Slow Cooker Hobo Casserole

In the realm of comfort food, few dishes can rival the humble yet satisfying Hobo Casserole. This hearty meal, steeped in tradition, is a throwback to simpler times when hearty, nourishing meals were crafted from whatever ingredients were on hand. The Slow Cooker Hobo Casserole is a modern twist on this classic, bringing the convenience of slow cooking to an already straightforward recipe. Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends, this casserole requires minimal effort but delivers maximum flavor. Imagine coming home to the delicious aroma of a fully cooked meal, ready to be served up and enjoyed by the whole family.

Ingredients:

For the Casserole:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.5 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green beans

For the Topping:

  • 1 cup crushed buttery crackers (such as Ritz)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

Prepare the Ingredients:

  1. Brown the Ground Beef:
    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef until it’s no longer pink, breaking it apart as it cooks. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Drain off any excess fat.
  2. Sauté the Vegetables:
    Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet with the ground beef. Sauté for another 3-4 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant. This step builds a robust flavor base for the casserole.

Assemble the Casserole:

  1. Mix the Sauces:
    In a large mixing bowl, combine the condensed cream of mushroom soup, condensed cream of chicken soup, and milk. Stir until well-blended. This creamy mixture forms the base sauce for the casserole.
  2. Add the Seasonings:
    Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper. Mix until the cheese is evenly distributed and the seasonings are well-incorporated.
  3. Layer the Ingredients:
    In a slow cooker, layer half of the sliced potatoes on the bottom. Follow with half of the ground beef mixture, half of the sliced carrots, and half of the frozen green beans. Pour half of the creamy sauce mixture over the layers. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, ground beef mixture, carrots, green beans, and sauce. Ensure the final layer is the sauce, spreading it evenly to cover all the ingredients.
  4. Cook the Casserole:
    Cover the slow cooker with its lid and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld beautifully and results in a perfectly cooked dish.

Prepare the Topping:

  1. Crush the Crackers:
    While the casserole is cooking, prepare the topping by crushing the buttery crackers into fine crumbs. You can do this by placing them in a resealable plastic bag and crushing them with a rolling pin, or by pulsing them in a food processor.
  2. Mix the Topping:
    In a small bowl, combine the crushed crackers with the melted butter and shredded cheddar cheese. Mix until the crackers are well-coated and the cheese is evenly distributed.

Finish and Serve:

  1. Add the Topping:
    About 30 minutes before serving, sprinkle the cracker topping evenly over the casserole in the slow cooker. Replace the lid and continue cooking for the remaining time. This will allow the topping to become golden and crisp.
  2. Serve the Casserole:
    Once the cooking time is complete, check the casserole to ensure all the vegetables are tender and the topping is crispy. Serve the Slow Cooker Hobo Casserole hot, directly from the slow cooker. Scoop generous portions onto plates and enjoy the comforting, hearty flavors.

Conclusion

The Slow Cooker Hobo Casserole is a testament to the power of simple ingredients coming together to create something truly delicious. It’s a dish that warms the heart and fills the belly, making it perfect for family dinners or gatherings with friends. The convenience of the slow cooker means you can set it and forget it, coming home to a meal that’s ready to serve. Each bite of this casserole is a delightful mix of creamy sauce, tender vegetables, and savory ground beef, topped with a crunchy, cheesy crust. It’s comfort food at its finest, bringing back memories of home-cooked meals and shared family moments. Enjoy this classic dish and the joy it brings to your table.

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