Easy Recipes: Crockpot Mac and Cheese

I’m a fan of Lisa’s Cheddar Spirals for my crockpot mac and cheese needs, but I admit that I’m curious enough about the Easy Recipes: Crockpot Mac and Cheese from Crystal & Co. that I may give it a try. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a Mac and Cheese recipe with eggs before. I’m guessing it makes a custard-like sauce. Will have to check it out.

Hamburger Hash

This Betty Crocker recipe (original here) is described as an “Easy hamburger dish that’s made in slow cooker—perfect for a dinner.” Certainly worth a try. The Expert Tip with the recipes says, “This recipe is a tried-and-true kid pleaser. Take it to Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts or school events, and there’s little chance you’ll have leftovers.”

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato puree
  • 1 can (10¾ oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can (10½ oz) condensed French onion soup with beef stock
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 bag (28 oz) frozen O’Brien potatoes with onions and peppers, thawed
  • 4 medium carrots, diced (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Cook beef in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain.
  2. Mix tomato puree and mushroom soup in medium bowl.
  3. Stir in onion soup and water.
  4. Spray 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  5. Reserve 1 cup of the potatoes.
  6. Gently mix beef, remaining potatoes, carrots, salt and soup mixture in cooker.
  7. Sprinkle with reserved 1 cup potatoes.
  8. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  9. Hash will hold on low heat setting up to 2 hours.

Variations

  • NOTE: For tender potatoes, make sure to thaw them before adding to the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Barbecued Beans and Polish Sausage

Here’s a Betty Crocker recipe (original here) that is perfect for a chilly night, and since it’s a crockpot meal, you can serve it up as soon as you get home.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (15.5 oz each) Green Giant® great northern beans, drained, rinsed
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) Progresso® black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ring (1 to 1¼ lb) fully cooked smoked Polish sausage

Directions

  1. Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Mix all ingredients except sausage in cooker.
  3. Place sausage ring on bean mixture.
  4. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 5 to 6 hours.

Variations

  • To simplify serving, remove the sausage ring and slice into chunks then return to the crockpot to keep warm.
  • Substitute your favorite sausage. We like kielbasa.
  • Chunks of bacon would also be a nice addition to the crockpot.

Paula Deen’s Broccoli Casserole

Here’s another recipe I discovered during the Food Network Thanksgiving shows a few years ago. During the show where Paula makes this casserole, she says it’s not Thanksgiving unless it’s on the table (original here).

Ingredients

  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups crushed crackers
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, mayonnaise, cheese, soup and eggs.
  4. Mix well with a metal spoon.
  5. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish.
  6. Top with the crushed crackers and pour the melted butter evenly over the crackers.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.

Variations

  • We’ve also tried this recipe with Cream of Chicken & Mushroom soup and with Cheddar Cheese soup to vary the taste.
  • Add some chopped chicken or turkey for a main dish.

My Sausage Stuffing

After watching enough Thanksgiving specials on Food Network, I created my own recipe for sausage stuffing. It’s influenced by Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, and Bobby Flay.

Ingredients

  • Nonstick spray (Pam)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 1 pound maple sausage
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 to 4 slices whole grain bread, torn or cut into ½ -inch cubes or chunks
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or bouillon and water)

Directions

  1. Spray skillet with nonstick spray, and saute onion and celery.
  2. Add sausage, breaking apart, and cook until no longer pink.
  3. Drain any fat.
  4. Add poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Add torn bread to pan, and stir to combine.
  7. Allow to warm through and serve.

Variations

  • I prefer the rustic look of torn bread, so I simply tear the bread as I throw it into the pan.
  • To simplify the vegetable prep for the recipe, I often gather my onion, celery, and carrots from the grocery store’s salad bar.
  • Use the sausage of your choice. I like the sweet and savory taste of maple sausage in this dish, but I’ve also used sage sausage.

Three-Cheese Mashed Potato Casserole

Everyone here loves cheese, so this recipe from the April 2003 issue of Southern Living (original here) is going to be a sure-fire hit. The note with the recipe says, “The cheese in this mashed potato casserole is really what sets it apart from other casseroles. A blend of cheddar, muenster and cream cheese creates a dish of rich, gooey goodness.”

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Muenster cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  3. Beat potatoes and next 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
  4. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients.
  5. Spoon into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish.
  6. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Variations

  • Frozen mashed potatoes may be substituted for the cooked potatoes. Prepare frozen mashed potatoes according to package directions for 4 servings. Proceed with recipe as directed.
  • If you’re working ahead, casserole can be prepared and refrigerated. After spooning in baking dish, cover and chill 8 hours, if desired; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking.

Slow-Cooker Enchilada Casserole

I’m always intrigued by the stacked tortilla recipes that I see, but I often wonder how difficult they are to serve. This recipe from the July 2011 issue of All You (original here) is different from others that I’ve seen because the tortillas are toasted before going in the crockpot. I can’t wait to give it a try.

Ingredients

  • 9 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 15-oz. can can or jar enchilada sauce
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar

Directions

  1. Place an oven rack about 5 inches from broiler and preheat broiler to high.
  2. Toast tortillas under broiler, turning once, until lightly spotted, 2 to 3 minutes total. Set aside.
  3. Reserve 2 Tbsp. enchilada sauce.
  4. Combine beans and remaining sauce in a bowl.
  5. Mist slow-cooker insert with cooking spray.
  6. Place 3 tortillas in bottom, breaking one into pieces if necessary to cover bottom.
  7. Spread half of bean mixture over tortillas.
  8. Sprinkle with 1 cup corn and 1/2 cup cheese.
  9. Repeat with 3 more tortillas, remaining bean mixture, remaining corn and 1 cup cheese.
  10. Top with 3 remaining tortillas, reserved sauce and remaining 1 cup cheese.
  11. Cover and cook on low until cheese has melted and is beginning to crisp on edges, 2 to 3 hours.

Variations

  • I’m not sure the vegetarian meal would pass the Board of Inquiry at this house, so I will probably add some canned chicken or browned ground beef with the beans and sauce mixture.
  • I suspect that a Mexican blend of cheese would be a nice substitute for the Cheddar.

Ramen Beef Pie

I found this recipe in a Seattle newspaper article that was exploring recipes that used every college student’s favorite cheap food, ramen noodles. The article explains, “Now that work is over, you can finally go home and enjoy a nice, giant helping of ramen beef pie. It’s like Shepard’s Pie or Pâté Chinois, a dish they serve in Canada, only ramen style.” I’m not convinced it could ever beat a Shepard’s Pie, but I may try it out with a little variation. Some details were missing in the original, so I’ve made correction in my version below.

Ingredients

  • 2 pkg ramen noodles
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 1/2 c onion, chopped
  • vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook the ramen noodles, according to the package directions.
  3. In a separate skillet, saute the onions with vegetable oil until golden brown.
  4. Add the ground beef to the skillet, breaking it up and cooking until fully browned.
  5. Spray a casserole with nonstick spray.
  6. Layer the ground beef and onion in the bottom of the casserole dish.
  7. Spread sweet corn in a layer on top of ground beef mixture.
  8. Top with ramen noodles, spreading evenly to cover entire casserole.
  9. Bake in 350° oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and heated through.

Variations

  • Instead of corn alone, add any vegetables you like. Precook before adding them in a layer. I would probably use mixed vegetables or at least corn, peas, and carrots. Even the picture on the Seattle news website looked like it included peas.
  • I might try mixing a can of Cream of Mushroom or Beefy Mushroom soup into the ramen before topping the casserole.

Tuna in the Straw Casserole

From the Taste of Home website (original online), this casserole is quite similar to a recipe that mom has been making as long as I can remember. I’m always a little ashamed to admit how much I love its comfort-food goodness when one of the main ingredients is potato sticks. This variation from Taste of Home adds vegetables. Maybe I won’t have to be quite so ashamed of this version.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 can (5 ounces) albacore white tuna in water
  • 1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups potato sticks, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large bowl, combine soup and milk until blended.
  3. Stir in the tuna, mushrooms, vegetables and 1-1/2 cups potato sticks.
  4. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish.
  5. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with the remaining potatoes.
  7. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until bubbly and potatoes are crisp.

Variations

  • The name of this version of the casserole makes me wonder if a similar dish could be made with chunked turkey. Turkey in the Straw, anyone?

Time Required: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Slow Cooker Ham & Scalloped Potato Casserole

According to the recipe from Campbell’s (original online), “The slow cooker makes it easy to make this mouthwatering casserole, packed with potatoes, ham and a creamy Cheddar cheese sauce.”

Ingredients

  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 pound diced cooked ham (about 2 cups)
  • 4 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1 large onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) Campbell’s® Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  1. Spray the inside of a 5 to 6-quart slow cooker with the cooking spray.
  2. Layer the ham, potatoes and onion in the cooker.
  3. Stir the soup and milk in a small bowl.
  4. Pour the soup mixture over the potato mixture and sprinkle with the paprika.
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or until the potatoes are tender.

Variations

  • Time-Saving: Or you may cook the recipe on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.

Time Required: 7 hours

Servings: 8