1. SPAGHETTI MEATBALL SOUP
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound lean ground beef
White wine or broth to deglaze pan optional
1 small onion chopped
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
5 cloves garlic minced
2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/2- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 whole bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces dry uncooked spaghetti
In a large bowl combine the onion, garlic, oats, milk, cheese, egg, worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Mix well then add in the ground beef and mix just until combined. Heat a large skillet with a little olive oil and shape meatballs into small 1" balls. Add to skillet and cook just until browned on all sides. Don't worry if they aren't cooked all the way through they will finish cooking in the slow cooker.
While the meatballs are browning add the soup ingredients EXCEPT for the spaghetti to a large 6 quart slow cooker. Stir well to combine. Add in the meatballs then cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours. In the last 15-20 minutes of cooking add in the uncooked spaghetti. (I like to break it in half) Serve immediately garnished with additional Parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella if desired.
This soup will thicken quite a bit when cooled. If you have leftovers and would like it to be more like soup thin it with a little extra broth.
2. PESTO MOZZARELLA CHICKEN PASTA
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup jarred pesto
1/4 cup salted butter
These items don't get added until the end
1 lb. rotini cooked and drained
1/2 cup parmesan
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 tsp. dried basil to garnish
Slow Cooker Size 6 Quart or larger
Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Spread over the pesto, squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. Cut the butter into slices and lay over the chicken.
Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours without opening the lid during the cooking time.
Near the end of the cooking time, cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain well.
Shred the chicken with 2 forks. Add the cooked pasta and the parmesan cheese, stir everything until the pasta is coated with the buttery pesto sauce and the chicken is evenly dispersed throughout the pasta. Add the mozzarella cheese over the pasta. Cover for about 15 more minutes or until the cheese has melted.
3. BEEF STEW
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons flour
1.5 pounds beef stewing meat, in chunks
2 large yellow onions, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup red wine, OR use more stock
2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons salt, or less, depending on what kind of stock you're using
Black pepper, to taste
3 large waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 large carrots, peeled, ends trimmed and cut into chunks
4 large celery sticks, trimmed and thickly sliced
1/2 pound brown mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup frozen peas, no need to defrost
Brown the meat: Heat the oil in a large and deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes and stir. Sprinkle the flour over the meat and stir well. Cook until the beef is browned on all sides (do not stir too much, or the beef will not brown properly). Remove to a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
Start the gravy: Put the skillet back over medium high heat. If needed, add a little more oil. Cook the onions until starting to brown. Stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the herbs are fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour the red wine into the pan, scratching the browned bits off the bottom. Cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the stock, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil (this will help the stew start cooking faster once it is in the crock), then switch off the heat.
Transfer to the slow cooker: On top of the meat, place the potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, thyme and bay leaves. Very carefully (!) ladle the hot liquid from the skillet into the crockpot, making sure the liquid runs down all the way to the bottom and underneath the meat (stir a little if needed).
Cook: Cook the stew on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours. 10 minutes before cooking time is over, stir in the peas. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed. Either finish cooking with the lid open (if you want a thicker stew) OR closed if you want it soupier.
4. TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Lightly coat a 4 to 5-quart crock pot insert with cooking spray. Place a piece of parchment paper, that is large enough to extend halfway up the sides in the bottom of the crock pot. Lightly spray parchment paper with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
Place butter and chopped chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave another 30 seconds. If not completely melted, continue microwaving until melted.
Add sugar to chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
Whisk in eggs and vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture just until flour is moistened. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips.
Pour batter into crock pot, smoothing out the top with a rubber spatula.
Cover and cook on LOW 3 1/2 hours. Uncover and continue to cook on LOW for 30 minutes.
Remove insert from crockpot and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Cooking time will vary. If your crock pot runs a little hot, shorten the cooking time. The middle will look underdone, but will firm up as the brownies cool.