Julie Anne: I promise, glamour doesn’t have to stop, just because you put the apron on once a week! Personal Chef Approach member (PCA) Aja Dang is living proof.  Aja sent this guest post in to share how she uses the PCA to help tackle her grueling schedule, while feeling and looking her very best. This is her unique take on staying healthy while eating healthy on the go.

The PCA helps Aja remember to eat on the go

The PCA helps Aja remember to eat on the go

Aja: My life has been a whirlwind for the past couple months. Iʼve been juggling hosting a sports show called @TheBuzzer on Fox Sports; overseeing the growth of my social media accounts, including my personal YouTube channel, which recently hit the 50,000 subscribers; photo shoots for website and fashion blogs like Peach Pop Fashion and The Advnt Society; meeting with account executives for possible sponsorship deals; plus building relationships with major Hollywood studios to accomplish my dream of having a travel show on a major network.

Please donʼt get me wrong, Iʼm not complaining. I love to work and after four years of fully committing myself to my dreams, I love to see my hard work finally paying off. But the one thing that really suffers while Iʼm running around is my health and eating habits. For the past year, Iʼve lost 15 lbs. which actually scared me, because I wasnʼt trying to diet and my exercise routine never changed.

Aja and her crew on set with Washington Red Skin Robert Griffin III

Aja and her crew on set with Washington Red Skin Robert Griffin III

After seeing multiple doctors and confirming that I am still in tip top shape, Iʼve come to the conclusion that sometimes Iʼm just so busy that I forget to eat. Iʼm sure you momʼs and dadʼs out there know what Iʼm talking about. You are so busy taking care of the kids, going to work and doing other parental duties that you forget to take care of yourself!

Luckily, the PCA has been a true life saver during the past couple months. While itʼs difficult to make time during the week to cook all my PCA meals, it is worth it knowing that I have food already prepped. I know Jewels uses the approach to cook once a month for herself as a single gal, but I use the approach in a slightly different manner – I like to cook twice a month to cover both  lunch AND dinner while I’m on the run.

Aja rocks the PCA to aide her health and vigor

Aja rocks the PCA to aide her health and vigor

I can bring my meals with me on-set or if Iʼm driving around, I can throw it in my lunch box and heat it up when Iʼm ready to eat. Having two weekʼs worth of food prepped and ready to go takes so much off my mind. I have a lot to worry about, eating shouldnʼt be one of them and thanks to the PCA it isnʼt.

Jewels: Thanks for affording me the luxury of more time with Tatjana this weekend, Aja! There really are as many different ways to use the PCA as there are members using it! Please watch the video above for more about how the Personal Chef Approach works, and enjoy one of Aja’s favorite recipes below.

Personal Chef Approach

Slow-Cooker Lamb Marrakech Stew

Aja: One of my favorite recipes is Slow-Cooker Lamb Marrakech Stew. First of all, being able to cook an entire recipe in a slow-cooker really takes the pressure off the whole meal prep situation. But most of all, it is so delicious and tastes even better a couple days after when you can really taste the bold flavors of the spices. Highly recommended!

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours

Ingredients

Slow-Cooker Lamb Marrakech Stew

  • 3 1/2 pound leg of lamb
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dry red wine (or increase broth by 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne optional
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 large oranges 2950 Tml juice + 1 Tml zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped

Directions

Slow-Cooker Lamb Marrakech Stew

  1. Mix turmeric and flour together on a plate. Dredge the lamb on all sides, then shake well to remove excess flour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the lamb, browning on all sides, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the from the pan, drain on a towels; tent with foil to keep warm and set aside.
  3. In the pan you seared the lamb, stir in the red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Add to the slow-cooker. Stir the cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne, cumin, onions, carrot, sweet potatoes, garlic, diced tomatoes, beef broth and orange juice. Add the seared leg of lamb, sprinkle with cilantro, parsley, and orange peel, then cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours.
  4. Remove lid and leg of lamb, letting the lamb cool just long enough to handle while the sauce and vegetables simmer with the lid off to thicken. Cut the meat from the bone into large bite-size chunks. Add meat back to the sauce and vegetables.

Serving Suggestions

Serve hot over couscous.

Heat To Eat

Vent lid of container and heat in microwave on 50% power for 3-5 minutes, stirring midway to distribute heat evenly; or heat in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally until brought to a slow boil for at least 5 minutes.

Variations

This is delicious made with chicken instead of lamb, using chicken broth instead beef broth.

Notes

If desired, you can thicken sauce with a thickening agent such as cornstarch or a flour and water slurry, but I usually don’t, because I don’t want the extra calories.

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  • September 5, 2014
    4:30 pm

    This sounds so good! I think I’ll have to try it with chicken and switch over to chicken broth in the ingredients. It’s the time of year when it’s nice to have warm comfort meals again and I love making stews and such since they’re so easy to put together. Love that I can put the ingredients in the slow cooker and it does the work for me, allowing me time to read, work in the studio or do something as boring as laundry. I wonder how this recipe would work if I used tofu instead of a meat. Never know until I try so maybe this weekend will be my time to try out that idea.

  • September 5, 2014
    4:35 pm

    You know, I have never tried tofu in the slow-cooker. Let me know how it comes out Ruthee!