Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Stew. Healthy, Hearty, Easy, Tasty.

Wow. It is blustery, rainy and generally very miserable out there today. A perfect day for NOT leaving the house and cosying up indoors. I was planning on posting this recipe anyway, but today seems like a good day to unleash it- so I’m creating this blog post from within my blanket sofa fort.

If you’re like me, the slow cooker has been stashed at the back of the cupboard since the Spring, but this weather signifies that it’s time to drag it out again.

This recipe will feed at least 4 people with hearty, warming portions and is perfect to have as leftovers for lunch at work. If you pop in it the slow cooker before work then you’ll come home to a beautiful smelling home and dinner will be ready to eat. My step-sons love it, and it saves the “What’s for dinner?” questions as they know from the waft as soon as I open the front door. In fact, the youngest has just asked me what I’m writing, and when I explained he said “Oh, can we have that soon please?!” Bingo- social proof.

If you want to make it for 2 people then just halve the ingredients used.

This can be made for under £1 per person too if you’re budgeting but still want to eat healthily and guarantee some of your 5 a day.

Ingredients:

1kg of chicken thighs

500g of peeled Potatoes.

500g of Carrot/Swede.

175g Leeks.

1 medium Onion- diced or roughly chopped.

Garlic (as many cloves/bulbs as you like)

1 litre of Water.

2 x Vegetable or Chicken stock cubes.

Mixed herbs- dried or fresh.

Salt & Pepper for seasoning.

Sunflower Oil.

Cornflour.

Advice:

If you can afford to, support your local butcher- the meat is fresher and generally of better quality. If you’re on a budget then you can buy them boned with skin on in the supermarket for under £2. Just strip the skin before cooking with either scissors or your fingers. Leave the bones on, and they’ll separate when cooking- just make sure to remove the bones before you serve.

To save time with the prep, you can buy the vegetables already prepared, although this will increase the cost and plastic used. Or you can prepare the vegetables the night before so you only have to brown the chicken in the morning.

Method:

  1. Prepare your chicken thighs and season with salt & pepper.
  2. Prepare all your vegetable and place in the pot.
  3. Pour in 1 litre of water and add the stock cubes. It won’t look like there’s enough water but don’t be tempted to add anymore as when the vegetables cook they’ll sweat and release extra water.
  4. Add the herbs and some salt and pepper to the pot.
  5. Place a frying pan on a medium heat and pour a good glug of Sunflower Oil into the pan. Place 2 tablespoons of Cornflour into the oil and stir the mixture.
  6. Place your chicken thighs into the pan and brown one side for about a minute. Turn the thighs over and brown the other side for the same amount of time. You want the chicken thighs to no longer be pink, but you’re just coating the chicken in the mixture.
  7. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
  8. Turn the slower cooker on LOW for 6hrs.

If you’re at home then you can stir it every so often, but this isn’t necessary.

If you wish, you can add dumplings too. Supermarkets have a packet mix to make life easier- just add water & pepper as per the instructions when there’s about 2hrs left to cook. Or, get some nice fresh bread and soak up the stock.

And there you have it! An easy to prepare winter warming slow cooker Chicken Stew.

And if you think there’s too much liquid for your liking then you can drain it and use to make a great stock for gravy.

Let me know if you go ahead and try this, and what you think.

The Autumn Edit

This is my least favourite time of the year. The clocks have gone back, the heating has gone on and you think it’s bedtime- only to look at your watch and realise that it’s only 7:30pm.

I also suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (it’s a real thing, I didn’t believe it either at first) which doesn’t help. I need to start shovelling high strength Vitamin D into my face now as my body doesn’t produce enough during the Autumn and Winter months and it drains my energy reserves.

But instead of dwelling on the negatives, I’ve looked for the positives instead- we get to snuggle up at home, potentially spend less money and start to semi-hibernate. We don’t have to shave our legs as often (optional.) Christmas is just around the corner too. And I consume copious amounts of hot chocolate with cream & marshmallows- that’s not a summer drink.

I decided to create my “Autumn Edit” of essential items that will make you feel good and keep you cosy at home, with price points to suit all budgets.

THROWS & BLANKETS.

This is my number one must. Cold? Feeling a bit down or under the weather? Life falling apart? Wrap yourself up in a cosy throw. It’s like a material hug, you’ll feel loads better. Mine is always attached to me on the rare chance I sit down on the sofa, and I spread it over my bed at night as another layer for warmth (it’s better to sleep in a cold bedroom.) I got given my throw from John Lewis as a present, and whilst it might seem a “boring” gift it saved me buying it myself. It’s lasted years and I wouldn’t be without it. In fact each member of the household has their own throw so there’s no stealing, snatching or fighting going on. I’ve selected these throws/blankets for you to browse:

Bargain: Marl Fleece Throw (various colours) from ALDI £9.99.

Mid-Range: Matt Velvet Quilted Throw (various colours & sizes) from NEXT £50-£80.

Luxury: Premium Faux Fur throw 200x250cm (various colours) JOHN LEWIS £95.

CUSHIONS.

Some people hate cushions. They look lovely on the sofa, but then people move them or casually chuck them on the floor. But you need to embrace your cushions- literally. Choose ones that have lovely textures. My partner jokes that I stroke my favourite cushion like it’s a cat. Except it’s not a joke- I do. I actually find it really soothing & calming. I also cuddle them too. It keeps me warm and satisfies my sense of touch. Here’s my favourite textured cushions on the market at the moment:

Bargain: Mongolian Fur cushion 58x58cm (various colours) from MATALAN £16.

Mid-range: Reagan cushion 50x50cm from HABITAT was £60, now £25.

Luxury: Ginko in Coral Velvet Cushion 45x45cm from Annajacobsart.com £79.

CANDLES & CANDLEHOLDERS.

You’ll know that I LOVE candles. It’s not just the scent, but the ambience they bring to every room. Everything looks better in candlelight, and it provides a relaxing, feel-good factor. When buying scented candles have a look at the type of wax used, pay attention to how synthetic they smell and where they’re made- Europe have specific guidelines for companies to adhere to, whereas China, etc do not. Given that candles have the power to burn your house down, I’d definitely recommend that you do your research before purchasing.

Bargain: Buy plain & unscented tealights or pillar candles from IKEA or your local supermarket. Keep them in tealight holders or plain/patterned heatproof glasses or jars so that the candle light dances around the room.

Mid-range: Ok, I’m biased, but Quirk & Colour have 2 candle ranges- LIVING & LUXE. They’re made with Eco & Vegan friendly ingredients, thoroughly tested & insured, and carefully curated to cater for everyone. Prices from £12+

Luxury: Abigail Ahern Gold large pineapple lantern DEBENHAMS £30.

RUGS.

It’s hard enough dragging yourself out of bed on some dark mornings without the shock of swinging your feet out and them hitting the cold, hard floor. If you don’t have carpet in your bedroom (or even if you do) then think about investing in a warm, textured rug and make sure you get out the right side of the bed every morning. I recommend:

Bargain: Anti-Slip Luxurious Faux Sheepskin Rug 60x90cm DUNELM £19.

Mid-range: Home Snuggle Shaggy Runner 150x80cm ARGOS £30.

Luxury: Faux Fur Rug 90x120cm NEXT £90.

HOT WATER BOTTLE.

I hear lots of people saying that they can’t have the heating on because their partner objects, or turns it off again. Regardless of my own thoughts on this matter, they can’t object to you boiling the kettle and filling up a warming, cosy companion for the sofa or in bed. And if they do, then don’t make them their tea or coffee ever again.

Bargain: Hot water bottle with Faux Fur cover GEORGE @ ASDA £7.

Luxury: Multi Fair Isle (lambswool mix) hot water bottle BODEN £35.

LIGHTBOXES.

If you suffer from S.A.D too then seriously consider purchasing yourself a game changing “Light Therapy Box” Turn it on for at least 30 minutes to an hour every morning (not late afternoon or evening as it stimulates your Cortisol levels and too much will affect your sleep.) You’ll soon notice the difference! And if you struggle to get up in the morning and dread turning the light on suddenly and burning your eyes then consider investing in a “sunrise” alarm clock. They might seem expensive upfront, but you’ll use them everyday and you can’t put a price on feeling good every morning. I have both of these products and I seriously recommend “LUMIE” as a trusted brand and company.

Lightbox: LUMIE Vitamin L Slim SAD light JOHN LEWIS £90.

LUMIE Desklamp touch dimmable SAD light JOHN LEWIS £144.

Sunrise alarm clock: LUMIE Sunrise Alarm ARGOS £40.

LUMIE Bodyclock Glow Wake Up to Daylight JOHN LEWIS from £75.

This is the season now to snuggle up indoors in dressing gowns, bed socks and comfy lounge wear. Drink hot chocolate and hot Ribena. Keep warm, keep hydrated, keep moisturised and take extra vitamins if needs be. Relax in a hot bath with as many candles as your bathroom can handle, put on a pampering face pack or stick your feet in a warm, bubbly foot spa or bowl of warm soapy water for even just 10 minutes. Slow down if you can and look after yourself because the Christmas chaos is nearly upon us.

Actually, maybe Autumn isn’t so bad after all…?

Are you happy with how your home makes you FEEL? Take our QUIZ to find out!