Crave: 3 workhorse casseroles for your usual dinnertime rotation

photo by: Fotolia via Mother Earth News

Hungarian goulash is a warming dish that is cooked low and slow for maximum flavor.

Casseroles have been a supper staple for many years because they’re so versatile and simple to prepare. They’re even easier when you make them in a slow cooker, and by serving a side salad or vegetable and a roll or a slice of bread, you have a complete meal in no time.

Hungarian Goulash

Yields 8 servings.


1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 pound beef sirloin, cubed

2 medium onions, sliced or minced

1⁄4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 1⁄4 teaspoons paprika

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3⁄4 teaspoon cider vinegar

1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup

1 1⁄2 cups water, divided

3 tablespoons flour

6 ounces egg noodles, uncooked


1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add beef and onions, and cook until browned; drain off fat. Transfer to a slow cooker.

2. In a small bowl, combine mustard, paprika, brown sugar, salt, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar and ketchup. Add to slow cooker with 1 cup water, and stir to combine.

3. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours.

4. After allotted cooking time, blend flour with remaining water in a small bowl, and stir into slow cooker until mixture thickens. Continue cooking, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well.

6. Place noodles in individual serving bowls, and top with beef mixture.

Cowboy Casserole

Yields 6 servings.


1 1⁄2 pounds lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

6 medium potatoes, sliced, optional

2 carrots, peeled and sliced, optional

1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons flour

1 pint chopped stewed tomatoes, or

1 can (15 ounces), undrained

Salt and pepper, to taste

Minced garlic, to taste


1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef and onion; drain off fat.

2. Place beef mixture in a slow cooker. Top with layers of potatoes and carrots, if using. Cover with beans.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour and tomatoes, and mix well. Add to slow cooker, and season with salt, pepper and garlic. Stir well.

4. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.

Slow-Cooker Spaghetti

Yields 6 servings.


1 pound ground beef

1⁄4 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄2 pint tomato sauce, or 1 can (8 ounces)

3 cups tomato juice

1 1⁄2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, optional

1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms, optional

4 ounces spaghetti, uncooked, broken in half

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef and onion, breaking beef into crumbles as it cooks. Drain off fat.

2. Place beef mixture, salt, garlic powder, and tomato sauce and juice in a slow cooker. Stir in Italian seasoning and mushrooms, if using.

3. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.

4. Stir in spaghetti. Cover and cook on high for an additional 1 hour, or until pasta is tender.

5. Serve hot, topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

— Recipes from Capper’s Farmer archives


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