For Christmas, my mom got me a Ninja 3-in-1 slow cooker. This is no ordinary slow cooker, it has stove top, oven, steam and slow cooker options. Not to mention this appliance has an automatic warming function, which means I can be away for the day without something overcooking. I can set a dish for 5 hours, and then it turns to warm. This really helps me, because modern slow cookers don’t cook very slowly, and I find being gone all day doesn’t work for many recipes.
One of the best features for me with the Ninja, is the ability to brown the meat with the stovetop function. I no longer have to brown meat in a pan, leaving the brown bits behind and another dish to wash. Browning meat in the slow cooker gives a wonderful depth of flavor.
I made a delicious pepper steak in the slow cooker yesterday, browning the meat right in the pot. In the picture you can see a jar of dried tomatoes.
Chances are, you don’t have dried tomatoes, so you can use a can of stewed tomatoes instead. I added extra broth, a little tomato powder, and dried tomatoes instead. I made the tomato products this summer when a 26 pound box was $10. You should really try and dehydrate tomatoes this summer – – it saves money, and is good emergency food.
The vacuum sealed green peppers pictured are also from this summer. You will notice the recipe calls for you to add the peppers the last two hours. Peppers cooked in the slow cooker all day will break down to almost nothing. For pepper steak, you want your peppers soft to the bite, but still intact. This is a delicious slow cooker meal. After my daughter was done eating last night she said, “I call leftovers for lunch!”
Slow Cooker Pepper Steak
2 1/2 pounds of top sirloin, or top round steak cut into bite-sized cubes
2 small, or one large clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh, minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil and cooking spray
1/4 cup beef broth (or 1 cup beef broth if using dehydrated tomatoes)
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 can of stewed tomatoes (or 1 cup of dehydrated tomato slices and a tablespoon of tomato powder)
1 or two cans of water chestnuts
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 green or colored bell peppers chunked, or to taste
Coat pan with cooking spray and add sesame oil, and heat. When the pan is hot, add beef and sprinkle with salt. Add garlic and ginger. Cook just until meat is browned, but not cooked through. If not browning in your slow cooker, add meat mixture from pan to slow cooker. Add stewed tomatoes or the dehydrated tomatoes and tomato powder. Add cornstarch to beef broth and mix. Add to pot along with onion, soy sauce, sugar, and water chestnuts. Stir, and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours. Add peppers and cook another two hours or until beef if tender, but not falling apart. Please adjust when you add the peppers according to how large your peppers are cut. Serve with rice.