Sorry the picture isn't better. I almost forgot to take one at all because I was starving to death. I just wanted to get busy eating.
This is Pasta Alforno. I got the recipe from here (click) It's from a blog called French Knots that I have in my google reader. She doesn't have a regular recipe for this which totally works for me! I'm a throw things in and go with it kind of girl.
Here is the "recipe"
1 bottle Barilla marinara
One can stewed tomatoes
Seasonings that you like such as Bay leaves, Italian Seasoning, Oregano, Dry onion, minced garlic
She suggested using the Barilla Marinara so that's what I got. I had never bought that before. I liked it! I used one jar. I also used a store bought can of Italian flavored stewed tomatoes since that is all I (Well really Maggie, I had to borrow some) had. I dumped in at least a cup of mozzarella cheese. I don't know exact amounts, I just eyeballed it. I had some ground beef that I had browned with garlic and onions and seasoning. I threw that in the pot too. I added some bay leaves and oregano. She suggest Italian Seasoning but I don't think I used that. I them put in a whole cup of heavy cream. You are suppose to let it simmer for 20 minutes. I don't think I waited that long but it was close.
I cooked a bag of penne pasta about half way (she said it would finish getting soft in the over) and then I drained it and put it in a baking dish. I poured the sauce over it, stirred it up and baked it. I added parmesan cheese to the top, covered it and baked it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
I thought it was really yummy. I loved the cream and cheese in the sauce. They are two of my favorite things LOL! I served it with garlic bread and a nice salad and we were set. It made a lot for our family so next time I think I will try freezing half. I'm not sure it will work but it's worth a try right? Paul liked it. He's not a huge fan of ground beef or red sauces but he happily ate it. Emma liked it too. She didn't love it but liked it. For me that's enough. Andrew was at a birthday party so he didn't try it. I'm guessing he wouldn't like it since he hates most pasta dishes.
This will probably become my go to meal for taking dinner in to someone when they are ill or have had a baby. It's mild flavor should be liked by most, unless you are Andrew, and it is a hearty comfort meal.
The other recipe I tried is called Burning Feather's Italian Beef. I got the recipe from the message board that I spend too much time at. It is way, way, way, easy and a nice change from a regular crock pot roast.
Mix in crock pot:
1 (1.25 oz) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 t. oregano
1 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. basil
1 t. dried parsley
1 large clove garlic, smashed
3/4 cup water
Place on mixture:
3 lbs. Roast (I usually use a rolled beef roast or a chuck roast, whatever is on sale!)
Cook on high all day, or until meat is tender. Turn it over every now and then if you can. If not, that's okay too! Shred the meat, let it simmer in its own juice for a while, and serve on buns or hard Italian rolls.
This is what it looked like before it started cooking.
This is what it looked like after it was cooked and shredded.
My crock pot cooks extremely hot. You can actually turn things black in there so I have to be very careful. I bought the cheapest roast I could find and didn't put it in until noon so it wouldn't over cook. It wasn't as tender as it should have been by 5-6 pm but once I shredded it and got it mixed into the juices it started to tenderize more. I left it simmering while we ate and the stuff that got left behind was really good. Next time I will put it in earlier and just keep a close eye on it and add water as needed. Once it is tender I will shred it and set it to warm and let it sit. I think it will have more flavor.
We served this on rolls with a baked potato and something else that I am totally forgetting. Hmmm. That's going to bug me. Wait! It was carrots. Roasted basil carrots. That's what it was. Anyway, Paul and I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. I had bought some pasta salad from the deli and at it with chips. I liked it like that a lot. I think I would even eat it cold the next day if it wasn't butt freezing cold, but since it was we warmed it up.
Andrew liked it enough to eat it but I don't think he loved it. Emma ate it too but it wasn't a favorite. Paul liked it and I liked it! Overall it's pretty amazing that we all ate it. I will make this again and again because it is so easy, you get so many meals out of it and I always have the ingredients on hand. Besides the meat (which wasn't much at all, under $10) it's a super cheap meal too considering all the servings we got out of it.