Monday, February 17, 2014

Easy Sunday Slow Cooker Baked Rigatoni

We are in the dregs of winter and the comfort food cravings have come a-knocking.  I make this slow cooker baked rigatoni and add veggies to pretend it's healthy.

Easy Sunday Slow Cooker Baked Rigatoni Ingredients:
Box of rigatoni
Minced garlic, I like a lot 1 heaping T or so
1 container mushrooms
Butter or olive oil
Jar of marinara sauce—I like Trader Joe's Traditional Marinara because it doesn't have sugar or HCFS and is inexpensive to boot
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup*
1 cup chopped spinach
Salt, pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan

Cook the pasta according to directions on the shortest side of the time range.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Saute the garlic, onions, and mushrooms.  If you are short on time, you could skip this step but if I'm already at the stove making one thing (pasta), it's no big whoop to make this while I'm standing right there anyway.

Combine the remaining ingredients except the parm in a big bowl.  Add sauteed veggies and stir.  Add in pasta and stir. You could stop right here, put it in a giant Ziplock bag, and put in the fridge to cook later.  Or freeze it and thaw it and crock another day.

Spray the inside of a 6-7 quart slow cooker with Pam.  Pour contents of bowl into slow cooker.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours or 2-3 hours on high.  Then top with parm, turn the heat on high, and let it melt for ten minutes or so.  This is also great with leftover homestyle roast chicken.
Many slow cooker recipes (soups, stews, fajitas, pesto mushroom chicken thighs) can wait for you on warm for hours.  This recipe, not so much.  It should be eaten within the hour of it being done as the pasta starts to get mushy.  For this reason, and because it takes a pot and a pan and the crock, I like to make it on Sundays when I'm not in a hurry.  Also, I can make it in the afternoon so it doesn't have to rest on warm for ages.

I've made this TWICE recently and both times I forgot to take pictures! Drats!

*I use ricotta when I bake this in the oven but the cheese doesn't stand up well in the slow cooker. Usually I am loathe to use cream of whatever soups but other experiments failed.

UPDATE: A friend made this recipe with bison and sent me the pic above.

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