I’m a fan of casseroles – meat, vegetables, and carbohydrates all in one dish. But when you really take a look, you realize as you’re cooking that casseroles are truly NOT a one dish meal. You have a pot to cook the noodles, a strainer to drain them, a pan to brown the meat, a pot to heat the cream base and combine everything in, and a baking dish to bake it in. That doesn’t seem like one dish; it seems more like five.
Then I realized there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t make casseroles a one dish meal by making them in your crock pot. Yet, to be fair, it’s not one dish. You do have to brown the meat before adding it to your crock pot, so you use two dishes. Still, two is better than five when it comes to dishwashing.
Following is a recipe reference – merely suggestions in how to put together a crock pot casserole. Add or delete meats, vegetables, experiment with seasonings, and create your own quintessential one dish meal.
Crock Pot Casseroles
1 pound ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey)
1 can cream based soup
1 ½ cup water
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
16 oz frozen vegetables
8 oz cream cheese or sour cream
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp each season salt and dry mustard
4-5 cups noodles (any strong kind such as penne, ziti, egg noodles, macaroni)
Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Brown meat and drain. If using cream cheese, melt with meat over medium heat. Transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients except noodles, mix well. Layer noodles on top. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours, until noodles are tender.
1)Depending on the noodle, you may need to mix throughout cooking time. If this is not possible, layer the noodles between the meat mixture.
2)If you are using sour cream, add during the last 30-45 minutes of cooking.
3)Get brave, experiment and enjoy your creation!
Natalie is a work at home mom who loves crock pot cooking and quick and easy recipes in general. To view her crock pot recipes visit http://www.natalies-recipes.com , which also includes a variety of helpful hints, cooking tips, quick and easy recipes, great products, and a fun and informative newsletter.