by Crystal Hammer
Rest and calories are just as important in gaining strength as time in the gym, but if you’re like me, you’re starving the instant you get home and need calories NOW! Enter the crockpot. I can throw stuff together in the morning and come home at night to a hot meal that is ready to go. Does it take a little prep work? Yeah, but when its spaced out, its no biggie. Here is one of my favorite crockpot recipes, with the good fats of coconut milk, the nutrients from sweet potatos, and the protein and fiber from red beans all wrapped together in a fantastic stew.
Jamaican Red Bean Stew
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced carrots (a great way to use up baby carrots you forgot to eat and are getting old)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 sweet potato, diced
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes (I use 1/2 of a quart jar of home-canned tomatoes, but I’m weird like that)
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp garam masala, or sub in all spice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (16 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (2 cups cooked if preparing your own from dry beans, which is also what I do)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (you can use light, I don’t – use those healthy fats to grow!)
1 – 2 cups vegetable broth or water
Optional: 1/4 tsp salt or to taste, depending on how salty your broth is
Pour the oil into a 4-quart slow cooker and set the cooker on high. Add the garlic and put the lid on the cooker while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. To the cooker, add the carrots, onions, sweet potato, and tomatoes.
Stir in the curry powder, thyme, red pepper flakes, allspice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add the beans, coconut milk, and broth and reduce heat, cover, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. This can also be made on the stovetop, just use a large pot and simmer the stew for about an hour.
Want quick lunches? Freeze single-servings to grab on your way out the door in the morning and microwave at lunch time. Pairs well with whole wheat rolls or saltine crackers.