Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Slow Cooker Spaghetti

So I've been seeing it a lot on Pinterest...I've even pinned several varieties myself, but have never attempted cooking pasta in my Crock Pot.  

Well, tonight I tried it.  And I'll do it again!

I pinned this recipe to our Freezer Friendly board not too long ago.  It looked super yummy and my kid will eat pasta and sauce like it's going out of style, so that's a major win in our household.  I made several adjustments to the recipe (due to lack of them...) but it still turned out great.  My hubs even said it was a keeper, and he's pickier than our toddler!  

I signed up for emails for more slow cooker (crock pot...what do you call it?) recipes  from the site.  YUM!

Below is the recipe with my adjustments:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
24 ounces spaghetti sauce
8 ounces (uncooked) spaghetti, about 2/3 of a 13.25 oz box, break into small pieces before adding to meat mixture
2 cups low fat ricotta cheese
1 cup skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Kosher or sea Salt to taste

Sauté onion and garlic until softened, about 2-3 minutes.  Add beef and cook in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking into small pieces while cooking. Ensure the beef loses its pink color before removing from heat. Drain, discard any fat and set aside. Combine meat with marinara and broken spaghetti pieces.
In a medium bowl combine cooked meat with the remaining ingredients, add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 2-3 hours or until spaghetti is al dente and cheese is bubbly.
Serve and sprinkle with parmesan if desired.
I used my crock pot liner (easy clean up!) and cooked on high for about 2 hours.  I started on low, but I'm impatient and I didn't feel like it was getting hot enough all the way through.  

To make this recipe FREEZER FRIENDLY: 

1. Brown beef with onions and garlic, then set aside and cool completely.
2. Combine beef with spaghetti sauce and cheeses and S & P.
3. In a gallon freezer bag, add beef/cheese/sauce mixture, closing tightly to remove as much air as possible.  
4.  Break up pasta and place pieces in small Ziploc bag. (Now, you could just do this step when you are ready to cook the meal, too). 
5.  Place bag of pasta and bag of sauce into a larger gallon bag (keeping it all together) and label and freeze.

When you're ready to cook

1.  Thaw completely in fridge.                 
2. Mix to bags together.
3. Place mixture in your crock pot (that is fitted with a liner) and cook!

Stay full!

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