I'm continuing to get a lot of heavy use out of my crock pot. I proselytize about it to anyone who will listen to me long enough. Here are some of the great points in it's favour:
1. It uses very little energy.
2. You can make your dinner in the morning when you are fresh and energetic.
3. You can have dinner on the table as soon as you get home from work.
4. You can wake up to a cooked breakfast (more on that in a later post).
5. You can save money by using cheaper cuts of meat that improve with long slow cooking. (more on that in a later post as well).
6. You can use it as a natural air freshener.
7. It makes a fantastic tomato sauce for pasta.
I absolutely love pasta with traditional tomato sauce. When I was a kid my dad worked nights and my mom worked days, so dad made us lunch. He would make spaghetti for my brother and me and it was one of our favourite meals. This was the 1960's, so we never called it pasta, the sauce was from a can, and the (always Kraft) Parmesan cheese was dried, poured from a plastic shaker, but we loved it.
I don't make a lot of tomato sauce because my husband isn't that fond of it, but I just had to try it in the crock pot. It turned out beautifully and I served it over my homemade pasta and my husband declared it the best tomato sauce I'd made. This was a total throw together recipe and the house smelled wonderful for the entire day. I wanted to make a simple sauce, but you could toss in any vegetables that you might have on hand in your refrigerator. Of course, it being January in Toronto, I had no access to fresh tomatoes, but go ahead and use them if you do.
Basic Tomato Sauce for Pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried chili peppers
1 28 ounce can tomatoes with juice, chopped coarsely
1/2 cup red wine
1 - 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
10-12 green olives
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for garnish
1. Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 -3 minutes. Add oregano, basil, thyme and peppers and cook for a couple of seconds. Add tomatoes with juice and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
2. Pour the contents of the skillet into the crock pot. Add red wine and stock. Cover and cook on low for about six hours or high for about 3.
Difficulty Level: Easy