#52NewEats :: Week 17 :: Crockpot Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

Crockpot Sausage Peppers and Onions

Who doesn’t like sausage, peppers, and onions?  It’s one of my favorite Italian dishes.  I was recently at a work teambuilding event and they had a catered lunch for us.  I have been following an 80/20 grain-free rule over the past couple of months and all I could eat at this catered lunch was sausage, peppers, and onions!  Everything else was grain- or pasta-based!  So I just filled up a plate with some sausages and the peppers and onions and ate with a knife and fork (instead of on a roll) and it was actually VERY delicious.  Everything appeared to have been simmered in a tasty tomato-based broth or sauce.  There were chunks of tomato in it, and it was seasoned very well with all your typical Italian flavorings.

It kicked off the wheels in my head and off I went to Pinterest looking for a similar dish, thinking maybe I could find something that could cook in the slow cooker all day and be ready for us when we got home.  And that’s exactly what I found in this recipe!  It’s exactly what I wanted.  I ate it that night without a roll, but I did top it with some provolone cheese and stick it under the broiler to melt for a bit (as pictured above).  It was just as satisfying as if I’d eaten it on a roll!

We used a mix of mild Italian sausages and hot Italian sausages, and found that we preferred the hot sausages.  Why?  Even though we browned the sausage links in a pan before slow cooking them, they still softened up enough that they didn’t have much of a ‘bite’ to them when you bit into them.  We found we didn’t miss that ‘bite’ as much with the hot Italian sausages, because the spice made up for it.  But it’s also something that maybe could be fixed by letting them brown a little longer in the pan before slow cooking them.

Either way, I was really happy with this recipe and will definitely make it again!!  You can find the original recipe //here//.

Crockpot Sausage, Peppers, and Onions
Serves 4-6

2 Tbsp oil
2 lbs sweet and/or hot Italian sausage links
2 bell peppers, sliced
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can tomato sauce
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Hoagie buns
Provolone cheese slices

1. Add oil to a large skillet over high heat. Brown the sausages well on all sides. Remove the sausages to the slow cooker. Add the bell peppers and onions to the same skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, getting them a little bit brown as well. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic to the veggie mixture for the last minute.

2. Add all remaining ingredients, except hoagie buns and provolone cheese, to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on LOW for 5 hours.

3. When you are ready to serve, toast your hoagie buns on both sides, then add the cheese to the inside of the buns and place back in the oven to broil until the cheese is melted. Add the Italian Sausage & peppers & onions to each hoagie roll. Serve with some of the tomato sauce on the side for dipping.

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Sliders

Last summer sometime, I hosted a Slutfest at my house with our friends Geoff and Becky.  Normally Slutfest is just the four of us getting together and pigging out but on this occasion we also invited our friends Jackie and Brandon.

One of Jackie’s contributions to the party was some kind of cheesesteak or cheeseburger slider dish – she had seen a recipe or video on Facebook, and it was basically 12 slider buns split apart, bottom halves placed into a baking dish, covered with meat and cheese, topped with the top halves, and baked.  Then you take them out of the oven and it’s meaty and cheesy and melty and slutty and delicious.  They were SO GOOD.  My mind got to turning about how many different ways I could take this method and make something delicious out of it.  And so, the sausage, pepper, and onion sliders were born!

I actually tried this recipe out for the first time on Jackie and Brandon when they came to our house for New Year’s Eve a few weeks ago.  These sliders were a hit!  I don’t think you can beat the smell of Italian sausages cooking with peppers and onions…. it’s one of my favorite smells.  In fact, I love this sausage-pepper-onion mixture so much I am thinking about repurposing it in other recipes… maybe on pizza, or inside stromboli.  YUM!

These sliders are so easy and will feed a lot of people at once.  They would be perfect for a Super Bowl party or any other kind of gathering you may be hosting!

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Sliders
Serves 6

Nonstick cooking spray
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 links mild Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 link hot Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 8oz can tomato sauce
12 slices provolone cheese
12 slider buns, split in half

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the chopped green bell pepper and saute until crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Add diced yellow onion and saute until translucent. Remove the peppers and onions from the skillet to a bowl and set aside.

3. Return the skillet to medium heat. Spray the skillet again with nonstick cooking spray, and add the Italian sausage links. Break up the sausage into crumbles with a spatula. Cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes or so. Add the peppers and onions back to the skillet with the crumbled sausage. Pour in the tomato sauce. Stir together, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. You want some of the water to cook out of the tomato sauce so that it thickens nicely. The sausage, pepper, and onion mixture should be saucy and coated nicely with the tomato sauce, not runny and watery.

4. While the sausage mixture is simmering, place the bottom halves of the slider buns into the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish. You may need to squish them in there a little bit, this is okay. Press them down slightly so that they stay in place. Cover with 6 slices of provolone cheese, overlapping if necessary. When the sausage mixture is done, pour it on top of the provolone cheese. Top with the other 6 slices of provolone cheese, and finally the top halves of the slider buns. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!