Archive | January, 2013

Cuban Picadillo in the Crock Pot

Posted on 30. Jan, 2013 in Food

Picadillo, a flavorful Cuban dish made with ground beef (or turkey) and a sauce made from simmering tomatoes, green olives, bell peppers, cumin, and spices is one of my family’s favorite weeknight meals.  Trust me on this one, if you want a recipe the whole family will love, this is it! It’s inexpensive, kid-friendly, freezer friendly and gluten-free. It‘s even better since the lean beef cooks longer and becomes very tender the longer it simmers.  This makes a lot, so you’ll get several meals out of it. We serve it over brown rice or quinoa.

Anytime you use ground beef in the crock pot, you’ll need to brown it first on the stove. Since the skillet is already out, I threw the onions, peppers and garlic in with the meat to let the flavors bloom.

If you want to prep this the night before, the meat is fully cooked, so you can add all the ingredients into the crock pot, then refrigerate. The next morning plug it in and go to work, or go on with your day. When you come home, you’ll just have to make some rice and a salad and dinner is ready!

By the way, lean beef is the meat of choice for this dish in my house, but you can also use lean bison or ground turkey if desired. Raisins are commonly added to this dish, but we prefer this without.

 Slow Cooker Picadillo

Servings: 11 • Size: 1/2 cup • Old Points: 4 pts • Weight Watchers Points+: 4 pts

Calories: 170 • Fat: 7 g • Protein: 22.5 g • Carb: 4.5 g • Fiber: 1 g • Sugar: 1.5 g

Sodium: 237 mg (without the salt)


2 1/2 lbs 93% lean ground beef (or turkey)

1 cup minced onion

1 cup diced red bell peppers

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup minced cilantro

1 small tomato, diced

8 oz can tomato sauce

1/4 cup alcaparrado (manzanilla olives, pimientos, capers) or green olives

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 bay leaves

kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste


Brown meat in a large deep skillet on medium-high heat; season with generously with salt and a little pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break the meat up into small pieces. When meat is no longer pink, drain all the liquid from pan. Add the onions, garlic and bell peppers to the meat and cook an addition 3-4 minutes.

Transfer the meat to the slow cooker, then add tomato, cilantro, tomato sauce, 1 1/4 cups water, alcaparrado (or olives) [I usually add some of the brine from the jar for added flavor] then add the spices.

Set slow cooker to HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8. After it’s ready, taste for salt and add more as needed [I added a little more cumin and garlic powder at the end as well since the crock pot tends to mute the flavors of herbs and spices]. Discard the bay leaves and serve over brown rice.

Makes about 5 3/4 cups.