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      Center Stage: Slow Cooking for a Cause with Cook the Story

      Center Stage: Searing Grill Vegetable Salad and BBQ Ranch Dressing with Cook the Story, @hamiltonbeach

      Center Stage: Searing Grill Vegetable Salad and BBQ Ranch Dressing with Cook the Story, @hamiltonbeach

      Did you know that 46 million people in the US deal with hunger issues? This is why I've teamed up with over 30 fellow food bloggers to publish a cookbook where all proceeds go to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.


      Where Slow Food And Whole Food Meet: Healthy Slow Cooker Dinners From Our Kitchens To Yours is full of delicious slow cooker recipes that use healthy whole ingredients and most of the recipes cost less than $3.00 per serving to make.

      Here's the picture of one of my contributions to the book: Tex-Mex Scalloped Potato and Carrot Dinner. Sounds yummy, right? You can get this recipe below.


      There are so many tasty recipes in this book like Autumn Apple Chicken Sandwiches and Pumpkin, Chicken and Spinach Tortellini Soup. There’s a Chicken Burrito Bowl, Balsamic Orange Roast Beef, Chinese Beef and Broccoli, and Creamy Buffalo Chicken. And let’s not forget about Whole Tuscan Chicken and Sweet and Spicy Carnitas. The list goes on and on with enough healthy, easy slow cooker recipes to last you a month.

      If you head over to my blog, I'm giving away a Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid with a copy of our cookbook. Enter to win the slow cooker and be sure to use the entry options that get the word out about this great cause.


      Tex-Mex Scalloped Potato and Carrot Dinner

      Yield: Serves 6
      Author: Christine Pittman of Cook the Story


      • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
      • 1 and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, divided
      • 1 (28 ounce) can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
      • 1 (28 ounce) can low-sodium diced tomatoes
      • 1 (15 ounce) can low-sodium black beans
      • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
      • 1 tablespoon chili powder
      • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
      • 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
      • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, cut in 1⁄4 inch slices
      • 1 (16 ounce) bag crinkle-cut carrot chips
      • 12 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
      • 2 spring onions, chopped


      1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through, 4-6 minutes. Drain off any fat or juices. Transfer beef to a large bowl along with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, black beans, bell pepper, chilli powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Stir well. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
      2. Measure 1 cup of the beef and sauce mixture into a 6 quart slow cooker. Put one quarter of the potatoes in a single over-lapping scalloped layer over the sauce. Add a carrot chip in between each slice of potato. Top with 2 cups beef sauce and then 1⁄2 cup of cheese.
      3. Add a second layer of potatoes and carrots, 2 cups more sauce and 3⁄4 cup of cheese. Repeat until you have 4 layers of potatoes total, finishing off by using all remaining sauce and cheese in the final layer.
      4. Cook in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. Open lid and spoon off any liquid that has risen to the top and discard it (this top liquid contains excessive grease from the cheese and meat). Let sit with the lid open for 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to serve. Top servings with the spring onions.


      I love to give scalloped potatoes a twist by adding other ingredients. One time I went with Tex-Mex flavors like chili powder, tomatoes, corn and cheddar. My family liked it so much that I decided to turn it into a complete dinner by adding ground beef for protein and carrots for a larger healthy vegetable portion.

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