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This slow cooked creamy beef dinner only has four ingredients, but it packs a lot of flavor!
Italian Beef: Simple Yet Full Of Flavor
Last month, one of my local supermarkets had chuck roasts on sale for a ridiculously low price. Naturally, I had to buy several pieces to stock up and freeze.
As the weather has turned colder here after a long stretch of relatively mild weather, my thoughts turned more to comfort food rather that quickie meals. So I turned to my freezer stash of those chuck roasts!
To begin with, chuck is a very flavorful meat, so that’s the basis of the flavor in this recipe. It also lends itself to long, slow cooking whether that’s braising on the stove or in the oven, or in the crock pot.
Salad Dressing Mix Wears Many Hats
Using ranch dressing mix as a seasoning has become pretty standard, but have you ever thought of using other flavors of dry salad dressing mixes? My brother-in-law has done this for years, especially with Italian salad dressing mix. One of his most simple recipes is mixing an envelope of the Italian with a pound of ground beef for his grilled burgers. I’ve done it too with my 3-Ingredient Italian Chicken (which I may add was not my idea but another cook I came across on Pinterest). But now I wanted to try it as a flavoring for this slow cooker meal.
Soup It Up
Condensed soup is a common ingredient in many slow cooker recipes because it holds up to long cooking times. I find that if it’s dressed up with other flavors, it’s actually a wonderful base for creamy gravies. It’s often maligned, but it’s actually a useful ingredient to have at all times in your pantry. If you prefer to make your own, my friend Holly from Spend With Pennies has the best recipe I’ve found.
When it comes to canned cream soups, I will almost exclusively use the low-sodium variety. This is important especially if you are using commercial gravy or seasoning mixes which are pretty heavy-handed with salt. Therefore, I try to reduce the salt any way I can, whether that be using lower-sodium products or making my own. Remember, if it’s too bland for your taste, you can always add salt easily. However, it’s not quite so easy to remove it.
Originally, I was going to use cream of chicken–yes even with beef–but decided in the end to use cream of mushroom. I admit I found using cream of chicken enticing, therefore, next time I make this I will use it.
Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Beef
- 2-4 lb chuck roast cut in large chunks
- 2 cans 10.75 oz each cream of mushroom soup (low sodium preferred) see NOTES
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 envelopes dry Italian salad dressing mix
- 8 oz cream cheese cubed
- 2 tbs cream
- Thickening if desired:
- 3 tbs flour
- 1/4 cup water
- Place meat in a 5-7 quart slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, mix the soups and the salad dressing mix. Pour over the top of the meat. Add the mushrooms.
- Cover and cook on low 5 hours or 3 on high.
- Add the cream cheese and the cream, stir and cook for an additional 1-2 hours.
- Stir making sure the cream cheese is well blended
- If thickening is desired, turn cooker to high and mix the flour and water so there are no lumps. Stir into the meat and sauce in the crock pot. Cook for 15-30 additional minutes until flour is cooked.
- TIMES ARE APPROXIMATE SINCE ALL COOKERS COOK DIFFERENTLY. THESE WERE MY TIMES--YOURS MAY REQUIRE MORE OR EVEN LESS