Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Slow Cooker Spaghetti

Today was a big clean-up day--we are expecting visitors. That means we are vacuuming, moping, cleaning windows, and decluttering every horizontal crap-collecting surface in the house--and boy do we have a lot of those!

I started cooking dinner at 10am this morning, by 6pm all I had left to do was boil up some pasta. Here's what you'll need: ground meat, canned tomatoes of all kinds, onion, garlic, brown sugar, red pepper flakes,salt, fennel, basil, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves.

I started with a pound of precooked hamburger meat--I like to buy a huge package at Costco and cook it all up at once, then freeze 1 lb portions for easy meals like this one. If you're looking to save a few calories go ahead and use ground turkey, it turns out just as tasty. After you dust off your crock pot, combine the precooked ground meat, a can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce

Here's a hint for the tomato paste--open both ends of the can, discard the bottom, and then push the lid until the paste falls through

Just like this

Then add in your spices

Put the lid on the pot and let it work it's magic

I didn't remember the olives until it was almost done, but you can add yours at the beginning

 Almost ready...

Get some water boiling, and add pasta

Elbow pasta is more kid friendly, but use whatever flips your skirt. If you're cooking a double batch for the freezer, you'll want the pasta a bit underdone

While the pasta is cooking you should pick out the bay leaves (skip this step if you don't mind picking them off your plate...I don't judge...I'm lazy sometimes too...)

If you want to be  traditional you could just serve the sauce over the pasta. It makes my life easier to just mix everything together. Now I don't have to worry about running out of sauce, what to do with the extra cooked pasta, or just forgetting the pasta in the water and waking up to a nasty pot to clean...

Serve it with a simple salad or some steamed veggies

Don't forget to top with Parmesan cheese

  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1/4 cup dried onion, or 1 small onion
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 Tbs tomato bouillon
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground fennel 
  • 12 oz pasta
  1.  Set slow cooker to low, combine all ingredients except pasta. Stir occasionally, simmer for 1-8 hours
  2.  Prepare pasta to your liking
  3. Serve spaghetti sauce with pasta

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