October 10, 2016

Slow Cooker Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese (with Tillamook cheese!)

This slow cooker macaroni and cheese recipe is so easy!  It’s not fancy but it is flavorful. And I love that you know exactly what’s in it – as opposed to the boxed stuff. And I used my absolute favorite cheese, Tillamook!

This recipe is from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook (Amazon) – a cookbook I bought in preparation for this Crock-tober series and I have really enjoyed the book!


1 1/2  cups skim or low-fat milk

One 15-ounce can evaporated skim milk

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

Large pinch of black pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese (I used my favorite, Tillamook cheese!)

8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups) – this is HALF the box

2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese 


1.) Coat your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In a separate bowl combine low-fat and evaporated milks, egg, salt and papper in the cooker and whisk until smooth. Add the cheese and uncooked macaroni – stir it in softly.

2.) Pour mixture into slow cooker and cook on low for 3.5 to 4 hours. Mine was done in only about 2.5 hours! Watch it, you don’t want it to overcook. If you overcook it the sides will burn and dry out.

3.) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook – $11.41

Here are other Slow Cooker Crockpot recipes we’ve recently posted:

See Amazon’s best selling slow cookers and Crockpots here

October 23, 2015

Crockpot Lasagna Soup recipe


Oh my goodness. If you like lasagna – you must try this recipe for Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup. It is creamy, rich, cheesy and just like a homemade lasagna – without all the layering and work that comes with making a lasagna. Not that I’ve ever made a lasagna before, I should confess to that. But now that I’ve made lasagna soup – in my slow cooker of all things – I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to make a labor intensive lasagna! Why bother! I think this would be a perfect meal to make on a Sunday and invite all your family over for dinner. They’ll be super impressed and you’ll be happy because you spent so little time in the kitchen.

Okay, I’ll stop raving about it now and just get right into the recipe.


19 ounces italian sausage links, cut into bite-size pieces
This is the typical size for the Johnsonville italian sausage packages. If you have more, or less, it won’t matter much. Just add what you have or however much you want.

1 onion diced finely
My husband could live without this all together. They still have a bit of crunch even after 8 hours in the crockpot. Your call.

5 garlic cloves minced

1 Tablespoon dried Oregano

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

One (1) 6 oz can of tomato paste

Two (2) 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
I used oregano, basil flavored tomatoes. Most recipes call for a 28-oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes, but I didn’t have this on hand. So I added a 4-oz can of fire-roasted chilies for that smokey flavor. If you use the fire-roasted tomatoes, you could probably leave out the 4 ounces of chilies.

One (1) 4 oz can of fire-roasted green chilies

2 bay leaves

6 Cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

10-12 ounces uncooked pasta
I used shells, but you could use whatever kind you have on hand!

Ricotta and shredded mozzarella cheese for topping



1.) In a large slow cooker (6 quart or larger probably) combine all the ingredients except pasta and cheeses. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

2.) For the last 30 minutes of cooking, add in your uncooked pasta.

3.) When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and add a dollop of ricotta and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. If you want to get fancy you can put it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the cheese has melted and started to brown. I admit – I tried this and nearly burned my cheese and the bowl was so hot, it was difficult to manage. I recommend just adding the cheese and stirring it in to melt. It won’t look as pretty, but it’s a lot less work.

You can also serve with garlic bread. I burned mine, so the chickens are eating it now. 🙂

Thanks to Back to Her Roots for the inspiration for this recipe!

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Come back and tell me what you think about it! I hope you like it as much as we did!


January 5, 2015

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe

Spaghetti-Sauce-Homemade-recipeHomemade spaghetti sauce on Pinterest

Homemade spaghetti sauce recipe

Homemade spaghetti sauce is really the only way to go if you want flavor, freshness and frugality. It’s so incredibly easy and makes a world of difference compared to the store-bought-jarred-or-canned-stuff.  I whipped up a batch of this homemade spaghetti sauce last night and I think it’s one of my best batches yet.

This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe could be made in the slow cooker, but you’ll still want to cook up the garlic, onions and beef before you toss it into the slow cooker. I used a Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-Quart Oval French Oven, Cherry (Amazon) – but any large pan will do.


Olive oil – 2 Tablespoons

Ground beef or turkey – about 2 pounds
I am an Alaskan girl, so I used moose meat 🙂

1 large onion – diced finely

Garlic cloves – 5 cloves, peeled and minced

Tomato sauce – 3 cans, 15 oz each

Diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano – 3 cans, 15 oz each

Tomato paste – 1 can, 12 oz

Brown sugar – 2 Tablespoons

Dried Oregano (or Italian seasoning mix) – 1 heaping Tablespoon

Dried Sweet Basil – 1 heaping Tablespoon

Bay leaves – two whole leaves (remove when done cooking)

Optional: Sliced fresh mushrooms (probably 12 – 16 oz), diced fresh red or yellow peppers, parmesan cheese


1.) In a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, add your olive oil. After it’s hot, toss in your diced onions and minced garlic. Cook until softened and slightly browned. Be careful, the garlic can burn if you’re not careful.

2.) Once your onions are cooked, toss in your ground beef (or turkey). Cook until it’s no longer pink. Drain any excess fat. (If the pan is hard to drain, use a turkey baster to remove grease.)


3.) Once your meat is no longer pink and the grease drained – toss in all the tomatoes, brown sugar and spices!

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May 29, 2014

Mozzarella-stuffed Turkey Meatballs {Freezer Meal}


Checkout this and other similar recipes on my Pinterest: Dinners board

Mozzarella-stuffed turkey meatballs

This week I lucked out and found some major markdowns on ground turkey and mozzarella – so I stocked up and I made the best of the deal by turning it into Mozzarella-stuffed turkey meatballs – one of our favorite freezer meals. It’s a super easy recipe and adding the mozzarella takes barely any extra time at all.

This recipes will make about 48 meatballs – for us this is about 4 meals. Each meatball is about 2 inches in diameter.



3.75 pounds of ground turkey (this is three (3) 20 oz containers)
I used Jennie-O Italian Seasoned variety because it’s what I found on sale. Any variety will work. I prefer the leaner meat.

12 oz mozzarella block, cut into 1/2 cubes, about 48 (this is usually how the round mozzarella loaves are sold)
I had a little bit of cheese left over, but not much! You can also use string cheese – cut into little squares. 

2 Cups bread crumbs

4 eggs beaten

4-5 garlic fresh cloves, minced
Add more if you really love garlic, less if you don’t!

2 Tablespoons dried Oregano or italian seasoning 

salt and pepper, to taste

Other ingredients you could consider – minced fresh onion, fresh or dried parsley or fresh parmesan cheese. 



1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with foil or Silpat baking sheets. (I didn’t do this and didn’t have too many issues with sticking).

2.) Toss ground turkey and all ingredients into a very large bowl.

3.) Using your hands (clean hands), gently mix the ingredients together. Try to mix as little as possible. The more you mix, the more likely your meatballs are to fall apart.


4.) Once ingredients are evenly combined, take a small handful of turkey and make a little patty. Press your thumb into middle of patty and place a piece of cheese inside indentation. Wrap turkey around cheese, sealing edges.

5.) Place meatball on cookie sheet (with edge) or broiler pan or on oven-safe grate inside cookie sheet (especially if you have higher fat content meat).


6.) Bake for about 25 minutes at 375 degrees, until thoroughly cooked through and lightly browned.

Serve your turkey meatballs with a homemade spaghetti sauce or a homemade roasted marinara sauce or with sauce from a jar (I won’t judge), pasta and some fresh mozzarella or parmesan cheese. These would also make great meatball subs! They’d also make great appetizers – just stick a toothpick inside hot meatballs and serve with marinara dipping sauce!



Freeze meatballs for up to 3 months. I usually just place mine in freezer bags in groups of 12. To thaw, take out the morning or evening before you plan to serve. Heat in marinara sauce or in the oven until heated throughout.


If you like this recipe, you might also like:

May 7, 2013

Roasted chicken pesto pasta salad

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Roasted Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad

We are still on a big budget challenge this month, so I’m trying to avoid the store as much as possible. Sunday I roasted two chickens I had in the freezer – with plans to eat leftovers the next day. I thought we would have roasted chicken salad, but I never made it to the store for fresh lettuce. So we had a roasted chicken pesto pasta salad.

The best thing about this meal is we had everything on hand. The pasta was in our stockpile, I made the pesto last fall and it was in the freezer, and I tossed it with pine nuts and parmesan.

freeze-pesto-in-small-batchesPin it.

Here are instructions for making homemade pesto. I make it anytime I can find basil on markdown at the grocery store. It freezes so well – I like to freeze it in 1 Tablespoon dollops in my mini muffin pan.

Roasting-Two-ChickensPin it.

Here are instructions for roasting your whole chickens. I almost always roast two at once – the amount of work is nearly the same as if you roast one, but you have leftovers the next day. Or if you’re in a hurry pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store.

To make the pasta salad:

1.) Boil your pasta per the instructions on the box. We used a wheat penne pasta.

2.) If your pesto is frozen (mine was), add it to a sauce pan with a little water and melt it over low to medium heat.

3.) Slice up your roasted chicken into bite size pieces.

4.) Drain your pasta, save a little pasta water (a couple Tablespoons) and pour into pesto. Heat pesto and heat up until it’s a consistency you like.

4.) In a large bowl toss together pasta, chicken and pesto. Stir well so pesto coats everything. Then shave real parmesan cheese on top and toasted pine nuts.

I wish I would had some big bella mushrooms or cherry tomatoes to add, but that would have required a trip to the store and money, which I’m trying to save.

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What’s your favorite pasta salad? What’s your favorite pesto meal?

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