Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff

IMG_1190Have a Crock Pot® and need more slow cooker recipes in your arsenal? Try this delicious beef stroganoff, and you’ll never go back to the Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and hamburger stuff again. I have to admit, that was my stand-by for years until I stumbled upon this recipe for stroganoff in one of Martha Stewart’s “Everyday Food” magazines (December 2006). She used cornstarch to thicken her version, but I prefer to make a roux (there’s that word again, Tom!) as the base for a beautiful, creamy sauce. Don’t be afraid of that French food word! Simple directions for making a roux are in the recipe below.

FullSizeRenderA dab of Dijon mustard and sprinkle of dill add subtle flavor twists that enhance the meat and mushrooms, turning this into a meal that makes even my non-beef-eating son say, “I don’t normally like beef, but this is GOOD!” Get the meat and onions simmering in your slow cooker (any shout outs for my 80’s harvest gold pot pictured here?) on low in the morning, and you’ll come home to a meal that’s 95% done. Finish the sauce on your stove top, boil some cous cous (since it only takes 5 minutes), and voilà! Dinner is served.

Serves 6-8

Rating: easy to medium

3½-4 pounds beef round bottom roast or beef stew meat, slightly frozen*
1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dill weed
8- to 10-ounce package white button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

Prepared egg noodles, cous cous, or brown rice for serving
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping, optional

Slice meat into ¼-inch thick pieces, about 2 or 3-inches long, cutting against grain. Toss in 5- or 6-quart slow cooker with onions, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 6 hours. Stir once while cooking, if possible.

Once meat is done cooking, scoop as much of the liquid from pot as you can into a 2-cup glass measuring cup. You will probably get 2 cups-worth of beef juice from that amount of meat, but add water if you need to, in order to get 2 cups worth of beef broth. Set aside. (Leave slow cooker set on low while you prep the sauce and mushrooms.)

To make a roux: In frying pan set on medium heat, melt butter. Sprinkle flour on top of the melted butter, and stir to combine. Turn heat to low. All flour should be incorporated, and mixture will become paste-like in consistency. Gradually whisk the reserved beef broth into the roux (butter/flour mixture), until it is all combined and no lumps remain. Turn heat up to medium-high. Stir in sour cream, Dijon mustard, and dill until thoroughly combined. Pour sauce back into slow cooker, and stir to coat meat.

Sauté mushrooms in fry pan on high, stirring often, until mushrooms begin to brown slightly. Once cooked, stir mushrooms in with beef and sauce. Serve over cooked pasta, cous cous, or rice. (Serve with rice if you need this meal to be gluten-free.)

*PREP TIP: The meat is easiest to slice thin if it’s slightly frozen. You will want to trim off visible fat as well, and that’s also easier to do when the meat is chilled. I usually pull my meat out of the freezer and let sit about an hour so it’s not rock-solid, but still cold enough to slice.

Three-Bean Turkey Chili Con Carne

FullSizeRender-1It’s safe to say soup season is officially upon us, and this staple chili recipe is perfect for a filling lunch or a hearty dinner when the weather turns nippy. This is such a fave, that frankly, I’m surprised I’ve not posted it yet! Although, I need to give a disclaimer here. It used to be a family favorite for for everyone in our household, but when I first went back to working full-time a dozen years ago, I was hard-pressed to come up with recipes to throw on the table in a hurry after 5 p.m. I had previously been freelancing from home, and could putz in the kitchen between projects. That luxury was lost when I had to be elsewhere from 8-5. Sooooooo… I would whip up a batch of this chili in the evening or weekends to have on hand for dinner. But apparently, I relied on this a little too much, and my sons started groaning, “Chili, AGAIN???”

We took a much-needed break from chili, and I found other recipes I could make in a snap when we needed to eat and run to guitar lessons or hockey practice, etc. (Many of those fast favorites have been posted on this blog.) Were my offspring a little harsh on me regarding this dutiful recipe? I think so. Especially when my son Brandon made this for a church youth group chili cook-off fundraiser, and won the coveted first prize trophy—an ancient can of beans glued to a block of wood bearing a “First Prize” plaque. (Helped that he’s stinkin’ cute and there were lots of teen girls voting…) Who’s dissing my chili NOW, huh?

The original recipe came from my Mom’s friend Arlene, one of those women who always makes great food. I believe she got the recipe from the St. Paul Pioneer Press sometime in the 70’s, but I’m not sure. (Feel free to comment, Arlene!) I’ve altered to suit our changing tastes, and now use turkey instead of hamburger, and have added black beans (unheard of among suburbanites in the 70’s), butter beans, more vegetables, and some additional seasonings. Serve this with the Corn Bread recipe previously posted, and you’ve got a winning combination. Maybe even first place.

Serves 10-12 (But freezes well, if that’s more than you need!)

Rating: Easy

1-1¼ pounds ground turkey (or hamburger)
1 medium or large yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped (optional)
3 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans with cumin and chili spices (do NOT drain)
2 cans corn
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
1 (15-16 ounce) can butter beans
1-1½ tablespoons regular chili powder
1 tablespoon chili con carne seasoning (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½-2 teaspoons salt


Grated sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped scallions
Sour cream

In large fry pan, cook turkey until no pink remains. Put into large Dutch oven, or other large pot in which you will be simmering your chili. Using same fry pan, sauté onion for 2-3 minutes. Add green pepper, carrots, and zucchini (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent, and other vegetables are slightly softened.

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and black beans to pot with cooked turkey. Stir in sautéed onion mixture. In colander, rinse and drain corn, kidney beans, and butter beans. Once drained, add to pot. Stir in chili powder, chili con carne seasoning (if using), cumin, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to simmer, and cook on low for 30-60 minutes. Serve with toppings. Or store in frig to serve later.