A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thrifty Thursday Slow-Cooker White Bean Stew Recipe: Healthy and Low Cost!

What is it with so many people claiming eating healthy is expensive? Yeah, maybe when you go and buy organic doughnuts and poptarts, but that’s hardly healthy anyway. Not everything has to be organic, either. I feel choosing something with little to no processing is usually the better choice.

When I use the convenience of slow-cooker cooking, most of the veggies I use are frozen and not organic. You can find frozen store brand produce for cheap, and I stock up on these each week. If I need a quick dose of veggies, I just put a mix in a microwavable dish, cover, and steam in the microwave for a few minutes. Add several herbs and spices plus some tasty brown mustard and mix it all together….wham! Healthy eating in minutes for pennies on the dollar.

Example of a meal prepared for the work week lunch. I just add frozen okra that will cook when I reheat at work. Easy Peasy!
Frozen veggies, good; frozen meals, bad. I can’t stand seeing people open their Lean Cuisine or SmartOnes meal, tear a slit in the plastic covering, and set the timer to nuke for “X” amount of minutes. Then stir and cook a little more. Boo. If you really have no time, at least buy the microwavable bags of frozen vegetable mixes (beware of added salt and creamy sauces) and have some salsa to mix in once cooked. There are plenty of frozen mixed veggie medleys with beans for a healthy dose of protein.

Canned tuna or salmon in water is another easy add-in. Be creative and fast, people, it’s your health! Do you ever see people with their frozen meals and want to just tell them how easy it is to eat something better? It shouldn’t bother me, but this is my passion and for some reason I care. Sue me…….ok, don’t. Please, don’t.

Microwaving frozen vegetables seriously helps cut down the time I spend cooking meals for Kelley and me to bring for work lunch. I try to keep it varied to avoid meal monotony, but Kelley says she’d rather spend time with me than me taking longer in the kitchen. I still end up taking a long time though; I think I have a kitchen addiction. I could have no reason to be in there, but I’ll make sure to find something. Anyone else ever do this?

Quick and delicious tuna barley bowl with microwave steamed veggies. The Zevia was a refreshing drink to wash it all down.
Back to the slow-cooker. Today’s recipe is simple and very easy to change the ingredients to suit your preferences. You can make it vegan, vegetarian, or add meat if you choose. I actually added tilapia filets on top of everything in the cooker and then served them with a baked sweet potato and broccoli. This is another time saver tip; cooking food for 2 different meals in the same pot. It may not always be extravagant eating, but if it tastes good and is healthy, your body will thank you. And Kelley thanks me too…….unless I added too much cayenne. I didn’t think that’s possible!

I must cut today’s post short as I’m short on time. Balancing my job, exercise, meal prep, and quality time can be hard, but I feel it’s more than worth it when it comes to health. I make my food to be in control of my health, and am always up to help give advice to anyone who wants it. That’s the hard part, most people I see don’t want to hear they are doing the wrong thing. Ok, I’m stopping before I go on another rant.

Slow-Cooker Rosemary White Bean Stew

by RC Liley
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours

Ingredients (Serves 3 to 4)
  • 2 (15oz) cans drained and rinsed or 1 cup dry white beans; I used dried cannellini beans and soaked overnight; use whatever bean you have at home
  • 1 26.4 oz box of Pomi Chopped tomatoes; 2 (15oz) cans of diced/chopped will work too
  • 1 bag of frozen fiesta blend mix; usually has red peppers 3 types of beans, broccoli, and carrots, anything you have works fine, this is very customizable!
  • 1/2 bag of frozen or fresh sugar snap peas
  • 12oz bag of frozen chopped broccoli
  • 10oz bag of frozen diced green peppers, onions, and celery mix
  • 4 – 6 cloves fresh garlic; crushed and chopped
  • 1 T each of cumin, chili powder, turmeric, dried basil, dried parsley, and paprika
  • 1 T dried rosemary
  • 1 t cayenne powder
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock; or fill that almost empty container of mustard or salad dressing with water and use instead
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
Heat a pan on medium-high heat on the stove and sauté onion and pepper mix with garlic until fragrant
Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker (you may need more liquid, but it should be thick to be called “stew”) and cook on high for 4 hours.
Serve in bowl or store in a dish to heat and eat later.
Garnish with extra paprika, parsley, and crumbled goat cheese if desired
Serve with hearty, crusty bread and refreshing iced tea; it is summer after all!
Optional: Try blending everything for a creamy soup or healthy dip.
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Thanks for listening and enjoy this stew. Make a double batch for a quick meal later too!

Q: Do you find yourself trying hard not to lecture those unaware of what they are actually eating in some processed food?


  1. This looks really tasty! I've never used a slow cooker before, but I might just have to try making this sometime! It even looks likes something that my incredibly unhealthy and picky father would eat...

    Haha and yes, I do find it hard NOT to go on nutrition rants. Somehow I often fail at muting myself once I reach rant-mode...oh well XD Maybe people will put down the crap just because they're sick of my lecturing!

    1. Oh man, you must get a slow-cooker and start using right away! You can make some tasty meals and healthy desserts in there. Plus, who doesn't want to just be able to throw food and spices in a pot and let it cook? My only problem is I don't have two of them to use!

      Yeah, people are pretty stubborn and unfortunately need some life-altering event to make them feel like they have to change something. Sometimes, that event might be too late...

  2. i'm really good about not lecturing people because there's just so much that's wrong with the way people eat and i don't have the energy to save people, one candy bar at a time. instead, i try to live by example and show the benefits of eating healthy while providing healthy, tasty food options! ... like this stew! :)

    1. Thank you, T, great point! I too try to teach others by example, but sadly I get more snide, "ooooo, he's healthy b/c he's eating carrots at breakfast time" remarks. Who cares what or when I eat whatever or whenever I eat? Did I just write a sentence?

      Anyway, all we can do is keep living our healthy life-style like you mention and hope others will follow. Thanks for the comments, hope you try and like the stew!