Each month, Secret Recipe Club participants are assigned a participating food blog from which we’re to make a recipe. It's a secret, so you can’t tell them you are making something from their blog! I was assigned Recipe Taster and chose Alessio’s recipe for Cuban Picadillo. I was intrigued that a Sicilian man living in Bonn, Germany would cook up a Cuban dish. Then that’s Alessio for you! He’s a scientist, an artist, a food blogger, and calls himself a Renaissance man – a perfect description for someone with his range of talents and interests.
But back to the food. I love picadillo, a traditional dish in Cuba, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I usually make my picadillo in the slow cooker with onions, apples, raisins and spices. However, I wanted to make a different version and Alessio’s picadillo recipe looked perfect. I loved that he used raisins, olives and potatoes in his dish. However, I had a problem - I didn’t have any green peppers or olives in the house.
So I improvised and replaced the peppers with celery, but thought the whole thing would fall apart without the olives. Instead, I decided to give the picadillo a Mexican flare by using chorizo, which I just happened to have defrosting in the refrigerator for our weekend breakfasts.
I used ground venison and chorizo made from venison, both of which are very lean. (Our game processor doesn’t add fat to the chorizo.) You can make this with lean ground beef or even ground turkey. If you don’t have a Hispanic grocery store in your area, spicy breakfast sausage is an OK substitution for the chorizo. Just remember to cook and drain the fat from whatever meat you use to cut back on the fat and calories.
My picadillo also features Muir Glen’s Fire Roasted Adobo Seasoned Petite Diced Tomatoes, which gave the dish a terrific smoky flavor. Unfortunately, Muir Glen doesn’t make it anymore. (I either got it at my “dented can” store or possibly through their Reserved Kit program.) A good substitute would be Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies.
Venison Chorizo Picadillo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2/3 cup onions, chopped into small pieces
- 2/3 cup potatoes, cut into small pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon green chili sauce
- 8 ounces chorizo (venison)
- 1 1/4 pounds ground venison or very lean ground beef
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) Muir Glen’s Fire Roasted Adobo Seasoned Petite Diced Tomatoes
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, potatoes and garlic and cook until onions start to brown and caramelize. Stir often and turn down heat if vegetables begin to burn. About 10 minutes.
- Add salt, cumin, oregano and green chili sauce. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add chorizo, breaking it up and stirring it into vegetables.
- When chorizo has browned, add the ground meat. Break up meat and stir into other ingredients.
- When meat has browned, add in the seasoned tomatoes. Stir to combine with other ingredients.
- Add raisins and stir to combine.
- Cover skillet and turn down heat to low.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve on top of rice.
- Serving size: 3/4 cup
- Calories: 343
- Calories from Fat: 183
- Total Fat: 20.3g
- Saturated fat: 7.4g
- Unsaturated fat: 12.9g
- Sodium: 532mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 13.1g
- Sugar: 7.3g
- Fiber: 1.5g
- Protein: 26.7g
- Cholesterol: 94mg
Weight Watchers POINTS = 7
Weight Watchers POINTS = 5 for 1/2 cup of picadillo
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With the Super Bowl coming up, preparing a healthy slow cooker dish ahead of time is a great way to keep your family and party guests fed while you watch the game. This recipe is based on Pork and Butternut Squash Stew found in the February 2010 issue of Ladies Home Journal. The original recipe used frozen corn and lima beans. I’ve substituted a bag of frozen yellow (summer) squash and zucchini. I also used frozen butternut squash, since it’s already peeled and cut.
I made this last weekend during the playoffs. The pork was tender and the stew was full of flavor. It was a hit both with the adults and the kids, and will be something I’ll make again when pork shoulder is on sale or I have an abundance of squash and zucchini.
This Mama’s tips
- You can use an all purpose gluten free flour or a combination of white and whole grain brown rice flours. If you’re not gluten free, regular whole wheat or white flour is fine.
- Frozen vegetables cook up very quickly. If you are using raw squash and/or zucchini, make sure to adjust the cooking time.
- Serve this over rice if you wish!
Healthy Slow Cooker Pork, Squash and Zucchini Stew
- 1/3 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 (16-ounce bag) frozen butternut squash
- 1 (16-ounce bag) frozen yellow (summer) squash and zucchini
- Stir together flour, paprika, coriander and salt in a large bowl.
- Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Make sure you trim as much fat off as possible.
- Toss pork in flour mixture with your hands to coat the meat.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet, Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add pork and reserve any excess flour mixture. Reduce heat to medium and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a your slow cooker.
- Add remaining flour mixture to slow cooker along with 1 cup water, tomatoes with juice, broth, onion, bay leaf and vinegar.
- Cook for 7 hours on low.
- After 7 hours, add the frozen vegetables.
- Continue to cook until vegetables are heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve!
- Serving size: 1/8 of recipe
- Calories: 257
- Calories from Fat: 130
- Total Fat: 14.4g
- Saturated fat: 4.8g
- Unsaturated fat: 0.0g
- Sodium: 436mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 16.4g
- Sugar: 4.4g
- Fiber: 3.1g
- Protein: 16.3g
- Cholesterol: 51mg
Weight Watchers POINTS = 5 per serving
My book club is reading A Passage to India [affiliate link] by E.M. Forster. I'm hosting the next meeting, so I offered to make a chicken curry. But I'm busy, and on Weight Watchers, so what's a good hostess to do? Find a terrific curry chicken slow cooker recipe from Weight Watchers, that's what!
I will make the chicken curry that afternoon in my slow cooker since it only takes four hours. I'll also triple the slow cooker curry recipe since I have a large slow cooker that can handle it. That way I can have chicken curry leftovers for the next day for both me and my family if my book group of 11 ladies doesn't eat the whole pot.
If you cannot find mango chutney at your grocery store, combine 1 cup peach salsa with 3/4 cup apricot preserves. If Vidalia onions aren’t available, any type of sweet onion will do. Serve over brown or white rice.
Slow Cooker Sweet Chicken Curry
- 3 pounds uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 large green peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 large Vidalia onions, sliced
- 3 (14 1/2 ounces) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 (12 ounce) jar mango chutney
- 3/4 cup water
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch or rice starch
- 4 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- Place chicken, chopped peppers and onions, and diced tomatoes in a large slow cooker.
- Mix water and cornstarch together in a small bowl to create a slurry.
- Pour over chicken and vegetable mixture. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours.
- Serving size: 1 1/2 to 2 cups per serving
Weight Watcher POINTS = 6 (without rice)
This casserole recipe is based on the one from Amy Dacyczyn's book The Tightwad Gazette #2 [affiliate link]. I've made healthier by making it vegetarian and using brown rice.
This casserole dish is standby at our house when I don't have the time or energy to make anything fancy. Just chop, measure, mix, cook and serve. I usually double this recipe so we have lots of leftovers for my husband to take to work and reheat.
You can jazz this up by using different kinds of lentils (red, yellow, brown or green) and rice (white, basmati, sushi or black). Or try adding some cut up carrots, celery, or other pieces of vegetables to the casserole. It's a great way to use up leftover bits of this or that you have after making other recipes!
Amy writes that you can cook this in your crock pot, although I've never done that. It sounds a bit more thrifty as you're not heating up your entire oven, don't you think? And using your slow cooker is perfect for when it's too hot to cook, so I'll have to give it a try!
Quick Healthy Lentil and Rice Casserole
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup uncooked lentils
- 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Grated Parmesean-Reggiano for serving
- Combine all ingredients together in a large casserole dish. Cover with a lid or piece of heavy foil.
- Place in oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees F.
- Serve with some grated Parmesean-Reggiano sprinkled on top.
- Serving size: 1/4 of recipe