How ‘The Mentalist’ Star Amanda Righetti Got Her Groove Back After Baby

To say that my labor and delivery didn’t go quite as planned is an understatement. After giving birth and facing a minimum eight-week recovery, my highly anticipated exercise plan became completely impractical and unrealistic. I had to rethink my entire weight-loss plan.

As a new parent, I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even think about cooking. But after about three months, I started to get into a rhythm with motherhood, and with it came my desire to get back in the kitchen. I found a renewed obsession in cooking with the crockpot. I was able to quickly prepare meals while the baby was taking his morning nap, put it in the slow cooker and forget about it until dinner time. As my son got older and started eating solids, this method became a brilliant way to allow me to cook, but not be in the kitchen for hours preparing a meal. I puree whatever I cook, so our son eats what we eat and he has dinner at the table with us. It becomes a special time for us to be together as a family, and enjoy a healthy, home-cooked meal.

This recipe goes well with a butter lettuce salad, or if you want something more hearty, a kale and spinach salad. It’s also a great foundation for soups.

Slow Cooked Chicken and Veggies
(5 or 6 quart slow cooker is ideal)
Makes: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 1/2 – 10 hours

6 carrots, cut into thirds
3 sweet potatoes, quartered
1 leek, sliced and diced
3 to 4 lb chicken
1 lemon, quartered
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp. dried coarse black pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup water, chicken broth, or white cooking wine

Remove the neck and giblets from the chicken and discard. Rinse the bird under cold water and pat dry. Season the cavity and skin with pepper. Put the rosemary, thyme, and lemon quarters inside the cavity.

Place the garlic cloves, leeks, carrots, and potatoes at the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the chicken on top of the vegetables, breast up. Add chicken broth or water.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on High for 3 1/2 – 5 hours. (Use 1 cup of liquid if cooking on high)