Originally created 03/05/03

Slow cooker makes Italian-style roast with minimal fuss



I can get in a rut with my slow cooker - using it only for stews and soups. So, this week and next, I'll share some other options for this super-convenient small kitchen appliance.

Several years ago I ran a recipe for French dip sandwiches that could be prepared in the slow cooker. This week's recipe is similar, but with a decidedly Italian flare.

A bottom round roast is seasoned with a package of Zesty Italian salad dressing mix, some Italian seasonings and paprika. It's placed in the crock of a slow cooker with a can of low-sodium beef broth, some pepperoncini peppers and some juice from the jar, and a small can of tomato sauce. The ingredients are covered, the slow cooker set on low and the mixture cooks all day.

When cooked all day, the beef is quite flavorful. Pepperoncini peppers are considered mild peppers, and they add just a subtle hint of spiciness.

However, judging spiciness is a completely individual issue - what is spicy to some might seem mild to others. Use the peppers, or omit them according to your family's preferences.

After a daylong stint in the slow cooker, the meat can be shredded easily with two forks, and then should be returned to the crock to absorb the cooking juices. Serve on hoagie rolls with some sliced provolone or mozzarella cheese. People watching their fat and calorie intake can substitute frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast halves for the beef round roast. Simply place them in the bottom of the slow cooker straight from the freezer, and then proceed with the recipe. Shred the chicken just as you would the beef before serving. Add chips and a salad, and you've got a great dinner that didn't require you to stand over the stove even for a few minutes!

ITALIAN BEEF SANDWICHES

1 3-pound bottom round roast

1 package Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing mix

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon paprika

1 14-ounce can low-sodium beef broth

5 mild pepperoncini peppers and 1/4 cup juice

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

8 6-inch hoagie rolls

8 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese

Season the roast with the salad dressing mix, Italian seasoning and paprika. Place in the crock of a slow cooker. Add the broth, pepperoncini peppers and juice and the tomato sauce. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, until meat shreds easily. Remove roast from slow cooker and shred. Return to slow cooker and heat through.

Serve on the hoagie rolls, topping with the sliced cheese.

Makes 8 sandwiches.

Nutritional information per serving: 602 calories, 47.8 grams protein, 37.8 grams carbohydrates, 2.5 gram fiber, 27.8 gram fat, 11.7 gram saturated fat, 120 milligrams cholesterol, 1080 milligrams sodium.

Nutrition analysis provided by Fran Frye, a licensed and registered dietitian of the Augusta District Dietetic Association. Send questions via e-mail to augustadietitian@yahoo.com.

COMING March 12: Orange-marmalade corned beef

See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).

NOTE TO READERS

It seems there are variances among the jars of red curry paste, which is the main flavoring in the Feb. 19 Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry recipe. While the paste in one jar may not produce much heat, several readers have reported that even one teaspoon from jars they purchased can be too much.

People who do not like spicy foods should begin by adding just one teaspoon of the curry paste, rather than the one to two tablespoons called for in the recipe. Keep adding more paste, one teaspoon at a time, until the desired spiciness is reached.

Write to Karin Calloway in care of The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903. Or send e-mail to karin.calloway@comcast.net. You can find previous Quick Cooking recipes through the online archive at augustachronicle.com/karin.