Slow Cooker Ziti

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Slow cooker meals are convenient and an important option as the fall busyness begins. Slow cooker ziti is one of my favorite recipes. This recipe makes lots of servings and is very filling! This recipe makes 10-12 adult sized servings. When I made this dish, I cooked everything in the slow cooker, and I cooked everything on high. Once I added the noodles and broth, my slow cooker only needed to cook for 20 minutes before the noodles were Al dente. And, once I added the cheese and let it melt for about 5 minutes, the noodles were perfectly done. You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by adding eggplant instead of meat, veggie broth or water instead of beef broth, and a cheese substitute instead of mozzarella.

What You Will Need

  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Diced Onion (1 Cup)
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp Basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp Oregano
  • 1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Box (16 oz) of Ziti or Penne Pasta
  • 2 1/2 Cups Beef Broth
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
  • Large Slow Cooker

Directions

  1. Brown your burger quickly in a skillet, or by placing in your slow cooker on high and stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Place in slow cooker. Add onion, spices, spaghetti sauce, and diced tomatoes.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or on high for 2-3 hours.
  3. Add beef broth and pasta about 30 minutes before serving. Make pasta as submerged as possible and cook on high. Taste pasta firmness after 15 minutes, and again every 5 minutes until desired texture is reached. Top with cheese and cover for 5 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve, but wait 10 minutes before eating, very hot!

Eggplant Parmesan

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This was me first time having and cooking with eggplant. When I was looking at recipes that use eggplant, I was surprised to find many people use eggplant in place of a protein like chicken or beef. I decided to make eggplant parmesan because it was one of the first recipes to pop into my head for eggplant. This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by swapping out cheese for vegan cheese, egg for an egg replacement, and using a natural oil like canola (what I used) or coconut. With this dish, I made homemade sauce. I added 1/3 of a very large zucchini and 1 large cucumber. Because these are both sweeter veggies, I added some salt and it came out tasting amazing and looking beautiful with speckles of green. I also added some red pepper flakes for spice, and same paprika for smokey flavor. Finally, I added the sauce at the end. I altered that for the recipe since I noticed after that many people like to bake it with the sauce. I chose not to though thinking the crispy crust was more important then having a gooey cheese on top. Either way, you can’t mess up this recipe! Makes 5-7 adult sized servings.

What You Will Need

  • 1 Medium Eggplant
  • 2 sandwich bags
  • 1 pie plate
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella shredded
  • 1/2 cup Spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup oil
  • Large Dutch Oven
  • 9 X13 baking dish

Directions

  1. Slice off the top and bottom of your eggplant and discard. Slice remaining eggplant into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Add flour to one sandwich bag, add parmesan to the second. Crack your egg into the pie plate, add 2 Tbsp water, then beat with a fork until smooth. Add the oil to a dutch oven, and heat over medium heat until oil ripples.
  3. One-Two pieces at a time, coat the eggplant slices with flour, then egg, then parmesan. Then, set aside. Repeat for all remaining slices.
  4. Heat oven to 350 F.
  5. Add slices carefully to oil. Cook on each side for 2 minutes. Then transfer directly to the baking dish.
  6. Top each slice with 1 Tbsp sauce and a generous pinch of mozzarella. Add to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
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Chicken Cacciatore

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Chicken Cacciatore is a classic Italian dish, but who knew it was so easy to make a home? With a little prep, this dish is incredibly hands off, and makes enough to feed a large family. With the only limiting factor being how much chicken you use, this recipe easily makes 6-7 adult sized servings. I decided to make this dish fresh because everything is in season where I am right now, and anything I didn’t grow, I could get at my local farmer’s market. Though this dish is typically made with chicken thighs, I usually only have white chicken meat, so I decided to butterfly and fry a large chicken breast instead. The chicken breast I used was about 1 pound on it’s own, and easily formed a nice brown crust after 5 minutes. This is a healthy and delicious meal I highly recommend you try!

What You Will Need

  • 1 Green Pepper, Cored and Sliced
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 Large Diced Tomatoes with Juice (14 Oz)
  • 1 Cup (8 Oz) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Can (4 oz) Sliced Mushrooms, Strained
  • 1 Chicken Breast, Butterflied or 3-4 Chicken Thighs
  • 1/4 Cup Oil
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Basil

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven, add peppers, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, and tomato sauce. Heat over medium heat and cover.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat over medium heat. Add oil and chicken. Turn down heat if necessary, and cook on face for about 5 minutes undisturbed until a brown crust forms. Flip and repeat browning on second side.
  3. Transfer chicken to dutch oven. Cover with sauce and veggies. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then simmer covered for 40-50 minutes, or until internal temperature of 165 F is reached. Serve over pasta.
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Garlic Shrimp Fettuccine with Green Beans

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Fresh pasta is completely different from store bought. If you don’t have to time to make homemade for this dish, I recommend using a higher quality pasta, which is usually sold in nests. The texture of the pasta makes this dish. The onion flavor is an under tone of this dish while the garlic is the real star. The tender yet firm green beans add fresh flavor, and the shrimp pairs wonderfully with the garlic and green beans. Top your serving with grated parmesan and enjoy this rich and flavorful meal! This recipe makes 5 adult sized servings.

What You Will Need

  • 4 Cups Cooked Fettuccine
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 2 Cups Cooked and Thawed Shrimp
  • 1 Small Onion, Diced
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Cup Green Beans
  • Large Frying pan/Dutch oven
  • Tongs and Wooden Spoon

Directions

  1. Prepare your ingredients as listed.
  2. In a large frying pan, melt butter and heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook till fried. Add garlic and green beans, cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add cooked pasta and shrimp to butter mixture. Cook together for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Carrot Top Pesto Shrimp

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To see my recipe for Carrot top pesto, click here! When I froze this pesto, I didn’t add any parmesan, so if you are using store bought or even your own homemade pesto, please note that I did not add double the cheese. Also based on flavor, add some sugar or salt to flavor the sauce before adding the pasta.

This pasta is easy and straight forward, pasta, pesto, and shrimp. I didn’t strain my pasta in a colander, and instead used a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to the pesto. I then boiled my shrimp for 1-2 minutes before using the same spoon to transfer them to the pasta mixture. I boiled my shrimp because I bought precooked shrimp, and at the time I hadn’t thawed them, so it was a great way to warm them up. If you will be doing that yourself, just be careful not to overcook the shrimp. Shrimp is fully cooked when it forms a “c” in shape. If the shrimp looks like an “o” then is will be over cooked, and tougher to eat. This recipe made 4-5 adult sized portions.

What You Will Need

  • 2/3 cup Pesto
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Pasta Water
  • 1 1/2 cup Rotini Pasta
  • 1 1/2 Cup Shrimp
  • Large frying pan
  • Large sauce Pan & Colander

Directions

  1. In a large sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Add rotini and cook until al dente. Reserve pasta water before straining.
  2. In a large frying pan, add pesto, sugar, and parmesan. Heat over low heat and combine.
  3. Add Cooked Pasta and pasta water to Pesto. Stir together and heat for a 3-5 minutes over low heat. Serve immediately.

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