Swiss. But I also didn’t add any salt. I think if you try the recipes, you’ll find that they taste good without it. If you are tempted to add some salt because you think it’s needed, I’d suggest that first you try the recipe and see whether you like it without the salt. And if you have trouble with the idea of giving up salt, you might check with your own doctor. I believe that most doctors will agree that in the interest of total health, you are better off without the salt.

Use Lower-Fat Meats and Dairy Products

I already talked about this, but the slow cooker makes it really easy because you can use lean meat, skinned poultry, and fat-free dairy products and no one will even notice.

Use Egg Substitute Instead of Whole Eggs

Again, this is a simple change, and one that won’t be noticed. But it can significantly decrease the amount of cholesterol you eat.

Substitute Whole-Grain Products

I’ve discovered that I like whole-grain products better than the refined ones in most cases. You can use brown rice in place of white, whole-grain pasta, and other whole grains like barley in a number of these recipes. Many of these recipes make stews or other dishes with sauces that are even better over brown rice than white. Give it a try.

Use Healthier Fats

The only fats used in these recipes are healthier oils like olive and canola and unsalted butter. Yes, I know that butter has cholesterol that we are trying to hold down. But it is a lot easier to find than unsalted margarine. And considering the many health problems that may be linked to trans fats in our diet, I’ve made the personal decision that butter is probably healthier than margarine. Given the choice, I always try to go with the more natural product.

Substitute Healthier Ingredients

In some cases, this is as easy as reading the food labels and picking the healthier option. There are low-fat, low-sodium versions of many soups available. There are no-salt-added tomato products like sauce, paste, chopped and crushed tomatoes, and even ketchup. And they are all available at most large grocery stores. If you go to a store that specializes in organic and gourmet foods like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, you’ll find more options. Seek them out and you’ll have more options yourself when looking at recipes.

But this is also where chapter 2 comes in. Many of the items in that chapter are not, in themselves, slow cooker recipes. But they are the building blocks that can allow you to easily create heart-healthy recipes in your slow cooker. For example, the first recipe is for a reduced-sodium soy sauce that contains only 33 mg of sodium per serving, about one-tenth what the lowest commercially available product contains. So now when a recipe calls for ¼ cup (60 ml) of soy sauce, you don’t have to immediately discard it as something you are not allowed to have.

Other recipes there include low-sodium chili and barbecue sauces, low-fat and low-sodium sausage, no- salt onion soup mix, seasoning blends and dressing mixes, and even a low- fat and low-sodium baking mix to use in place of Bisquick. I usually make these up in large quantities and store them in the refrigerator or freezer to have on hand. I realize that depending on where you live it may not be easy to find heart-healthy options on your grocer’s shelves. So my answer is, “If you can’t find it, make it.”

Why the Slow Cooker Is Good for Heart-Healthy Cooking

Of course, as I said at the beginning of this introduction, there is nothing inherently healthy about slow cooker cooking. But there are a few features that you can take advantage of that make the slow cooker a friend in your quest to eat heart-healthy.

Perhaps the most readily noticeable thing is that it’s easier to cook lower- fat recipes in the slow cooker. Not only do leaner cuts of meat cook well in the slow cooker, they actually cook better, ending up more tender and with more flavor than if you cook them by conventional means. Cooking lean meat quickly often toughens it, while boiling it breaks it down to the point where it has no flavor. Long, slow cooking makes it tender and keeps the flavor, the ideal situation. You’ll find that the beef recipes in this book usually call for the lean cuts like round steak or roast, which are both lower in fat and cheaper. On the chicken side of the aisle, most recipes recommend that you remove the fat and skin before slow cooking. This also supports our desire to cut back on saturated fats since the skin is where most of the fat in poultry resides.

Cook Better

But perhaps the biggest advantage is one that is not so obvious. One of the most common things I hear from many people that prevents them from cooking heart-healthy meals is that is takes time. If you are serious about reducing your sodium eating less fat, increasing the amount of fiber in your diet, you will almost certainly have to cook more things from scratch. You just aren’t going to find that kind of nutrition in the quick and easy prepackaged mixes and frozen dinners. However, the slow cooker can cut your preparation time, particularly in the evening when you are tired and don’t feel like cooking. You can throw things in it in the morning, and when you get home, dinner is ready. Or if you want to make something like pasta sauce that benefits from long, slow cooking, the slow cooker can handle that unattended. And that is a real advantage that making things from scratch the conventional way does not offer.

Some Heart-Healthy Basic Ingredients

As I explained in the introduction, these items are building blocks that are used in the rest of the recipes. Most reduce the amount of sodium, but a few target things like fat. They are handy things to have on hand.

Low-sodium Soy Sauce

Sodium is definitely connected to heart health. Soy sauce, even the reduced-sodium kinds, contains more sodium than many people’s diets can stand. A teaspoonful often contains at least a quarter of the amount of sodium that is recommended for a healthy adult per day. If you have heart disease or are African American, the daily amount of sodium recommended is even less. This sauce gives you real soy sauce flavor while holding the sodium to a level that should fit in most people’s diets.

  • 4 tablespoons (24 g) sodium-free beef bouillon
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (40 g) molasses 1½ cups (355 ml) water, boiling 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) low-sodium soy sauce

Combine ingredients, stirring to blend thoroughly. Pour into jars. Cover and seal tightly. It may be kept refrigerated indefinitely.

Yield: 48 servings

Per serving: 10 g water; 6 calories (13% from fat, 11% from protein, 76% from carb); 0 g protein; 0 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 1 g carb; 0 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 3 mg phosphorus; 4 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 33 mg sodium; 19 mg potassium; 3 IU vitamin A; 0 mg ATE vitamin E; 0 mg vitamin C; 0 mg cholesterol

Low-sodium Teriyaki Sauce

The story on this recipe is the same as the soy sauce. In this case, you can sometimes find some commercial teriyaki sauces that aren’t too high to sodium. But this one is much lower and to my mind tastes as good, if not better.

  • cup (235 ml) low-sodium soy sauce (see recipe page 23) 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil
  • tablespoons (28 ml) mirin wine
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • cloves garlic, crushed
  • Two ½-inch (1.3 cm) slices ginger root Dash black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved.

Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 20 servings

Per serving: 10 g water; 35 calories (18% from fat, 8% from protein, 74% from carb); 1 g protein; 1 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 6 g carb; 0 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 14 mg phosphorus; 2 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 80 mg sodium; 24 mg potassium; 0 IU vitamin A; 0 mg ATE vitamin E; 0 mg vitamin C; 0 mg cholesterol

TIP

You can substitute sherry or saki for the mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine.

Chili Sauce

I’ve got to admit, I’ve never been a really big fan of the bottled chili sauce. I much prefer the flavor of this chili sauce, which was adapted from a recipe from the American Heart Association, to the kind found in stores. There are enough veggies in it to give it something more than a glorified ketchup taste. It keeps well in the refrigerator for weeks, and you could freeze it if you wanted.

  • 2 cups (360 g) canned diced no-salt-added tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 ounces, or 225 g) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • ½ cup (80 g) onion, chopped
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • ½ cup (50 g) celery, chopped
  • ½ cup (75 g) green bell pepper, chopped 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (20 g) molasses
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1/8 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon tarragon
  • ½ cup (120 ml) cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered 1½ hours or until mixture is reduced to half its original volume.

Yield: 48 servings

Per serving: 20 g water; 15 calories (2% from fat, 5% from protein, 94% from carb); 0 g protein;

0 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 4 g carb; 0 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 5 mg phosphorus; 6 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 28 mg sodium; 52 mg potassium; 39 IU vitamin A; 0 mg ATE vitamin E; 3 mg vitamin C; 0 mg cholesterol

Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue Sauce

This is a quick-to-make barbecue sauce that starts with low-sodium ketchup. It’s tomatoey, relatively sweet, with the spices having a basic chili flavor. In other words, not too different than most bottled sauces.

  • ½ cup (120 ml) low-sodium ketchup
  • ½ cup (120 ml) vinegar
  • ½ cup (170 g) honey
  • ¼ cup (85 g) molasses
  • 1 tablespoon (7.5 g) chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon (9 g) dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

Yield: 10 servings

Per serving: 24 g water; 97 calories (2% from fat, 2% from protein, 96% from carb); 1 g protein; 0 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 25 g carb; 0 g fiber; 22 g sugar; 14 mg phosphorus; 27 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 15 mg sodium; 213 mg potassium; 354 IU vitamin A; 0 mg ATE vitamin E; 3 mg vitamin C; 0 mg cholesterol

Low-sodium Beef Broth

Beef Broth

This recipe produces broth that can be diluted before using. It cooks easily in the slow cooker and gives you a good quantity of broth, plus beef that can be used for soup, barbecued beef sandwiches, or other uses. If you don’t need all the broth, package it in 2 cup (475 ml) freezer containers that can be thawed and used in place of a can of beef broth. The nutritional estimates are just that—estimates—since it’s hard to know how much of the nutrients from the beef end up in the broth.

  • 1 cup (160 g) sliced onion
  • 1 cup (130 g) sliced carrot
  • 1 cup (100 g) sliced celery
  • 1½ pounds (680 g) beef chuck 1½ (355 ml) cups water
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon thyme

Place vegetables in bottom of slow cooker. Cut up beef and place on top. Pour water over. Add spices. Cook on low 8 to 9 hours. Remove meat from pot and let cool until easy to handle. Remove meat from bones and cut up as needed. Strain broth and discard vegetables. Cool broth in refrigerator and remove fat from top. Broth may be mixed with an equal amount of water and used in any recipe calling for beef broth. The meat may be used in another recipe or frozen until needed.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 115 g water; 53 calories (51% from fat, 47% from protein, 1% from carb); 8 g protein; 3 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 1 g carb; 0 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 167 mg phosphorus; 26 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 63 mg sodium; 341 mg potassium; 62 IU vitamin A; 0 mg ATE vitamin E; 0 mg vitamin C; 37 mg cholesterol

Chicken and Broth

Chicken and Broth

This homemade broth is at least as flavorful as the lowsodium canned stuff and a lot lower in sodium. You could also make your own version of the fancier broths now available by adding a couple of cloves of garlic or a tablespoon (6 g) of Italian seasoning. This makes a broth that may be diluted by adding an equal amount of water.

  • 1 cup (160 g) sliced onion
  • 1 cup (130 g) sliced carrot
  • 1 cup (100 g) sliced celery
  • 1 chicken
  • 1½ cups (355 ml) water

Place vegetables in bottom of slow cooker. Put chicken on top, breast side up. You can also use leg quarters, necks, and backs or whatever is cheap. Pour water over. Cook on low 8 to 9 hours. Remove chicken from pot and let cool until easy to handle. Remove chicken from bones and cut up as needed. Strain broth and discard veggies. Cool broth in refrigerator and remove fat from top. Broth may mixed with equal amount of water and used in any recipe calling for chicken broth. Use chicken in other recipes or freeze until needed.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 77 g water; 46 calories (17% from fat, 50% from protein, 33% from carb); 4 g protein; 1 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 4 g carb; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 57 mg phosphorus; 18 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 41 mg sodium; 170 mg potassium; 2760 IU vitamin A; 4 mg ATE vitamin E; 3 mg vitamin C; 17 mg cholesterol

Beef Stock

The main difference between broth and stock is that broth is usually just meat simmered with water and vegetables, while stock is made by browning meaty bones and then simmering them. This produces a richer, more flavorful broth. This recipe produces broth that can be diluted before using. It cooks easily in the slow cooker and gives you a good quantity of stock.

  • 1½ pounds (680 g) meaty beef bones 1 cup (160 g) sliced onion
  • 1 cup (130 g) sliced carrot
  • 1 cup (100 g) sliced celery 1½ cups (355 ml) water
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon thyme

Place beef bones and vegetables in a single layer in a roasting pan and roast at 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4) until browned, about an hour. Transfer to slow cooker. Pour water over. Add spices. Cook on low 8 to 9 hours. Remove meat from pot and let cool until easy to handle. Remove meat from bones and save for another use. Strain vegetables from stock and discard. Cool stock in refrigerator and remove fat from top. Stock may mixed with equal amount of water and used in any recipe calling for beef stock or broth. Both beef and stock may be frozen until needed.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 140 g water; 70 calories (66% from fat, 27% from protein, 7% from carb); 4 g protein; 3 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 1 g monounsaturated fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 4 g carb; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 153 mg phosphorus; 28 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 81 mg sodium; 347 mg potassium; 2752 IU vitamin A; 0 mg ATE vitamin E; 3 mg vitamin C; 60 mg cholesterol

Chicken Stock

The main difference between broth and stock is that broth is usually just meat simmered with water and vegetables, while stock is made by browning meaty bones and then simmering them. This produces a richer, more flavorful broth. This recipe produces stock that can be diluted before using. It cooks easily in the slow cooker and gives you a good quantity of stock. You can use any chicken bones that have most of the meat removed. I often buy chicken breasts, remove most of the meat to make a much cheaper boneless, skinless breast piece, and then use the ribs and backs to make stock.

  • 1½ pounds (680 g) meaty chicken bones 1 cup (160 g) sliced onion
  • 1 cup (130 g) sliced carrot
  • 1 cup (100 g) sliced celery 1½ cups (355 ml) water
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon thyme

Place bones and vegetables in a single layer in a roasting pan and roast at 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4) until browned, about an hour. Transfer to slow cooker. Pour water over. Add spices. Cook on low 8 to 9 hours. Remove meat from pot and let cool until easy to handle. Remove meat from bones and save for another use. Strain vegetables from stock and discard. Cool stock in refrigerator and remove fat from top. Stock may mixed with equal amount of water and used in any recipe calling for chicken broth. Both chicken and stock may be frozen until needed.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 123 g water; 134 calories (35% from fat, 53% from protein, 12% from carb); 17 g protein; 5 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 4 g carb; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 143 mg phosphorus; 33 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 92 mg sodium; 290 mg potassium; 2836 IU vitamin A; 26 mg ATE vitamin E; 3 mg vitamin C; 69 mg cholesterol

Fish Stock

Fish Stock

Use this stock to make soups or fish sauce. If you don’t have fish bones, heads, or tails to put in, use a pound of fish instead.

  • pound (455 g) fish bones, heads, and tails 4 cups (950 ml) low-sodium chicken broth 1 cup (160 g) onion, minced
  • ¼ cup (25 g) scallions, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • tablespoons (28 ml) cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (4 g) cilantro, dried
  • 2 tablespoons (12 g) low-sodium chicken bouillon

Combine first 7 ingredients (through cilantro) in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Stir in bouillon and cook for 1 hour more. Strain.

Yield: 8 servings

Per serving: 156 g water; 50 calories (17% from fat, 50% from protein, 33% from carb); 7 g protein; 1 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 4 g carb; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 81 mg phosphorus; 17 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 116 mg sodium; 239 mg potassium; 122 IU vitamin A; 2 mg ATE vitamin E; 3 mg vitamin C; 10 mg cholesterol

Vegetable Broth

Vegetable Broth

It’s fairly easy to make your own low-sodium vegetable broth. Feel free to vary the amount and type of vegetables to get a flavor you like. Potato peels can be included if you have any, as can a sweet potato or mushrooms. I picked the ones I used for a combination of flavor and low cost. Strongly flavored vegetables such as tomatoes and cabbage can overwhelm the others, so use them sparingly unless you are after a broth that is primarily tomato-or cabbage-flavored. You can use a strainer like the ones sold to cook pasta to simplify the straining. The nutritional values are probably a little high since I don’t have any way to separate out the discarded vegetable solids.

  • 2 quarts (1.9 L) water
  • ¾ cup (75 g) sliced celery 1½ cups (195 g) sliced carrot 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 turnips, quartered
  • 1 cup (30 g) spinach leaves, tightly packed 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon (5 g) peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cups (30 g) fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Strain and use as needed. May be frozen.

Yield: 6 servings

Per serving: 509 g water; 73 calories (5% from fat, 12% from protein, 83% from carb); 2 g protein; 0 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 16 g carb; 4 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 66 mg phosphorus; 100 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 131 mg sodium; 526 mg potassium; 7015 IU vitamin A; 0 mg ATE vitamin E; 30 mg vitamin C; 0 mg cholesterol

Onion Soup Mix

Onion Soup Mix

Some of these recipes call for onion soup mix. I’ve used Goodman’s LowSodium Onion Soup Mix, which I find in the kosher foods section of my local Safeway. However, it can be hard to locate. You can easily make your own mix that is even lower in sodium. You can use this the same as you would a one-serving envelope of one of the commercial brands (some brands make multiple servings per envelope).

  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) dried minced onion 1 teaspoon sodium-free beef bouillon
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight jar or bag.

Yield: 1 serving

Per serving: 0 g water; 26 calories (3% from fat, 10% from protein, 87% from carb); 1 g protein;

0 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g monounsaturated fat; 0 g polyunsaturated fat; 6 g carb; 1 g fiber; 2

g sugar; 21 mg phosphorus; 20 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 84 mg sodium; 125 mg potassium; 206 IU vitamin A; 0 mg ATE vitamin E; 5 mg vitamin C; 0 mg cholesterol

TIP

Mixed with a pint of sour cream, this makes a good dip.

Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup

Many slow cooker recipes seem to call for mushroom soup. You can find reduced-sodium ones, but if you are really watching your sodium you might want to try this one instead. It makes an amount that can be substituted for one can of the condensed soup.

  • cup (70 g) sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup (80 g) chopped onion
  • ½ cup (120 ml) lowsodium chicken broth 1 tablespoon (1 g) dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder 2/3 cup (160 ml) skim milk
  • tablespoons (16 g) cornstarch

Cook mushrooms, onion, broth, parsley, and garlic powder until vegetables are soft. Process in a blender or food processor until well puréed; set aside. In an airtight container, shake together milk and cornstarch until dissolved. Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick. Stir in vegetable mixture.

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