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Tue, March 19

Warm, filling meals take the edge off cold

Our cool temperatures still have us looking for warming and filling meals. The response to slow cookers has been so good, here are a couple more, plus a hearty casserole and easy stove-top pasta dinner. Add a salad, vegetable, fruit and/or bread of your choice you have a satisfying meal.


1 lb. lean ground beef

1 small onion,


1 can (15 oz.) ranch



1 can (14 1/2 oz.)


tomatoes, undrained

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. Worcestershire



1/2 cup each all purpose

flour and cornmeal

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1 tbsp. canola oil

In large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add beans, tomatoes, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Transfer to 11 x 7 baking dish coated with cooking spray. For topping, in small bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine egg, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Spoon over filling; gently spread to cover top.

Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 14-18 minutes or until filling is bubbly and a toothpick inserted into topping comes out clean Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Serves six.

NOTE: If you are really in a hurry, you could probably use a cornbread mix, but unless using a larger package you may get a thinner crust or use two (Experiment if this is your preferred method to save time). Some mixes serve six so one should work.


This is budget-friendly, healthy and liked by children, so that sounds like a family winner!

3 cups uncooked spiral pasta

1 egg, beaten

2 cups (16 oz) 2%

cottage cheese

1 1/2 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese 1 pkg.

(10 oz.) chopped frozen

spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cups (4 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1 tsp. each dried parsley

flakes, oregano and basil

1 jar (14 oz.) meatless

spaghetti sauce

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile in large bowl, combine egg, cottage cheese, ricotta, spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella and herbs.

Drain pasta. Place half of sauce in large skillet; layer with pasta and remaining sauce. Top with cheese mixture.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until thermometer reads 160. Sprinkle with Parmesan and remaining mozzarella; cover and cook 5 minutes

Longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Six servings.


(Slow cooker meal)

This versatile and can be served over rice, noodles or inside hard rolls for sandwiches.

1 tsp. each salt, ground mustard, barbecue seasoning, paprika and chili


1/2 tsp. pepper

1 boneless beef chuck

roast (about 3 pounds)

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, halved and sliced

1 large sweet

red pepper, sliced


1 can (8oz.) tomato


1/3 cup packed brown


3 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. each

Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce

5 garlic cloves, minced

4 tsp. balsamic


3/4 tsp. salt

Cooked rice or noodles.

Combine first six ingredients. Cut roast in half; rub with above seasonings. In large skillet, brown beef in oil on all sides. Transfer to 4-5 qt. slow cooker. Top with onion and red pepper.

In small bowl, combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, honey, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, vinegar and salt; pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours until meat is tender. Remove roast; cool slightly. Strain cooking juices, reserving vegetables and 1 1/4 cups juices; skim fat from reserved juices. Shred beef with two forks and return to slow cooker. Stir in reserved vegetables and cooking juices; heat through. Serve over noodles or rice. Serves six.


The long slow oven cooking has always been the method of choice to develop the rich taste, but here the slow cooker does it for you. With 10 servings it is perfect for a crowd or side dish for potlucks.

1 lb. dried navy beans

6 cups water, divided

1/4 lb. diced salt pork

or 6 bacon strips,

cooked and crumbled

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup each packed

brown sugar and molasses

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. each ground

mustard and salt

1/2 tsp. each

ground cloves

and black pepper

Sort beans and rinse in cold water. Place beans in 3-4 qt. slow cooker; add 4 cups water. Cover and let stand overnight (no heat).

Drain and rinse beans next morning. Discard liquid. Return beans to slow cooker; add meat.

In small bowl, combine onion, brown sugar, molasses, sugar, mustard, salt, cloves, pepper and remaining water. Pour mixture over beans; stir to combine. Cover and cook on low heat for 10-12 hours or until beans are tender.


Who doesn't like ribs? These taste like a smoky summer barbecue - but you don't have to wait for warm weather! Serves 4.

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

3 tbsp. Liquid Smoke,


4 lbs. pork spareribs,

cut into serving size pieces

1 medium onion, sliced

1/2 cup cola

1 1/2 cup barbecue sauce

In small bowl, combine the brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper and Liquid Smoke if using; rub over ribs.

Layer ribs and onion in greased 5-6 qt. slow cooker; pour cola over ribs. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours or until ribs are tender. Drain liquid. Pour sauce over ribs and cook 1 hour longer.

SLOW COOKER HINTS: Spraying with cooking spray before the long cooking speeds up cleanup with less sticking.

Trimming fatty cuts of meat as much as possible before cooking reduces greasy gravy.


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