katy here, your resident been there, tried that trooper. there are those who assume a delicious, nutritious hot meal with minimal prep time is an impossible feat. know what i have to say to that? what a crock! crockPOT, that is. because with shorter days + cooler temps, there has never been a more perfect time to see what all your slow cooker can do! now, it’s a well-known fact that, after a few whole30s and even a whole90, our chief is a fan - and if she had one wish for this 30-day non-diet, it would be to somehow simplify the insane amount of meal prep. so when we heard that ms. hartwig had penned a slow cooker cookbook just in time for fall, we just HAD to test it out. i tried the cookbook for one week, incorporating it into my weekly meal-plan with an easy, nourishing, whole30 crockpot dinner every other day. there are even some recipes with alternate instructions, as well as dedicated recipes for you instant pot peeps as well.
full disclosure: i’ve never done whole30. i know, you’re over there re-reading that sentence right now thinking you must’ve misunderstood. but no, i am quite possibly the last person on earth - or at least in the foodie realm - to not hold any whole30 street cred. i’m a pretty healthy eater most of the time, so a lot of the meals i eat on a daily basis are by default whole30-compliant anyway, but i’ve never summoned the willpower to go all-in for a whole 30 days. mama likes her sweets. still, i was excited at the prospect of letting my crockpot do most of the heavy lifting, whilst providing me with a simple way of dipping my toe in the whole30 waters.
i started super simple with some sesame chicken wraps. prep literally took no more than five minutes, and it smelled soooo good cooking all day. when it was ready, all i had left to do was shred the chicken, which took just a couple minutes, as the meat was insanely tender. i tucked some into a little shell of lettuce and decided to add a little chopped avocado for extra healthy fats. this one was a huge hit with the hubs AND the kiddos! my only regret: that i didn’t make a double-batch to have leftovers for quick lunches.
[sesame chicken wraps]
¼ cup apple cider
¼ cup coconut aminos
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
12 leaves butterhead lettuce
¼ cup sliced green onions
4 tsp sesame seeds
- in your slow cooker, stir together apple cider, coconut aminos, sesame oil, garlic, ginger + red pepper flakes. add the chicken + turn to coat the pieces.
- cover + cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2½ to 3 hours. transfer chicken to a bowl + use two forks to shred.
- serve chicken in lettuce leaves + sprinkle with green onion + sesame seeds. (i added some chopped avocado too.)
my second whole30 slow-cooker selection of the week: flaky cod with peppers + tomatoes. my one + only issue with crockpot cooking is that sometimes i get busy in the morning and totally forget to start it, so, just like the first recipe, i loved that this one was quick and thus very forgiving of my forgetful tendencies. also, it was absolutely fantastic, and yet again, another winner with the whole fam!
[cod with peppers + tomatoes]
2 medium yellow bell peppers, sliced
3 medium shallots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can whole30-compliant diced tomatoes
4 cod fillets (5 to 6 oz each)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp whole30-compliant capers, drained
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- in your slow cooker, combine bell peppers, shallots, garlic + tomatoes. cover + cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or on high for 2 to 2½ hours.
- if on low, turn slow cooker to high, then place fish fillets on the sauce. sprinkle with salt + pepper. cover + cook just until the fish starts to flake with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes.
- prefer the instant pot? simply combine the bell peppers, shallots, garlic + tomatoes in your instant pot, then place the fish on top. season with salt + pepper, lock the lid in place, select manual, adjust to less/low + cook for 3 minutes. use natural release for 2 minutes, then quick release.
- top the cod with parsley, capers, lemon zest + olive oil to serve.
my third + final whole30 slow-cooker meal of the week included bacon, soooooo i definitely planned it in this order to save what i knew would be the best for last. i started it first thing in the morning and cooked it low + slow. the heavenly scent of a warm, meaty meal filled the house all day long, the smell of which was that much sweeter knowing that dinner would be ready that evening without me lifting another finger. i loved that this one was a full meal in one crockpot - veggies + chicken + sweet potatoes all ready to go at the sound of the buzzer. it. was. Incredible.
[bacon-mushroom chicken with sweet potatoes]
1 cup whole30-compliant chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed + halved lengthwise
1 tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
12 small bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
3 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
½ cup chopped red onion
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 strips whole30-compliant bacon, cooked + crumbled
fresh thyme leaves (optional)
- in a large slow cooker, combine the chicken broth + garlic. place the potatoes cut side down in the slow cooker.
- in a small bowl, combine dried thyme + ½ tsp each of the salt + pepper. place half the chicken thighs, meaty sides up, on the potatoes. sprinkle with half the thyme mixture + repeat with the remaining chicken + thyme mixture. add mushrooms + red onion on top in an even layer.
- cover + cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3 to 3½ hours. remove the chicken + potatoes from the cooker, then when cool enough, remove the skins + mash the potatoes. stir in the coconut oil + the remaining salt + pepper.
- to serve, drizzle the chicken + potatoes with the cooking liquid + sprinkle with bacon crumbles + thyme, if using.
the verdict: i absolutely love this cookbook. it makes whole30 seem easier for some reason than it otherwise would, and i felt amazing after every single meal - never bloated or full. simply satisfied. highly recommended for this fall and winter!
have you tried the new whole30 slow cooker cookbook? what’d you think? let us know your favorite recipe in the comments!