One of the things I’ve missed most since we radically changed our diet is the comfort that comes with some of my favorite slow cooker dishes. I’m talking pulled pork and chicken, sloppy joes, and french dip sandwiches, served on Kings Hawaiian hamburger buns, topped with diced onion and cheese, and served with a side of oven-baked sweet potato fries.
All great weeknight dinners. Because the house smells amazing when we walk in the back door and dinner is on the table in 10 minutes!
But neither Kory nor I like the way we feel after we eat bread anymore (it’s amazing what you learn when you take things out of your diet for a while), so these recipes, along with most of the other slow cooker recipes we love (that are no longer approved for other reasons), have slipped away into the darkness.
Until I had a revelation.
The baked potato.
I was hesitant at first because the russet potato gets a bad wrap from those who subscribe to the “all carbs are bad” theory on nutrition. But I’m learning our view of nutrition is so upside down and backwards, I decided to investigate the issue myself. Because while potato chips and french fries are banned on the Whole30, potatoes, in and of themselves, are not.
Did you know that a medium-sized russet potato (skin included) is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C? It also contains protein, calcium, and iron.
Friends, the issue is not the russet potato.
It’s what we PUT ON the russet potato that should cause any nutritional concerns we may have.
Without the sour cream, butter (which can be substituted with ghee), and cheese, the russet potato is a great vegetable to put on the table.
So I decided to take a crack at serving some of my favorite Kings Hawaiian-hamburger bun-worthy slow cooker dishes on top of baked potatoes instead of bread. And the result was a hit!
Now, because of the way we bake our potatoes, two of my three children are eating the skin and the third is on his way. They’re taking the leftover potatoes to school for lunch, and some of my favorite slow cooker meals are back in the rotation.
The baked potato is a perfect “comfort food” substitute for bread. All you do is pierce them a few times with a fork, coat them in olive oil, and sprinkle them generously with sea salt. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them in a 450 degree oven for at least an hour until fork tender and the skins are crispy.
The first recipe I tried was BBQ Pulled Chicken, a recipe I found long ago on EatingWell.com that I’ve now tweaked using date paste as a substitute for honey.
Here’s what you need:
First, stir the tomato sauce, green chiles, vinegar, date paste or honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, ground chipotle or chili powder, and salt in a 6 quart slow cooker until smooth.
Next, add the onion, chicken and garlic and stir to combine.
Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW until the chicken can be pulled apart, about 5 hours. With two forks, shred the chicken and serve on top of oven baked potatoes. The topping choices are endless, but to keep it healthy, we serve the potatoes with ghee, salt, and pepper. Then, we top it with BBQ pulled chicken, green onions, and pickled jalapenos.