(Family Features) Slow cookers are a simple, no-nonsense solution to making delicious meals for a family on the go. With minimal prep time, you can walk away and let the slow cooker work its magic – welcoming you home to an aromatic, ready-to-serve dinner. Here are some tips for slow cooker success:
- Brown your meat before you heat. The extra few minutes you take to do so will greatly enhance the flavor of your meal. If you dredge your meat in a little flour before browning, you’ll also get a thicker sauce. While some foods will brown during the cooking process, they won’t have the same color and flavor they get when browned first on the stovetop. If you can find the time for this step, the results are worth it.
- Prioritize your ingredients. Hardy, fresh vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or turnips for example, cook more slowly than meat. To avoid undercooking these types of veggies, place them on the bottom or sides and the meat on top. Add tender veggies (peas) and strongly flavored veggies like broccoli, cauliflower or onions in the last 15 to 60 minutes. Dairy products like sour cream, milk or yogurt, tend to break down in the slow cooker. To prevent this, add them during the last 15 to 30 minutes of cooking. However, prepared items such as the Bob Evans’ Refrigerated Mashed Potatoes in this recipe can be added at the beginning. Stir in spices for the last hour of cooking. They will lose flavor if cooked with the rest of the ingredients for the duration.
- Resist the urge to stir. Each time you lift the lid to do so, heat escapes, extending the needed cooking time by up to half an hour. Some recipes do instruct you to stir halfway through the cooking process or toward the end, but otherwise it's best to leave the lid closed. To check progress without lifting the lid, spin the cover until the condensation falls off. Then it's easy to see inside.
Here’s a deliciously simple slow cooker recipe from Bob Evans Food Products that your whole family will love:
Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 to 6 hours
Makes 6 servings
- 1 pound Bob Evans Original Recipe Sausage Roll
- 1 24 ounce package Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- 1 12 ounce jar beef gravy
- In medium skillet over medium heat, crumble and cook sausage until brown. Place in slow cooker. Add peas and carrots. Top with mashed potatoes. Pour gravy on top of potatoes. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours.
For more family-friendly slow cooker recipes, visit www.bobevans.com.
- 1 pound Bob Evans Original roll sausage
- 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
- 1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chiles
- 1 package (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning mix
- 1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
- 1 jar (11 ounces) salsa
- 1 can (6 ounces) sliced black olives
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Tortilla chips
- In large skillet over medium heat, crumble and cook sausage until browned. Stir in beans, chilies and taco seasoning mix.
- Spread sausage mix into 7 x 11-inch serving dish. Top with sour cream, then salsa. Sprinkle olives, tomato and onion on top. Cover with cheese.
- Serve immediately with chips. Refrigerate leftovers.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Whether you're hosting a watch party, or headed to a tailgate, having the right foods for the big game is crucial. Use these appetizer, side dish and dessert ideas to kick game time up a notch and try this recipe for a delicious dip that will be the hit of the season.
(Family Features) You’ve probably heard the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Or perhaps you’ve said it yourself. The reality is – while a lot of people say that eating breakfast is important, not very many are actually doing it.
In fact, 93 percent of Americans agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but less than half (44 percent) are eating it every day, according to the 2009 International Food Information Council Foundation’s Food & Health Survey.
If the morning rush in your house means grabbing a toaster pastry, a fast food meal, or – even worse – skipping breakfast, take heart. It’s easier than you think to refuel the body, energize the mind and have some family time around the breakfast table. Here are a few tips to get your family back on track:
- Make a Plan. Get everyone involved in planning breakfasts for the week. The more they participate, the more likely they are to eat it. Keep the plan posted where everyone can see it.
- Keep a breakfast-friendly kitchen. Make sure you always have a ready supply of milk, yogurt, whole grain breads and cereals, fruits, and plenty of proteins such as eggs and sausage. Store them where everyone can find them easily in the morning.
- Get prepped. Set out dishes and non-perishables on the table the night before. Some heartier breakfasts, such as the Weekend Brunch Casserole, can be prepped the night before, then heated up in just 15 minutes in the morning.
To get more ideas for a better breakfast, visit www.bobevans.com.
- 1 8-ounce can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- 1 pound Bob Evans Original Recipe Sausage Roll
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 °F. Crumble and cook sausage in medium skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain.
- Line bottom of greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish with crescent roll dough, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Sprinkle with sausage and cheese.
- Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl until blended; pour over sausage.
- Bake 15 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into squares; serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers.