I have a love/hate relationship with my crock pot. I love the ease and convenience, but I have hated more than one slow cooker meal. And what is with all the slow cooker recipes and the ingredients they call for, the cream of this, cream of that soup? And cheese whiz. The last thing I want slow cooking with my meat is a congealed can of fat or artificial cheese. Seriously, what were our mothers thinking? And slow cookers can be a pain in the you know what to wash.
Even with all the drawbacks, there are days when my crock pot is a life saver, especially now that we eat gluten free. Long gone are the days when we can just order a pizza or pick up some deli food on a hectic day. And between school, work, activities and normal family life, isn’t every week just a little chaotic? So, in the end I need my crock pot, but I also need dependable recipes that will produce a delicious meal. This isn’t always easy.
I have found that things that naturally require low and slow cooking also work the best in a crock pot, go figure, huh? Things I have been the happiest with are: beans, broths, stews, soups and roasts. Red meat seems to work better than chicken. Chicken is notorious for being easy to over cook and dry out, so slow cook chicken with caution. Another warning, the old slow cookers required a longer cooking time. So if you are using an old recipe and a new crock pot, make sure to adjust the cooking time. I doubt anything requires 12 hours in a newer slow cooker, but this seemed to be the norm in the old ones. And please, for the love of all things delicious, do not use cream of anything soup. Your family and your arteries will thank you.
This is my all time favorite slow cooker meal. I believe it came from an old Taste of Home of Country magazine. Feel free to use a can of tomato sauce in place of the canned tomatoes if you prefer, it will be good either way. And the original recipe called for a 16 oz can of tomatoes, but the brands I use are all 14.5 oz cans, so I changed this accordingly. But I seriously doubt it will matter which size of can you use.
Slow Cooker Pepper Steak
- 1 1/2-2 pounds round steak (or any other appropriate cut)
- 2 Tb oil
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (if eating gf, San-J makes a good one)
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp sugar
- pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (or about 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced)
- 1- 14.5oz can of cut tomatoes with liquid (or a can of tomato sauce)
- 2 large bell peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tb Cornstarch
- Cut beef into 3-inch strips and brown in oil in skillet (if short on time, browning can be skipped). Place beef in slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, onion, garlic, sugar, pepper, ginger, tomatoes and green peppers. Cook on low 5-6 hours or until beef is tender.
- Combine cornstarch and water in small dish. Stir into slow cooker and cook on high until thick; about 30 minutes. Serve over rice.