Thursday, September 18, 2014

Recipe: (I Forgot To Put It In The) Crockpot Tortellini

I love to find new recipes.  I have approximately 297,403,691 recipes stashed away for later use...they're scattered in cookbooks, emails, my Pinterest account, my phone, and in my school bag.  "Someday I'm going to make that!"  "OOOOO that looks delicious." "That would be perfect for Christmas." "If only I had three springform pans...then I could totally rock that layer cake recipe."  

Basically, I find recipes and never make ANY of them.

That is, until I re-discovered the glorious beauty of the CROCK POT.

I love you, Crock Pot.

When we moved into our new house, I unpacked ours and placed it on the counter...and it hasn't moved since.  I have had loads of fun finding things to make for supper and everything has passed the Tom test -- he's not picky by any means, but he has loved every new recipe I've made in it.

This week, I had a tortellini recipe all set to try on Tuesday.  The sauce is cooked in the crock pot for 4-6 hours on low, then the frozen pasta is thrown in at the end.  Super easy.  Well, Tuesday came along and during the school day I remembered that I'd forgotten to put the ingredients in and set the timer.  Whoops!

With no other supper plans in mind, I decided to try it anyway and just set everything in my Dutch oven to simmer for a while after school.  It turned out perfectly!

Here is the simple 7-step recipe:

1.  Brown 1/2 lb Italian sausage (I used Johnsonville) and 1/2 lb ground beef in a Dutch oven.

 2.  Let it go until the bottom of the pot looks like this:

3.  ...then dump in some red wine.  (this isn't in the original recipe but I don't make red sauce without wine anymore)
This red's name is "Intermingle."  It came from Aldi and wasn't the best.  Shelby and Loni and I tried it during the last Vino Vednesday, and threw most of it down the drain after we found it has a very bitter aftertaste.  It was only $4 so maybe next time I'll splurge and get the $6 bottle :)

4.  As the wine bubbles, scrape up all the bits off the bottom of the pot.

5.  Break a cooking rule and dump in a jar of Prego sauce.
(I don't actually know whose rule that is, but I assume it's a party foul to add jarred sauce according to somebody important in the cooking world.)

6.  Add a can of diced tomatoes with the juice.  I used Hy Vee brand with onion and garlic, I think.

7.  Get it to a simmer, then reduce the heat.  This is the beginning of something magical, people.  

 9.  Forget that your new house has an electric, flat-top stove which makes the Dutch oven handles HOT.  Grab the side of the pan and burn the crap out of your hand.  Yell a few choice words at your stove and cry because you miss your lovely gas stove with dependable heat levels.

10.  Get over yourself and be thankful you have a stove.  Remind yourself to not be such a ding-bat next time you reach for a hot pan.

11.  Get your cute new pot holders out of the cupboards and take a selfie with them.

12.  Set the timer for an hour or so, and let 'er rip.  By "rip," I mean "gently simmer."
 mmmmmmmm...revel in the gorgeousness...
13.  Check on your napping baby and whisper sweet nothings, aka "I'm so glad you're asleep right now" into his cute little ears.

14.  Realize there is a little bit of the "bad wine" left in the measuring cup and pour it into a glass.  These are glasses that I got in Prague when my choir toured Europe in 2002.  Aren't they pretty?
Even bad wine tastes good in a pretty glass.  

15.  While the sauce is working away, take care of some other random kitchen and household chores, like washing baby bottle parts and hanging the nipples on the nipple tree. 

16.  Giggle at the fact you have something in your house called a "nipple tree."

17.  Notice the too-ripe bananas, which are way too ugly to be sitting on such a cute little tray (which was kindly given to us by our beautiful neighbor Danika).  

18.  Write a mental note to make banana bread before an army of fruit flies takes over your house.

19.  Finally, when the hour is over, dump in the frozen pasta, turn the heat off, and cover.  In 10 minutes supper is done!

20.  Serve with salad, bread and a snuggly baby.  (no actual bread in the photo because we were all out)

Okay so it's 20 steps instead of 7.  Try the recipe, it's great!

The next one I'm going to try is called "Autumn Delight."  Why on earth would someone name a beef/mushroom soup/onion soup/egg noodle recipe AUTUMN DELIGHT?!

Happy Crocking!

Love, Betsy

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