The other day, I served dinner to 6 people, including a 2.5 year-old, and not including myself. I was working most of the day so I didn't have much time to be perched over a stove. I needed the meal to be filling, to be appropriate for a cold day, and to be super easy. Served with a plate of snacks, and with a mixed green salad, it worked!

I tossed all the ingredients into a slow cooker and came up with this stew (the recipe is below), which was delicious, not spicy but carried a bit of Indian influence and is only 3 grams/fat per serving!

I had some extra chicken, and since the recipe makes 6 servings right on, I knew I needed another quick filling side, appetizer, whatever category you want to throw it in. I cooked the chicken on the stove top in some olive oil and garlic, and cooked some basmati rice separately. I then combined the two in the pan, added some natural peanut butter and soy sauce to taste. I served the peanut-flavoured chicken and rice with romaine leaves, to be eaten as lettuce roll-ups.

The stew recipe is from The New Creative Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Cookbook. (Say that three times fast.)

Ingredients: 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut 1/2-inch slices 1 - 28oz. can whole stewed tomatoes (I used diced, and only noticing now, by accident!) 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (I used more) 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (I used more) 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp celery seed 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped 1 cup nonfat, low sodium chicken broth

Combine all ingredients in the Crock-Pot slow cooker. Cover; cook on Low for 6-8 hours (or on High for 3-4 hours). Makes 6 servings; 3 grams of fat per serving.