Fall Slow Cooker Favorites

Becky Church | November 11, 2019

Fall is in the air. Or should we say winter?! It happens so fast in Minnesota! (...*as I'm sitting here at my desk trying to thaw out with my coat still on). 

We are sharing some of our staff favorite slow cooker recipes this month that are low stress, low prep, and good for all tastes! Be sure to tune into "Minnesota Beef" on Facebook, where we will be dropping a total of FOUR recipe videos in the coming month!

Spaghetti Casserole Exceptional

I'm kicking things off with a Crockpot Spaghetti Casserole -

This recipe has a special spot in my heart. It's one that always makes an appearance at state fair and Minnesota Beef Expo, which happen to be events that bring together my family and friends. It's a stress-free recipe with minimal ingredients that's perfect to bring with you on-the-go!

Signs that this recipe is a keeper:

1) It originally came from my grandma, and she was a STAR in the kitchen. I don't know how everything tasted better when she made it, but something about a little extra love most likely had something to do with it.

2) It was also published in her church cookbook - the archangel of all cookbooks! With an official title of "Spaghetti Casserole Exceptional," need I say more?!

Give it a try for yourself. It's easy to pre-cook the ingredients (most of which you probably have on hand), and then heat up in the crockpot. It's perfect for on-the-go meals for harvest, tailgates, livestock shows, busy weeknights or lazy Sundays in. Are you tailgating for our Gophers? BRING THIS. And then watch your friends flood in.

"Keep it cheesy and keep it saucy!" 

  • 1 (7 oz.) package of spaghetti noodles
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 1 small package pepperoni 
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar canned tomatoes, stewed 
  • ¾ cup tomato paste 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons each: salt, oregano leaves and basil leaves 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper 
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • ½ cup sliced green olives 
  • 2 cups shredded cheese 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. In heavy skillet, brown ground beef; drain. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Combine spaghetti, butter, olives and onions; toss to melt butter. In a 2-quart round casserole, layer ½ of spaghetti mixture, then meat mixture and pepperoni; repeat layers. Sprinkle each layer with extra cheese. Bake, uncovered, near center of 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bubbling around the edges.   


Next up is Karin, with her Asian Sweet and Spicy Ribs. Karin says she loves this recipe because “It is easy and my family loves it!” 

The boneless country style ribs are so tender and flavorful – what’s not to like about that?! 

Karin says it “puts a zippy spin on the classic midwestern cuisine.” 

“Zippy”...is that so, Karin? Well then, I think that twists the rest of our arms to give this recipe a whirl! Here it is:

  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds beef Country Style Ribs 
  • 1 cup mirin 
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili garlic sauce 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey 
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce 
  • Hot cooked rice (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine mirin, sweet chili garlic sauce, water, agave nectar, brown sugar and ginger in stockpot over medium heat stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Place beef ribs in stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly. Continue cooking in 325°F oven 1-3/4 to 2 hours or until beef is fork-tender. Remove beef; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half. Stir in lime juice and soy sauce. Return beef to cooking liquid; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. 

*Cook's Tip: Mirin is a low-alcohol, sweet wine made from glutinous rice and is essential in Japanese cooking.  It's available in Japanese markets and the ethnic section of most supermarkets. Serve ribs with rice and remaining sauce, if desired. 

*Cook's Tip: Sweet chili garlic sauce, an Asian condiment made from red chilies, garlic and vinegar, imparts a tangy, spicy heat to dishes. Chili garlic sauce is available in Asian markets and the Asian section of most supermarkets.

Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Ginger Mango Barbeque Sauce

This week, we are coming in with Katie’s go-to rib recipe - Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Ginger Mango Barbeque Sauce. With a mouthful-of-a-name like that, it’s got to be good! 

Katie says, “My husband loves ribs, and I was so intimidated to make them for him until I found an easy recipe using the slow-cooker. This dump-and-go recipe creates tender short ribs every time with a tangy, sweet flavor! Pull out your slow-cooker and give these short ribs a try. You won’t be disappointed!”   

I’m sold. BRB - got to go get out my slow cooker.

  • 2 pounds beef Country Style Ribs 
  • 1 - 1/2 cups diced fresh or drained jarred mango
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 
  • 1 cup hickory-flavored barbeque sauce

Place beef Short Ribs, mango, onion and ginger in 3-1/2 to 5-1/2-quart slow cooker. Add barbecue sauce. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 to 6 hours or LOW 7-1/2 to 8-1/2 hours or until beef is fork-tender. (No stirring is necessary during cooking.)Remove short ribs, season with salt and pepper, as desired. Skim fat from cooking liquid; serve over short ribs.

Cincinatti Crockpot chili

Royalee is on the blog today with her Cincinatti Crockpot Chili. 

She says, "My friend Kim, who grew up in Cincinnati, first introduced me to it. So now every time I make it, it reminds me of my friend Kim and our friendship."

Royalee also surprised us with some special hidden ingredients - "it has cinnamon and cocoa powder in it, which gives it such a great flavor!"

This recipe serves as a good base foundation that you can add cheese, red onions or beans to. "It depends on the things you like. Chili can be so versatile.  You can have it as plain chili, put it on spaghetti or put it on a baked or sweet potato, making it a great staple to enjoy during a cool fall or a cold wintry days."

Give it a try!

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (more or less depending on how hot you like it)
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 14 oz cans of red kidney beans, drained
  • Serve with:1 box of spaghetti noodles, prepared

Brown ground beef and garlic together. Place in crockpot. Add in the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT for the bay leaves kidney beans spaghetti and toppings. Stir to combine and add in bay leaves. Cover slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4- 5 hours. One done cooking, removed bay leaves. Stir in red kidney beans and recover, cooking for 10 mins more. Serve over spaghetti noodles and top with cheese and red onions.

*Recipe courtesy of Family Fresh Meals