New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Slow Cooker Puffy Pizza Casserole Recipe

Hello all over again! I've got my coffee, and am beginning to feel somewhat-human again. I've been wandering the living room in a complete daze trying to process the past few days.

Thank you so much to everyone who took time out of their busy lives to come see me at the Food and Wine Festival. I had so much fun putting faces to email addresses and blogger handles.
I love how enormously huge and scary and yet how small and friendly the Internet can be all at the same time.

You are all wonderful, thank you.

Who's ready for pizza? While I was doing my year-long slow cooking challenge, I got a few cheeky comments from people who were certain that my family was missing out on eating pizza because I was preparing a slow cooker meal everyday. Since we're gluten free, we don't actually eat all that much pizza anymore anyway, but the comments still got my brain buzzing, and I wondered if I COULD make pizza in a crockpot.

I can now say: yup.

It's not the same, but it's close enough to a deep-dish style pizza to satisfy any and all pizza cravings, and it comes right out of your crockpot.

Life is good.

The Ingredients.
serves 8


1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1.5) ounce packet of spaghetti mix (if using store-bought, look out for hidden gluten. I like the McCormick brand. You can also make your own using the recipe below)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water

for puffy topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour (I use Pamela's Baking Mix as my AP flour)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
20 pepperoni slices
1/2 cup sliced olives, optional

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Mix
yields 1 packet

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons green pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

The Directions.

Use a 4 quart slow cooker (if you only have a 6, that's okay, it will just cook faster. Check it after 3 hours on high.)

In a very large skillet, brown beef, onion, and garlic on the stove top. Drain fat, and add spaghetti sauce mix, oregano, tomato sauce, and water. Stir over low heat until tiny bubbles appear. Remove from heat and scoop into the slow cooker (you might want to spray it with cooking spray).

In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for your puffy topping: flour, milk, eggs, and cheese. Pour evenly over the top. Place pepperoni slices and olives on top of the topping.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or until the topping has turned golden brown, puffed up, and pulled away from the sides.
I have not tried to cook this yet on low. I'd check it after 6 hours (in a 4-quart, 4 hours in a 6-quart).
If you do opt to cook it on low, I'd love to hear your timing results!

The Verdict.

I was given this recipe from a good friend of mine (who is rather shy and doesn't want her name on the internet!), and was so eager to give it a try. She usually cooks it in the oven, but said that sometimes it puffs over the side of her baking dish, and makes a huge mess in the bottom of her oven.

I loved the way it worked in the crock. I didn't vent the lid at all---it puffs up beautifully and completely satisfied my family's cravings without needing to worry about gluten or tipping the delivery guy!

more pizza stuff:
pizza soup
pizza fondue

go read about PowerAde Play! there's a chance for you to win $125!

66 comments:

Tracy Williams said...

Do you think this would work without cheese? We're Dairy Free/Soy Free. :)

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Tracy,

sure! The "bread" part will cook and puff up just fine.

--steph

Kai said...

SO giving this a try!! I don't do meat, but I think I can use soy meat substitutes and get a similar result! I can't wait to try!

Melodie said...

Thanks so much for this! My husband is allergic to wheat (not celiac), and one of the things he misses most is pizza. I'm so excited to try it.

Lisa said...

This looks great! I'm going to have to try this one day. Thanks for the recipe!

Amy@TheCircusMcGurkus.blogspot.com said...

Can I just say that this blog just totally rocks? I have to eat gluten free and when my son was born last year I became enamored with my crock pot again. I am able to put great food that is safe for me to eat on the table without stressing at dinner time. I always recommend this site to people who are just starting the gluten free diet. Thank you for all the hours that you have put into this blog. It has saved dinner many a night at our house.

Friday is pizza night and I know what we're having!!!

badabingsavings! said...

Sounds delish! Do you think it would it taste good w/ 1/2 White and 1/2 Whole wheat flour? Or maybe soy flour? I am trying to eliminate as much white flour out of my diet as possible.
Thanks

Debbi Smith said...

Pizza in the crockpot. Now my life is complete. :-)

Katie Fries said...

This is great! I was just lamenting to a friend the other day how annoying it is that I can't just grab a takeout pizza anymore. This isn't exactly the same, but considerably less prep time than making gluten-free pizza the traditional way.

Annie said...

Wow! I'm gonna blow some minds with this one... thanks so much! Can't wait to try it.

Becky said...

Mmm....that looks delicious! I'll have to try this soon!

DessertForTwo said...

I had no idea you were gluten-free. I guess I never noticed because everything looks so delicious! This pizza, especially! :)

Erickashmerica said...

This looks really interesting. Do I not need to add baking powder or soda if I am using AF?

Brandee Fondren said...

Thanks a bunch, I can't wait to try this one out on the kids (even the BIG one!)

Kristin said...

Oh the possibilities with this!!!

I am making this Thursday! My husband's favorite pizza is taco so I might put taco seasoning into the meat instead of the spaghetti seasoning and just put the black olives on top. Serve with usual taco toppings, lettuce, tomato, avocado, taco sauce.

This is going to be FUN!

Granny's Daughter said...

What is the green pepper (in the photo) used for?

How do you serve this? With a spoon? Or can you "slice" it like a pizza?

Thanks.

Stephanie O'Dea said...

badabingsavings, I haven't used wheat flour for so long, I don't really remember how it handles. The original recipe called for AP, and I know that "back in the day" I substituted WW just fine, so I'd give it a go!

Erickashmerika, nope! no need to add baking soda. the AP has enough binder to puff up all on it's own.

Granny's Daughter, LOL, you're right, there's a green pepper in there! I didn't put it in on request of the kids, but if you like pepper (or mushrooms, or whatever) you most certainly can doctor your pizza up however you'd like.

xoxo steph

the country cook said...

That looks like so much fun! I love the concept of "puffy pizza" :-)
- www.delightfulcountrycookin.com

Just Breathe said...

Thank you, can't wait to try it!

Heather @CeliacFamily said...

Pizza...really? I am stilled amazed at all the meals you can prepare in a slow-cooker. Fabulous! I'll have to give it a try.

Lisa said...

I did not notice you were GF either and I've been following for a while.

How do you serve this? Do you dump it out upside down on a place or scoop it out the way it is?

Randall Lind said...

That is a different take on Crock Pot Pizza for sure

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Lisa,

I scooped it out with a serving spoon. I did try to cut it out in wedges, but it was too gooey. Maybe if I had let it sit longer it would have set enough to cut out, but we were too hungry to wait.

--steph

Tasty Eats At Home said...

What a cool idea. I'm definitely thinking of trying this - the kids would love it!

crockpt recipe said...

That dish looks amazing! Now this is something my son will be raving about. He love pizza and I love crocpot recipes. I think now, I've found something we can compromise with, lol! Thanks for sharing by the way.

Moon Cat said...

This looks great! I can't wait to try it this weekend!

k said...

Would this work using a commercially prepared pizza dough, like the rounds you can buy in the grocery? (There are WW ones available.)

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi K,
I don't know. The topping on this "pizza" is on top, I haven't tried to put a traditional crust into the slow cooker and then bake it with the toppings. If you have dough that you don't mind experimenting with, I'd encourage you to go for it!

Report back if you do--I'm intrigued!
xxoxo steph

Amie said...

that truly looks yummy!

Laurie Ann said...

Oh, I'll definately print this out and give it a try. But I don't understand why you would use spaghetti sauce for Pizza casserole? Doesn't it take away some of the pizza taste?

MPMommy said...

I'm trying this out tonight. Your picture looks so yummy! I gotta say tho, as I was putting it together, I wondered if it would work - would certainly be easier - to just use 2 cups of jarred spaghetti/pasta sauce? Sure, you could still brown the ground beef and onion, then just mix it with the sauce. At any rate, it smells yummy and I'm hoping for pretty results like yours. I had to use a cheddar/jack mixed shredded cheese tho. It was what I had and only olives on top. I'll report back our results! thanks again for all the yummy recipes!

Anonymous said...

If I want to use Jar sauce, how much should I use???? Thanks, Lyn

Sharon, The Queen Blogger said...

Yep, this is for me. I'll use the new 95% Fat free Gallo Salami I just found. I love it!

Connie said...

Oh, yum! This was so good! I actually baked mine in the oven (I only had an hour to get supper done) for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. I added the olives (and a can of sliced mushrooms) to the meat, and I just used a jar of spaghetti sauce (I intended to buy pizza sauce at the store today, but since I didn't make a list, I forgot). I did add a pinch of baking powder to the topping, and might add more like 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon next time, as my topping wasn't very puffy at all (though this may be due to living at a high altitude). But it was delicious, and my husband declared the recipe a keeper after one bite!

danita said...

my husband says he draws the line at pizza in the crockpot, but i am definitely going to try it!

Anonymous said...

nononoooo. I made this and forgot to put egg in the batter. No wonder it hasn't puffed.

-leese said...

My son saw my printout and immediatly tried the recipe on his own. Since he is the Celiac of the family, he won't let any of us taste it, but my whole house smells SO GOOD! It finished cooking in my 4 qt cooker with a browned top, but the sides did not pull away like it should (it kinda burned aroung the edge). It came out gooey under the top like yours did, but is it supposed to be? Or should I be on the lookout for a "fix" for he gooey-ness? Anyone got an idea? I am afraid to make another one and just burn the whole thing, trying to cook it longer.

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Leese--
if you think some of the moisture should cook away, you can take the lid off during the last 15-20 minutes or so. You can also leave the lid off and let it sit for a bit in the cooling crock to release steam.

I'm so glad your son liked it!

--steph

Kristin said...

Let me start by saying I make a lot of your recipe's and have your cookbook (LOVE IT!) I made this tonight and it was a complete disaster:( I was so excited. I made mine in a 6qt and started checking it at 3 hours, LOTS of juice, then a 4 hours still lots of juice with mush for what was suppose to be the crust, I could tell without taking the lid off. At five hours I took the lid to really check it and I had nothing but burnt meat, a layer of mush crust barely cooked at all. I double checked my recipe multiple times and know I did it right and didn't miss anything. Is there an ingredient missing for the crust to make it puff? My guess on the burnt meat is this should not be made in a 6 qt it spreads it too thin and cooks too fast. Unfortunately this was not edible at all and down the garbage disposal it went. OH PLEASE HELP, I want this recipe to work! Do you think it was just the 6 qt issue?

Kristin said...

Let me start by saying I make a lot of your recipe's and have your cookbook (LOVE IT!) I made this tonight and it was a complete disaster:( I was so excited. I made mine in a 6qt and started checking it at 3 hours, LOTS of juice, then a 4 hours still lots of juice with mush for what was suppose to be the crust, I could tell without taking the lid off. At five hours I took the lid to really check it and I had nothing but burnt meat, a layer of mush crust barely cooked at all. I double checked my recipe multiple times and know I did it right and didn't miss anything. Is there an ingredient missing for the crust to make it puff? My guess on the burnt meat is this should not be made in a 6 qt it spreads it too thin and cooks too fast. Unfortunately this was not edible at all and down the garbage disposal it went. OH PLEASE HELP, I want this recipe to work! Do you think it was just the 6 qt issue?

Diane said...

I made this last night in a 6QT crockpot and it came out fabulous! I also did it on low and it was ready in about 4 hours. No burning, no extra juices. It was kind of like the bread took over the ground turkey (that's what I used) mixture below. The hub unit took seconds and then the rest went with him to work today. The problem with extra juices I just read on a post could have been not allowing the sauce to bubble and thicken prior to putting it in the crockpot. Mine was very thick (I subbed arrowroot since we can't have corn). Thank you!! What I have made from your book and your site have all been RAVES!!!

Flourchild said...

ANother great one from you..thank you!

Suzanne said...

There is an award for you on my blog..you are one the reminds me to get lovin and cookin home meals for my family when it is so easy to go run for the fast food junk..thanks!

londonkat said...

Is the top supposed to be crust-like or quiche-like?
Mine came out quiche like. I did cook it less than recommended though b/c the sides were burning (my $20 crock tends to cook a little higher than most).

Brenna said...

Hooray! I was one of the people that suggested a crockpot pizza! I can't wait to try this! It looks divine! Thanks for sharing!

LambAround said...

I just found your site through another blog (so sorry but I don't remember which one!) and am excited to try this recipe! Pizza in the crock pot would blow my husband's mind! I can never think of anything creative to make in the crock pot and am LOVING your blog :)

~Lamb

http://lambaround.blogspot.com

Domino said...

So sorry I missed you at Food & Wine! It would have been awesome to meet you, and my husband works at DL so I was planning on hitting the festival anyway. This recipe looks great, like an upside-down pizza!

Kari said...

My topping turned out quiche-like as well, which made me not like it as I don't like the texture of quiche (or eggs). FWIW I used Bisquick instead of flour in hopes it would turn out better..I ended up putting the crock in the oven for a few minutes to crisp the top of the crust but the underside was a little gross.

StrawberryParfait said...

Just made this...smells & tastes great. Did have to much liquid get onto of the puff part...so I think i'll lessen the water some. But this is definitely part of of regular meals. Thank you so much for showing me that a crocpot is more than soup.:-)

Anonymous said...

How about store bought pizza crust mix, need to do anything different?

I was thinking a white sauce, like a creamy garlic or alfredo, and chicken, bacon bits, chopped green onions. How would I go about putting it together? (new to crockpot cooking and not sure how to adapt recipes)

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! :)

Amanda said...

I tried this in my 3 1/2 quart oval crock, and it was perfect after 3 1/4 hours on high. The house smelled amazing!!! I endedup putting a paper towel under the lid after a couple of hours to absorb some of the steam. My crust was more quiche-like as well, which was fine with me. I didn't have any extra liquid. This was such a hit that I am going to bring my crock to work and make one for my co-workers. Thank you for a great idea!

Michele said...

I made it last nite and my top was "quiche like" too. I wonder if you used Jiffy Cornbread mix and varied the meatsauce if you could have a Slow Cooker Puffy Taco Casserole Recipe? Love your site, girl!!! CROCK ON!

Scott said...

Trying it tonight, and it smells wonderful. When I did the puffy topping, I felt that there was too much liquid, despite following the directions. Since I used Bisquick instead of flour, I added another quarter cup of Bisquick, and it wasn't so thin.

I also used Italian sausage instead of ground beef. Can't wait to try it.. It smells awesome!

Megan said...

I'm so sad I could not make it to see you. I begged my hubby to take me, but we hadn't bought passes yet, and even if we had, it would have been a blocked day. :(

Alexi said...

We are trying this tonight. My son finally got to enjoy pizza that didn't make him sick when we visited Picazzo's Pizza in Tucson, AZ. I think I actually teared up watching him dig in and love it. I can't wait for him to eat this tonight. He's not a picky eater, but he sure does love pizza..... and, well, you know how hard it is to satisfy that craving for a celiac baby! I'm so excited to make this for him. And, because it'll likely only take a few hours, I can get it started while he naps. AWESOME!

Bdubba said...

FYI: This does not work with canned, store bought dough. Ugh....

Amy said...

I just made this for dinner, and made it in 2 crock pots. Needless to say there is none left. This is really good. Thanks for sharing. I love your site.

Dan and Tami said...

This was really good. I will say, though, that the Pamela's Baking Mix is not all purpose flour. It has baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in it. We did, however use all purpose flour without the added powder, soda, or salt, and it still tasted good. It wasn't very puffy, though. (-: Good recipe. I'm sure it'll be even better with self rising flour.

cedar chests said...

I am planning to make some for tomorrow! I am pretty sure my family will like it. Thanks a lot.

dining tables said...

This looks so nice. I would love to try this for the coming family gathering. I am pretty sure that they will love this. Thanks a lot.

bluebirdjohnson7 said...

I made 2 for my large family and the kids all loved it. I thought it was good, but it still didn't taste like pizza to me (I have been craving pizza for a few days). I didn't have enough time to cook it in the crock pot, so I made them in 2 large glass pans in the oven. I'll probably make this again in the future, but change it a little to taste more like pizza. Thanks for the recipe!

bsback18 said...

Hi-
I tried this this weekend, and there was too much moisture and the crust was gooey and not puffy. I tried to let it cook as long as I could, but the bottom part was burning. I'm not sure I will make this again. But I love your blog! This is the first recipe that hasn't turned out!

Meg said...

Sounds great! Got our yearly sisters getaway late in September and just may have to whip this one up for the occasion. Thanks for the idea!

Angela said...

Just made this with homemade pizza dough and it was delicious. Would not add water last time as this made it soupy, and would probably use less pasta sauce, but the crust is YUMMY. Puffed up just like oven baked but a tad bit soggier. :)

Melinda said...

I have your cookbook and was happy to find it on the blog too with the comments. I made this for dinner tonight and it was pretty good but the crust was a bit soggy. I used whole wheat flour and it didn't puff up much at all. I think I will try it again and put some baking powder in the dough. I used a 6qt pot for about 3.5 hours. I put green peppers and a can of mushrooms on top in addition to turkey Pepperoni. I might try a can of pizza sauce next time and see how that works. I will also put paper towels under the lid because it sweated a lot probably contributing to the soggy crust.

Lessons, Etc. said...

I tried this recipe but I think my short cuts hurt it a little bit. I used jarred spaghetti sauce as a shortcut which I think made it more watery and I did not brown my onions since I used vegetarian crumbles that were already cooked. It was more watery but still tasty.

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