Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti (Rotini)

I don’t do it nearly enough, but I really like cooking with crock pot. The convenience can’t be beat. And it’s a total time-saver. Hmm..I guess the reason why I don’t use it often is because I don’t know enough crock pot recipes, but I tried this one the other day that I think will become a staple in our household this winter.

Anna likes the meaty marinara pasta from Pizza Hut so I made this Slow Cooker Baked Ziti (except I used rotini pasta) a couple Saturdays ago. I think the kids slept in that day, so by the time they woke up and came downstairs, I had already threw everything in the crock pot. Then I let it cook while we went about our day. 4-5 hours later, we had a hot meal waiting for us! It was great, we ate it all up. I am not a cheese-y person so I pretty much halved the amount of cheese called for in the original recipe, but use more if you love cheese.

Slow Cooker Baked Ziti (Rotini)

1/4 lb ground pork
2 Italian sausage links (casings removed)
1 medium onion, chopped
A dash of garlic powder
2 (25 ounces) jars pasta sauce + a touch more
1/3 (15 ounces) container ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 (16 ounce) box rotini pasta

Cook ground pork, sausages, and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until meat is no longer pink. Stir in garlic powder to evenly coat meat; stir in pasta sauce. Set aside.

Mix 1 cup mozzarella, the ricotta, and parmesan in a medium bowl. Spray the entire crock pot with Pam. Spoon 2 cups of meat sauce into the crock pot and top with 2 cups rotini. Drop half of the cheese mixture, by rounded tablespoons, over rotini and carefully spread over rotini using back of spoon. Layer with 2 cups meat sauce, the remaining rotini, and remaining cheese. Add remaining meat sauce, completely covering all the rotini and cheese.

Cook on high for 1 hour, then low for 3-4 hours or until noodles are tender. (I cooked on high for an hour while we were still at home, eating breakfast and getting ready. When we left home, I turned it down to low.)

Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle food with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella; let stand 10 minutes until melted. Serve directly from crock pot.

Preparation took about 20 minutes...
Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
The result was flavorful, not too dry not too saucy. Anna nearly cleaned her plate!
IMG_0581
This recipe is definitely a keeper. I am going to try using lasanga noodles next time!

3 comments:

  1. Yum, getting really hungry just thinking about this dish. Can't wait to try the next crock pot pasta dish.

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  2. I need to try this recipe! looks yummy and the fact that the kids love it is a bonus! I love my crock pot! thanks for sharing!

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  3. Thank you for sharing. Rotini is one of our favorite pastas and I was looking for a slow cooker version as I need to work today but am taking a pasta dish to a women's gathering this evening.

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