Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Easy cooking - Crockpot spaghetti

Is it just our house or is summer crazier than the school year?  We start with tennis lessons in the morning, then swim team practice, move on to the stage for play rehearsal for one while the other is at tennis practice number two, then to swim meets and basketball games or practice.  Some time in there, we're home or, at least, pass by close to our house.  We barely have time to stop and eat, so I really don't have time to cook.  Other than feeding them chicken nuggets on the go, what's the other options?  Yes - the rice pot and crock pot - busy mom's saving cooking appliances.

Here's a quick, easy dinner I put together in the crock pot.  It's sure to be in the summer rotation, along with quesadillas (quick, easy, portable, great use of leftover meats) and kimbap (or sushi rolls as everyone calls them, but with no sushi).  Try it and let me know what you think.

Crock-pot Spaghetti
1 lb. ground beef/turkey
1 box of spaghetti
2 cans of diced or stewed tomatoes
Seasoning - basil, garlic, pepper, oregano
1 bottle chili sauce or 1 can tomato paste

1.  Season and brown ground meat in a skillet, set aside.
2.  In the crock-pot, layer the remaining ingredients, with the uncooked spaghetti (break in half to fit, if necessary) on the bottom.
3.  Pour in about 1/2 can of water.
4.  Layer cooked ground meat on top of other ingredients.
5.  Turn crock-pot to Low.  Let cook for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Everything's ready to cook - spaghetti, seasonings, tomatoes.

A few notes:
- whenever I cook ground meat, I like to cook more than I need and save some - this is great to put together some quesadillas or fried rice for a quick meal the next day.
- I used chili sauce because that's what I had in the pantry.  You could also use tomato paste.  Either will work, but you need something to thicken the sauce.

I couldn't even get a picture before they ate it all!

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