Really Good, Really Easy Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

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Thank you all for the nice comments and messages regarding Mr. Meat Eater.   The biopsy itself went fine and we didn’t hear anything bad at the 48 hour reading so I’ll take that as good news.  We will hear for sure what the problem is on the 22nd.  I will drive myself nuts until then of course.

In the meantime, I will get back to blogging.

I really, really love this sauce.  It’s easy, makes a ton so I can put some in the freezer for the next time I need sauce, and I can make it spicy or not.  If I use all the red pepper flakes it calls for, I find it too spicy for me so I just put a tiny bit in or leave it out altogether.

It is great just served with pasta and would be equally good used for lasagna or ziti or whatever.   You can use Italian sausage instead of the ground beef if you prefer.  The recipe calls for 2 pounds of meat but I use about 1 1/4 pounds since I don’t like loads of meat in my sauce.

I found the recipe on the Betty Crocker website originally.

Really Good, Really Easy Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

2 lb bulk Italian pork sausage or ground beef (I use about 1 1/4 lbs)
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (15 oz each) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less or leave out altogether if you don’t like it spicy)

Spray 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

In a skillet, cook sausage or beef, onions, mushrooms and garlic over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage or beef is no longer pink; drain.

Spoon sausage or beef mixture into slow cooker.

Stir in all remaining ingredients.

Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours.

Serve over your favorite pasta.

Makes 24 servings.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Cooking!

Garden Minestrone from Fresh from the Farmstand

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Here is another recipe from Gooseberry Patch‘s Fresh from the Farmstand cookbook.  Don’t forget to sign up for my giveaway of a copy of this cookbook!  To enter, go to  THIS POST!  Entries on any other posts or on Facebook will not be counted!

I LOVE minestrone soup!  I also have a terrible habit of NOT reading a recipe through until I’m ready to start dinner.  I read the ingredients and that’s as far as I go.  I don’t see myself changing any time soon so I spend some time trying to figure out how I can change it up to work for me.  And that’s what happened with this recipe.  I didn’t start with dried beans so I used two cans of navy beans, rinsed.  My celery was so limp, I couldn’t stand to touch it so I threw it out and subbed fresh green beans.  Mr. Meat Eater refuses to eat anything with cabbage in it so I subbed spinach.  In place of the water used to cook the dried beans, I used chicken broth.  I also used 2 cans of diced tomatoes with the juice since tomatoes at this time of year are awful. I also threw in some oregano and basil. Soooooooo…same recipe?  I followed the recipe just using my substitutions.  You can make any recipe your own and this is just a good example of it.  This particular recipe is so good and that makes it easy to add your own ingredients.  My photo isn’t very good either, sigh ~ the white stuff is Parmesan which I have to have with minestrone.

The recipe was submitted to Gooseberry Patch by Kay Marone of Des Moines, Iowa.  Here is her recipe the way it is in the book.

Garden Minestrone

2 cups dried navy beans
10 cups cold water
2 to 3 tsps salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cups ditalini, uncooked
1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a large soup pot over high heat, cover beans with water. Bring to a boil; boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand for 1 to 2 hours. Drain; rinse beans well and return to pot. Add 10 cups cold water; bring to a boil. Stir in salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for one hour.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, saute onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil for 8-10 minutes or until onion is lightly golden. Add this mixture along with the tomatoes to the simmering beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for another hour.

Stir in cabbage, zucchini, pasta and parsley. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Garnish with Parmesan, if desired.

Makes 8-10 servings.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Cooking!

Sausage with Peppers and Onions

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First, thank you to everyone who has written and asked about Minnie.  She is doing wonderfully.  She is starting to play a little bit and exploring the house more.  She is still afraid of people but is becoming used to us and has stopped shaking when she is with us.  She is walking great on a leash although stairs and door jams are still hard for her.  She will be having surgery in May to fix her eye and to spay her so that is our next big hurdle.  Zippy is being a great  brother and helping her along.  Here she is (she’s afraid of the camera):

Baseball season finally started on the 1st and even though I root for a perennial loser and a perennial winner, I always get excited when the season starts.  So, in honor of baseball season, I made some baseball park food ~ sausage and peppers and hot dogs.

The sausage recipe came from Food.com and I have made it a few times for get-togethers.   It always goes over big and everyone wants the recipe.  It was originally posted by yooper and it’s a winner.  I add the onion and leave off the cheese ~ just personal preference.

Sausage with Peppers and Onions

3 green bell peppers
3 medium onions, sliced into rings
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lb hot Italian sausage, I cut them to make 2 or 3 inch pieces
1/3 cup red wine

Preheat your oven to 350º.

Remove stems and seeds from the green peppers and cut into large chunks and slice onions into rings.

In an ovenproof baking dish that can also be used on top of the stove, saute green peppers and onions in the olive oil until they are soft then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove vegetables from the pan and set aside.

Brown sausage in the same dish.

When sausage is browned, add the red wine.

Cover with lid or foil and bake about 40 minutes.

Uncover baking dish and add cooked green peppers and onions.

Bake an additional 30 minutes.

Place sausage and peppers and onions in a hoagie roll and if you like cheese on it, add cheese and stick under the broiler for a few minutes until melted.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Happy Cooking!

Breaded Pork Chops, Italian Style

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Rainy and dreary here today which always makes me think of food.  I have to fast for a blood test this morning so it’s a doubly difficult morning.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the biggest fan of pork ~ except for bacon, of course ~ but I really like this recipe.  The chops turn out very tender and really go with any side.  Mr. Meat Eater ate 3 of them I think so that should tell you something.

It’s a very easy recipe but it does use an oven-proof skillet so watch out for that.

Breaded Pork Chops, Italian Style

3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsps milk
1 1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsps dried parsley
2 tbsps olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops

Preheat oven to 325º.

Combine the beaten eggs and milk in a small bowl. Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan and parsley on a plate.

In an oven-proof skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Once heated, stir in the chopped garlic and saute for a minute or two and then remove from the skillet leaving the olive oil. You can toss the garlic or save for another use if desired.

Dip each pork chop into the wet mixture then into the dry mixture, coating evenly. Place coated chops in the pan and brown for about 5 minutes on each side.

Place the skillet with the chops in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Even Easier Chicken Parmigiana

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Chicken parm is one of my absolute favorite meals.  If it’s on a menu in a restaurant, I order it.  I already have an easy chicken parmigiana recipe but this one is different and delicious.  I found it in Cooking Light’s Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook ~ I am really loving this cookbook and I am usually so-so about Cooking Light recipes. I did put my own spin on it so it may NOT be a light meal anymore.

Even Easier Chicken Parmigiana

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 1/2 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce ~ I used the whole jar because I like things saucy; make your own sauce, if preferred
2 tsps balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella

Place beaten egg in a shallow dish and place the bread crumbs and 2 tbsps Parmesan in a shallow dish as well. Dip each tender in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs/Parmesan mixture and set aside.

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large, ovenproof skillet and add chicken. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side until browned and no pink remains in the chicken.

While chicken is cooking, preheat broiler.

Combine the sauce and vinegar in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, vent,  and heat on HIGH for 2 minutes or until heated through. Pour over the chicken in the skillet. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and the mozzarella.

Wrap skillet handle with aluminum foil if needed (I don’t have to wrap mine) and broil, watching carefully, until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes or so.

Serve with your favorite pasta.

Makes 4 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Easy Baked Fish

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This is one of those recipes that is so easy, it’s embarrassing.  There really is no recipe ~ just a method that you can use on any white fish.  In this picture, I used flounder.  Feel free to change up the ingredients to suit you.

Easy Baked Fish

1 lb white fish ~ use your favorite
4 tbsps butter, melted
3/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp or more garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and garlic powder. Dip the filets in the butter and then in the crumb mixture, coating the entire fish.

Place in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle any remaining crumbs and butter over the top.

Bake until fish flakes easily, about 25 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Three Tomato Pasta

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What an excellent pasta recipe!  The original recipe calls for goat cheese ~ I’m still not that thrilled with goat cheese so I subbed in mozzarella but if you love goat cheese, by all means use it.  The only thing I didn’t have on hand for this recipe was the sun-dried tomatoes so this is almost a pantry recipe.  I also didn’t use the fresh parsley because I didn’t have any so I use a few shakes of dried parsley.

The recipe came from a cookbook that I bought for my DD for Christmas but I didn’t remember buying it for her last Christmas, too.  So it became MY cookbook ~ The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook from Cooking Light .

Three Tomato Pasta

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped and drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
12 ounces penne, cooked
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella or 1/2 cup goat cheese
chopped fresh parsley, if desired
chopped fresh basil, if desired

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, saute for a minute or two being careful not to let the garlic burn (if it does, throw it out and start over). Add sun-dried tomatoes and next 5 ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Mixture will reduce.

Prepare penne while the sauce cooks. Drain, place pasta in same pot that you cooked it in and add the sauce, cheese, parsley and basil, if using. Mix lightly and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Happy Cooking!