Sizzle Simmer Sauté–Take it easy with a trio of slow cooker meals

Jennifer Ruple

Check out all of my recipes on The Sylvania Advantage Website ( titled SIZZLE SIMMER SAUTÉ.

So far 2021 hasn’t proven to ease any of our daily stress. We’ve still got work to do (from home albeit), homeschooling, cleaning, laundry, and perhaps DIY projects we started last year. Did I mention cooking? For some, that means three times a day!
Give yourself a break and let your slow cooker do some of the work for you. I’ve got three meal ideas, a breakfast, lunch and dinner, that may help make meal prep and cleanup a bit easier.
Slow Cooker Broccoli Egg Casserole is loaded with veggies and is truly a one pot meal. Chili Mac will feed the whole family at lunchtime and probably give you leftovers. Finally, Beef Stroganoff with Mushrooms is a hearty dinner that is sure to warm everyone on a cold winter evening.

Slow Cooker Broccoli Egg Casserole
Here’s a breakfast that’s lower in carbs and can be adapted to fit your family’s tastes. You may want to plan this one for a late-morning breakfast, unless you rise at 4 or 5 am. Nonetheless, it couldn’t be any easier to prepare and the veggies can even be chopped or diced the night before to save additional prep time.
6-8 servings

Cooking spray
12 large eggs
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (3 ½ to 4 cups)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into medium dice
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup half-and-half
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Generously coat the inside of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
Add half the broccoli, half the bell pepper, and half the cheddar and green onions. Repeat the layers once more.
In a large pitcher or bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper. Whisk until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Pour the egg mixture over the top.
Cover and cook on low for 3 ½ to 4 hours, until golden around the edges and just barely set in the center.
Make this a custom dish with swap-ins
Add or substitute any of the following. Play with different combinations to make it your own.

Frozen diced hash browns
Cooked crumbled breakfast sausage
Cooked crumbled bacon
Baby spinach
Grated Swiss cheese
Sautéed mushrooms
Jarred pesto
Sun-dried tomatoes
Quartered artichoke hearts
A mix of chopped fresh herbs
(Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond, The New Frontier, 2019)

Chili Mac
This hearty lunch or dinner comes together in no time. While the recipe says to cook it 3 to 3 ½ hours, mine was ready in about 2 hours. Just be sure to check it occasionally.
6 or more servings

Vegetable oil spray
¾ pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
3 cups low-sodium beef broth, preferably, or chicken broth
1 can (15 ounces) chili beans, undrained
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies, such as Ro-Tel
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
Shredded mild cheddar cheese for garnish, optional

Generously spray the inside of the slow cooker with oil.
Sauté ground beef in a heavy medium or large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it apart with a spatula while it cooks. As soon as it loses its raw color, mix in the onion and continue cooking about 5 more minutes, until the beef is just cooked through and the onion has softened.
Scrape the mixture from the skillet into the slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients (except the optional cheese) and stir together, making sure the macaroni is covered with liquid.
Cook on high approximately 3 hours, until the macaroni is tender. The mixture should remain a bit soupy.
Serve hot in bowls. If you wish, top each bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cheese.
(Recipe from Cheryl Alters Jamison, Texas Slow Cooker, 2017)

Beef Stroganoff with Mushrooms
This rich and creamy stew is best served over hot, buttered egg noodles and garnished with lots of freshly chopped Italian parsley.
6-8 servings
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds beef chuck steak or round steak, cut crosswise into strips about ½ inch wide
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine such as cabernet
2 cups beef broth
1 ½ pounds assorted fresh mushrooms, cut into ½ – inch pieces
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
In a bowl, stir together the 3 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Working in batches, roll the steak in the seasoned four and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the onion to the pan and sauté over medium-high heat until tender, 3 – 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the wine and broth and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up the browned bits on the pan bottom with a wooden spoon.
Transfer the steak and juices to a slow cooker. Pour the broth mixture over the steak and add the thyme. Cover and cook until the steak is tender, 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
In a large skillet over high heat, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the steak.
In a bowl, stir together sour cream, sherry and Worcestershire sauce. Stirring constantly, sprinkle in the remaining 2 tablespoons flour and the dry mustard until thoroughly blended. Add to the slow cooker, cover and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
(Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Slow Cooking, 2008)

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