Friday, 9 May 2014

Slow Cooker Macaroni Casserole

It’s been so much warmer lately, and our house just seems to capture and contain all the sunshine from outside! It’s so nice to have a warm house and sun shining outside, but it does present the predicament of turning on the oven or standing over a hot stove top; let’s face it, when it’s sunny outside and you’re trying to soak up the rays the last thing you want to do is spend an hour, or more, prepping and cooking dinner! That’s how I came across the idea for this dish.


We love pasta in our house; it’s such a perfect meal that goes well with a number of sides; garlic bread, Caesar salad, fresh veggies... The possibilities are endless. Since it was Sunday and we like a bit more of a feast, I paired it with my crispy cauliflower bites and almond crusted eggplant and boy, was it a perfect way to end the weekend (followed of course by the latest episode of Game of Thrones)!


All that deliciousness, and easy prep! 


Mmm pasta for a Sunday night, does life get any better?



Slow Cooker Macaroni Casserole

This casserole turned out to be a moist, delicious pasta dish chock full of flavour! Perfect for a well balanced dinner after a busy day!

Time:

Prep Time: 15 minutes // Cook Time: 7 hours // Yields: 4 – 6 servings 

Ingredients:

2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 cups dried macaroni noodles
1 lb ground hot Italian sausage
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, chopped
2 cups pasta sauce of choice
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP dried basil
1 TBSP garlic powder
Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large pan, heat 1 TBSP grape seed oil over medium heat, add diced onion and sauté until translucent and fragrant, about 4 minutes; add garlic and sauté another minutes then add ground hot Italian sausage and pepper cooking until the meat brown, drain the excess fat and set aside.
Meanwhile, in the crock pot mix vegetable or chicken stock, 1 c. water, diced tomatoes and zucchini. Add the sausage mixture, chili powder, oregano, basil, garlic powder, more pepper and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Set slow cooker on low for 7 hours.
With 30 minutes remaining, add dried macaroni and remaining 1 c. water, stir to combine and turn heat to high.

Serve immediately, topped with grated parmesan and chopped basil, if desired.

*options - This recipe can be amended to you and your family's taste, it would be great with carrots, celery, peppers, or you can sub the hot Italian sausage for ground beef or ground turkey for a lighter option. As with most pasta, the possibilities are unlimited with what you through into that crock pot!

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