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Slow-cookers offer good option for tasty meals

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I have had lots of visitors lately, and I have had to plan menus that are easy to prepare and quick. One particular family member flew in from California late in the afternoon.  We had plans for 7:00 p.m. and they had not had anything to eat on the plane. Actually, they had been given a menu to choose from (they had to pay for their meal), but everything they chose, the flight attendant said they didn’t have. Consequently, they had nothing to eat. It pays to plan ahead.

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With the time constraints I knew we had, it was apparent I needed to have something ready to eat when we got home from the airport. The crock pot was the answer. I am not real thrilled preparing chicken in the crock pot because the chicken gets too dry when I cook chicken breasts in it. My cousin really likes beef, so I knew it would be between a pot roast and pepper steak.  Bob voted for pepper steak and rice. It needs to cook for at least six hours, so that would be perfect. It turned out to be a hit at our house that night.

I had included this recipe in my column a few years ago, so again I give you

 

Slow-Cooked Pepper Steak

2 pounds top round steak (1 inch thick), trimmed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use canola oil)

1 (141/2-ounce) can peeled tomato wedges, undrained (the Delmonte Fresh Cut Fancy Tomato Wedges are best).  You can find them at Krogers.

2 large green bell peppers. Cut into 1-inch wide strips

1 cup chopped onion

¼ cup soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon cornstarch

½ cup cold water

1 tablespoon sherry (you can use cooking sherry, but the other is best). 

Hot cooked noodles or rice

 

Cut steak into 3-inch pieces; brown in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Transfer to a 4-quart electric slow cooker.  Add tomatoes and pepper strips.

Combine onion, and next six ingredients; pour over mixture in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on High setting for about six to seven hours. Combine cornstarch, water and sherry, stirring until smooth.  Stir into mixture in slow cooker; cook, uncovered, on High 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Serve over noodles or rice.  Yield: 6 servings. 

I served this with a green salad and mandarin oranges and a dressing made of strawberry jam, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I used about a tablespoon of jam, then added the vinegar and oil to taste; whisk together until mixed well, add in salt and pepper to taste. It was a great contrast to the pepper steak. Dessert was coffee and brownies served at our bingo game. That was the important 7 p.m. date.

The meal was a big hit and finally, no one was hungry. Great people getting together, food and fun is the best. Simple pleasures, what more could you ask for today.

Enjoy!