Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

Slow-Cooker Meets Turkey

For those with IBD, owning a crockpot (AKA a slow cooker) should be a necessity.  Crockpots can be a time saver — you can set them up to cook while you are at work and then come home to meals without having to slave away in the kitchen. Crockpots are especially useful for making stews, because they cook vegetables, meat and potatoes “to death” while still providing a wholesome and nutritious meal. The slow cooking breaks down the fiber and connective tissues in foods, making them softer and more digestible.  This cooking method also allows the seasoning and sauce to infuse into the cooked veggies, meat, etc.  The final product is always moist (as long as there is enough liquid), and incredibly flavorful.  If you are cooking meat, a crockpot will yield fall-apart meats, which not only sound good, but taste good.  Slow cooking on relatively low heat tenderizes meat, and since Marnina and I often cook with lean meats that are inherently less tender (less fat = less tenderness), we often use the crockpot to tenderize our ground turkey or ground beef.

If you are sensitive to veggie peels (like Marnina), we recommend peeling the veggies before throwing them into the crockpot.  If you can tolerate the peel, feel free to use un-peeled veggies, especially since the slow cooking process breaks down the fiber content of the skin.

We especially enjoy cooking with the crockpot because many of the recipes are one dish meals, meaning they have a protein, carb, and veggie.  When the recipe calls for just a protein and veggie, we usually make some rice or pasta on the side, and then throw the stew on top of the carb.  When we know we are going to be short on time after work, we will wake up extra early in the morning to cut up some veggies to throw into the crockpot, and then we add in a protein (however we wouldn’t suggest cooking tofu in the crockpot without some experimenting) and some type of liquid seasoning, press “Start,” and we have a hot meal waiting for us when we get home.  It is like having our own personal chef….and he never complains about our tiny kitchen!

Nutritionally, when compared to faster cooking methods, a slow cooker does cause some nutrient loss, particularly from vegetables. The nutrients are lost partially by enzyme action during cooking and partially due to something called heat degradation.  [1]

[1] Source:

Our most recent crockpot adventure involved making slow-cooked sweet and spicy turkey and sweet potato stew.

Pictures and recipe below:

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are ready to go!

The prepared sauce

That is a crockpot liner you are looking at, not a trash bag!

Sautéing the onions in the leftover juices from the turkey

The finished product!

CrockPot Recipe for Sweet and Spicy Ground Turkey and Sweet Potato Stew with Coconut Milk

Makes 4-6 servings


1 – 1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped in pieces about 1/2 inch
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces about 1 inch (We love sweet potatoes so we used 3)
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (we did not want to ingest an ungodly amount of soy sauce so we put in 2 teaspoons and it still tasted fine)
1/2 cup chicken stock (we also always cut down on the amount of stock we use since it tends to be high in sodium)
1/3 cup sugar, Splenda, or Stevia granulated
2 T brown sugar (or use 2 T more of the sweetener of your choice)
2-3 T Chili Garlic Sauce (we used 2 T, which was plenty spicy for us!)
2 tsp. minced ginger (we used ground ginger because we didn’t have minced ginger)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 can light coconut milk (Beware, LIGHT coconut milk still has LOTS of saturated fat)
1/2 cup green onions sliced in 1 inch pieces + more thinly sliced green onion for garnish if desired
cooked white or brown rice for serving, optional


Spray CrockPot with non-stick spray (or use a crock-pot liner which can be bought at almost any grocery store).  We used a 3.5 quart CrockPot for this recipe.

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a heavy frying pan and brown the ground turkey, breaking it up with the turner as it cooks.  This may take 7-8 minutes but don’t rush the browning step.  Put browned meat into the CrockPot.  Add 1 tsp. more olive oil if you need it and saute the onions until they are soft and lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.  Add onions to the CrockPot.  Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into pieces about 1 inch square.  Add sweet potatoes to the CrockPot.

Mix together the soy sauce, chicken stock, sweetener of your choice, brown sugar (or more sweetener), Chili Garlic Sauce, minced ginger, and minced garlic and pour over ingredients in the CrockPot.  Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are done and starting to fall apart just a little.  (I stirred it a couple of times, but it’s not essential.)

When the sweet potatoes are done, add the can of light coconut milk and the green onion pieces, turn heat to low, and cook 30 minutes more.  Serve hot, with brown or white rice and garnished with thinly sliced green onions if desired.

Adapted from:

Comments on: "Slow-Cooker Meets Turkey" (1)

  1. LOW and Slow is the way to go!! 🙂

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