Thursday, September 12, 2013

Crock Pot Wednesday: Cavatini

Getting ready to assemble my Crock Pot Cavatini and put it in the crock for the next day's lunch

I hesitate to share the "recipe" for my crock pot cavatini since it is not exactly a recipe. However, if my scrambled instructions and plan here cause other moms to "think outside the box" and see how you can literally throw a semi-healthy meal together in a very little time; how to use your freezer to help you with meal preps; how to feed a lot of people in a short time; how to use your crock pot even more; etc., then I am happy to share my "recipe."

If you have followed Crock Pot Wednesday for long then you are probably aware that I like to assemble a crock pot full of food on Tuesday morning (before my editing and writing work in the afternoon), stick it in the fridge, then pull it out and "crock" it on Wednesday morning for my sons and a couple of kids who stay with us overnight during our "cottage classes" on Wednesday to have for lunch. If we have any leftovers for Thursday  night's leftover night, that is even better! ;)

So here is what I did this week to assemble our Crock Pot Cavatini:

Ingredients (estimates)

1 to 2 lbs of precooked hamburger* 
1 lb of precooked ground sausage (also in the freezer bagged up)
1 to 2 lbs of pepperoni
1 lb of smoked sausage, sliced in rounds
1/2 to 1 lb of cheddar jack shredded cheese
1/2 to 1 lb of mozzarella cheese
tons of pasta (I used 24 oz of shells)
lots of pasta sauce (I used one huge warehouse store jar of sauce and a smaller can)
onions, green peppers, red peppers (also frozen from our garden)
mushrooms (optional)

1. In huge stock pot, boil pasta until al dente. (It is important that it not be fully cooked since it will get mushy in the crock pot as it is heating if it is fully done to begin with.)

2. While pasta is boiling, stir fry onions and both kinds of peppers in olive oil in small skillet.

3. Drain pasta and mix all ingredients together in a huge bowl until all is well-mixed.

4. Fold mixture into eight quart crock pot.

5. Place in refrigerator until ready to use it (covered).

6. Take from fridge to crock pot base and cook on low for a couple of hours until heated through and bubbly. (Time will vary based on your crock pot; mine is super hot, so I had to turn it down to keep warm after only two hours on low.)

*Notice in the picture that this ground beef came from my freezer; if I don't have hamburger in the freezer, I put ten pounds in my eight quart crock pot before I go to bed, turn it on low, and let it cook all night; then the next morning, I drain it and crumble it with an old "potato masher," bag some of it up to freeze, and use some of it in the recipe for the day.

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