Archive for Italian

Pork Ragu

Source: Mother Thyme

I almost always have some pork roasts in the freezer. They are mostly used for bbq pulled pork sandwiches, and occasionally for pulled pork tacos. But, I wanted to try something different this time, so I was excited when I came across this recipe for Pork Ragu. I had all the ingredients on hand (plus, it sounded delicious!) so it was perfect.

This was a very good meal, but Rick and I both had one small complaint. It was SALTY! I have noticed that I am pretty sensitive to salt, and probably undersalt most of my food, so it’s possible that if you made this at home, you wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. However, for me, I’ll omit adding the extra salt next time. Apparently the pork is salty enough! Aside from that one small issue, though, this was a great dish — it was easy, it made a ton of leftovers, and it used pantry staples. Those are pretty much my three favorite things in a recipe!

Pork Ragu
2.5 pounds pork tenderloin
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup grated carrots
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/8 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
splash of red wine

Place the pork inside your crockpot. Add all other ingredients to the crockpot, stirring as best you can. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5.

At end of cook time, remove bay leaf. Shred the meat, and stir it back into the tomato sauce. Continue cooking on low for another 30 minutes.

Serve over your favorite pasta. Enjoy!

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Pesto Meat Sauce

I consider pesto to be a special treat. We don’t have it very often, but I just love it. That’s why I was really intrigued by this recipe for Pesto Meat Sauce when it popped up on What’s Cookin’ Chicago? I couldn’t wait to try it.

This sauce was really flavorful. The pesto was definitely prevalent, but not overpowering by any means. It’s very meaty, too, which makes for a very thick sauce. If you like your pasta sauce a bit thinner, adding in another half can of crushed tomatoes probably wouldn’t hurt. I might do that next time.

I used my 3.5 qt. crockpot and it filled it to the brim! I was really nervous that it wouldn’t fit once I started adding ingredients, but it all worked out ok. Thanks to my mother-in-law giving me a bunch of mason jars for Christmas, I was able to freeze a bunch for easy dinners down the road. (Now that we have a new upright freezer, I’ve been kind of obsessed with making freezer meals.) I froze seven 12 oz. jars of sauce, in addition to what we ate on the day it was made.

Pesto Meat Sauce

1.5 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup pesto sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. granulated sugar

In a large skillet, add the ground beef and pesto. Once the beef is browned, drain and then add to the crockpot.

Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot and stir to combine. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 6-8 hours. Serve over your favorite pasta and enjoy!

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Crockpot Bolognese

This is the 4th full year in existence for Crockpot Tuesdays. I started this blog at the very end of 2008, and since then I’ve created a nice little collection of recipes and menu plans. While I certainly don’t claim to be the best blog out there, I’m proud of what my blog has turned into. Sometimes, it downright amazes me.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to make 2012 the year of my “comeback.” I know I never went anywhere, but my recipe posts grew few and far between last year. I’m lucky enough to have kept (and gained) a lot of readers last year, so this year, I want to thank you for sticking around.

I came up with the name Crockpot Tuesdays when, back in 2008, it always seemed like I was making crockpot recipes on Tuesdays. (I’m not really sure why. Maybe it just worked out that way. But, it does have a nice ring to it.) So, in order to make my blog’s name significant again, my goal is to post a new crockpot recipe every Tuesday in 2012!

I’m not saying this is going to be easy. I use my crockpot a lot, but I’ve been struggling to find new crockpot recipes that I want to try. That’s where I need your help! Please comment on this post with your favorite crockpot recipes! I’m sure there are plenty out there, it’s just a matter of finding them.

So for today, on the third Tuesday of 2012, is my third recipe post of the year: Crockpot Bolognese. I found this recipe on one of my new favorite blogs, Plain Chicken. The sauce turned out great. It was very flavorful, and I loved the Italian sausage! I even was able to freeze some for easy dinners down the road.

Crockpot Bolognese
1 lb. Italian sausage
3 tbsp. minced onion flakes (I used Tastefully Simple’s Onion Onion because it’s what I had on hand)
4 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup water
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. basil
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Cook sausage in large skillet until browned. Transfer to crockpot. Stir in all remaining ingredients and mix well. Cook on low for 8 hours and serve with your favorite pasta.

This makes about 8 servings, and freezes great!

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Crockpot Ziti

Source: Finding Joy in My Kitchen

I’m always a little hesitant to try crockpot recipe that involved pasta. Sometimes, if you cook the pasta too long, it can get a little funky. However, after a long day of running errands on Sunday, I knew that we would love to have a crockpot recipe that was ready whenever we were. I came across this recipe for Crockpot Ziti on my one of my favorite blogs, Finding Joy in My Kitchen, and decided to give it a try. SnoWhite, the blogger behind Finding Joy in My Kitchen, has never let me down before, so I know that if she said it was good, then I could trust that it was!

This recipe turned out great! There definitely wasn’t anything funky with the pasta, and it was so nice to have an easy recipe ready and waiting for us in the crockpot. I’ll definitely make this recipe again!

Crockpot Ziti

8 oz. penne noodles, uncooked
26 oz. jar pasta sauce
12 oz. cottage cheese
4-5 oz. fresh spinach
6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese


Place the cottage cheese in a blender and puree until smooth. Then, add in the spinach and blend.

Spread 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a lightly greased crockpot. Top with a few noodles. Then, spread about 1/3 of the spinach/cheese mixture over the top of the noodles. Sprinkle on some shredded mozzarella, then add more sauce and repeat the layers. I repeated the layers 3 times. End with spaghetti sauce on the top and cover with cheese.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Just before serving, top with Parmesan cheese and allow the cheese to melt. Enjoy!

Serves 4–5. I used a 3 1/2 qt. crockpot for this recipe. For step-by-step pictures, visit Finding Joy in My Kitchen.

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American Chop Suey

Adapted from Lauren’s Kitchen, who found it on A Year of Slow Cooking

I’m not really sure why this recipe is called American Chop Suey. Another name for it could be beef and macaroni. Well, whatever you want to call it, it tastes pretty good! Once again, I needed a convenient crockpot recipe using ingredients I already had in my pantry (don’t you love those?), and this one came to the rescue!

This easily makes about 7 servings. I made this recipe on Sunday and immediately packaged it up for lunches during the week. It heats up really well and was a huge time saver. I’ll be doing the same thing this coming week with black beans and rice.

American Chop Suey

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, diced
14.5 oz. can tomatoes, undrained
1 can of water (use empty tomato can)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
26 oz. jar pasta sauce
16 oz. box elbow macaroni, uncooked

In a large skillet, brown ground beef and onion until fully cooked. Plop the beef and onion into your crockpot, and add all other ingredients except the pasta. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. At end of cook time, add the uncooked macaroni and stir well. Cook on high for about 30 minutes. Serve topped with shredded cheese if desired, and enjoy!

Love garlic? Check out the ingredient spotlight at Eat at Home

Love pasta? Me too.

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Alfredo tomato chicken

Source: 365 Days of Slow Cooking

This meal is a great option for using up ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. I needed to come up with a meal the other day, and I had zero time to run to the grocery store. This was a great choice!

Alfredo tomato chicken

2 chicken breasts
16 oz. spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu traditional)
1/2 cup alfredo sauce
1/4 cup grated parmesan
4 oz. can mushrooms, drained
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder

Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Serve over bowtie pasta, and enjoy!

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Turkey goulash

This recipe from … and a cookie for dessert popped into my Google Reader at the exact time I needed it to. Rick and I just bought a house, so I am struggling to find time to meal plan or do more than a quick grocery trip. I needed something that I could make using ingredients that I had on hand, and this fit the bill.

This is the third goulash I’ve made in the crockpot (after this Mexican goulash and this Hungarian goulash) and this one is probably my favorite (followed by the Hungarian goulash). The flavors actually reminded me a lot of Pasta Fagioli, although this dish isn’t nearly as soup-y. I’m definitely going to keep this in mind for weeks when I don’t have time to go to the grocery!

Turkey goulash

1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes
15 oz. can tomato sauce (I used Ragu)
3/4 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups elbow macaroni or small shells

Heat olive oil in medium pan over medium heat. Saute turkey, onion and garlic until turkey is cooked through. Add mixture to crockpot. Add the water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, bay leaf, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. At end of cook time, add the macaroni. Cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes until macaroni is tender.

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