It's now getting dark earlier - time to dust off the slow cooker!


Daylight Savings is now over and that leaves us less time to prepare family meals - time to dust off the slow cooker!

Here's some awesome recipes that you can spend a little time preparing and then come home to the tantalising aroma of dinner ready to serve.....


Beef Ragu

1¼ kg piece beef chuck or beef bolar blade
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
1½ cups beef stock
400 g can diced tomatoes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 small char-grilled capsicums, thinly sliced (optional)
½ cup small fresh basil leaves
 Pasta and grated parmesan, to serve

Cut beef into four or five large pieces. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Heat a large frypan over a medium-high heat. Brown the pieces of beef well on all sides. Remove and place in slow cooker bowl.

Reduce heat, add a little oil to the frypan and onion and garlic. Cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and stir to scrape up residue from the base of the pan and ensure the onion is coated with the flour. Gradually pour in the stock and stir until the mixture boils. Pour over the beef in slow cooker dish. Add the tomatoes and thyme and a small pinch of sugar

Cover the slow cooker with its lid, cook on low setting for 6-8 hours and then 1 hour on high setting (if you have time). Alternatively, cook on the high setting for 4-5 hours. To serve, shred the beef with two forks. Stir in the roasted capsicum and basil leaves. Serve over pasta and sprinkle with parmesan.


Slow Cooker Parmesan Herb Chicken & Risoni

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, OR 4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1½ cups risoni pasta
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup shaved or finely shredded parmesan cheese
freshly cracked black pepper and herbs (such as thyme or parsley) for garnish

Season chicken with a bit of the Italian seasonings and salt and pepper on both sides. Cook in a large non-stick skillet on the stove over medium-high heat 1-2 minutes on each side until browned on the outsides.

Transfer chicken to a greased slow cooker. Add chicken broth, butter, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and salt and pepper to slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or on low for 3-4 hours. Stir in risoni, cover and cook for another 30-45 minutes on high.

Uncover and use a fork to pull chicken out of the slow cooker. Stir contents of slow cooker, then return chicken to slow cooker, on top of the risoni mixture.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over chicken. Cover and cook until cheese is melted, about 5-10 minutes. Serve with fresh herbs and cracked black pepper if desired.


Osso buco

4 (900g) veal shanks or osso buco
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium red onions, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 medium carrots, thickly sliced
2 sticks celery, thickly sliced
410g can crushed tomatoes
⅔ cup dry white wine
1 cup beef stock
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Cooked polenta, to serve

1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

Place veal and flour in a bowl. Toss to coat. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook veal for 5 minutes each side until browned. Transfer to a plate.

Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery to pan. Cook, stirring for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables start to brown. Transfer to bowl of slow cooker.

Add veal. Pour over combined tomatoes, wine, stock, herbs and tomato paste. Season. Turn slow cooker onto low and cook, covered for 6-7 hours.

Combine gremolata ingredients in a bowl. Serve osso buco on polenta, sprinkled with gremolata.


Baked Pasta

500g beef mince
1 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 x 410g can diced tomatoes
420 g jar of pasta sauce
2½ cups water or chicken broth
4 cups Penne
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion until browned. Stir in garlic and salt and cook 1 minute.

Add beef mixture, basil, parsley, tomatoes, pasta sauce and water to slow cooker. Stir.

Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.

Add pasta and stir until combined. Cover and continue cooking for 20-45 minutes (depending on how hot your slow cooker is) -- check and stir at the 20 minute mark.

Sprinkle with cheese and cover for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.


Slow-cooker chicken with pesto butter

1.6kg whole chicken
60g butter, softened
2 tablespoons basil, cashew and parmesan dip
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Steamed vegetables, to serve

Rinse chicken (including cavity) under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towel. Using your fingers, gently lift skin away from breast meat on each side to form 2 pockets.

Combine butter, dip, basil and garlic in a bowl. Gently push butter mixture under chicken skin, being careful not to split the skin.

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add chicken, breast side down. Cook, turning, for 10 minutes, or until golden. Place a wire rack in the bowl of a 5 litre slow-cooker. Place chicken on wire rack, breast side up. Season with salt and pepper. Cover. Turn slow-cooker on low. Cook for 4 hours or until chicken is tender and cooked through.

Serve chicken with vegetables.

                                 Recipe source:












Recipe source:

Middle Eastern lamb shanks with rhubarb

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 French-trimmed lamb shanks
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cups salt reduced chicken style liquid stock
1 wide strip orange rind
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 rhubarb stalks, trimmed, cut into 5cm lengths
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
250g packet pearl couscous, cooked, to serve
Mixed salad leaves, to serve

Heat ½ the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook lamb, in batches, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a large plate.

Heat remaining oil to pan. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add saffron, cinnamon, turmeric and coriander. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add stock, rind, tomato paste and 1 cup water. Bring to the boil. Return lamb to pan. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour 40 minutes or until lamb is tender.

Uncover dish. Cook for a further 20 minutes or until lamb is very tender and starting to fall off the bone. Add rhubarb. Cook, uncovered, for a further 10 minutes or until rhubarb has softened. Discard rind. Season with salt and pepper. Top with parsley. Serve with pearl couscous and salad leaves.

Knights Meats