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Slow Cooker Pizza Casserole
Oh so yummy
As I have mentioned, there are a ton of recipes for this very dish out there, and each call for different pastas to include when you start combining in the slow cooker. That being said, I have tried several of the different options and despite all the different choices, I have found there are only two specific ones I prefer:
Since everyone has different tastes, there are sure to be those who will disagree, but my reasoning for these two revolves around the simple realization they never really dry out like some of the other pastas I have tried in this dish! Another option which has worked with similar results is the ziti, however, I am partial to the two I have listed here.
Pizza is an Instant Favorite
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a full-time student, work full-time, and here recently added the line of co-owning a business with my husband, so I am always on the lookout for great and easy slow cooker recipes. My family teases that for years, my mother held the title "Crock Pot Queen" but in the past couple of years, this has shifted to me as she has moved to request a number of my recipes and using them herself. On the same note, however, I also know she keeps 3-6 slow cookers so she can interchange and switch out and always have a slow cook available. Looks like it is in our genes!
That being said, it is definitely time to move to the interesting points. Let's be honest, one of kids favorite meals involves pizza (and even some adults), but sometimes, you want something a little different than the simple frozen pizza or a specialty order from your favorite pizza joint. That's one of the reasons I absolutely love this recipe! It has all the flavor and flare of a pizza, but can be prepped quickly and tossed in the slow cooker for an excellent evening meal. Plus, if you are a fan of pasta, this manages to capture both the flavor of the pizza with the addition of a pasta, so it is definitely an instant winner!
Not only this, but I am sure you can play around and find some of your own additions (or maybe you prefer to elect a few subtractions) so that you can discover the flavor not only for yourself, but for your entire family. Add some new flavors, change some old ones around.. I am still testing and altering this to see if I can discover something really similar that is like hubby's favorite: BBQ Chicken Pizza Casserole. Hopefully this will accomplished here shorthly!
Believe when I say, there are a ton of recipes out there for this very recipes, some are good, some not-so-good, and it is with some altering, combinations and various other changes that I have finally discovered the recipe I love and prefer. This "created" combination is perhaps my favorite approach to this wonderful and easy meal! I definitely would love to hear any suggestions or new ideas that may want to share!
Are there really any benefits to preparing this in the slow cooker?
Okay, I know a lot of people are wondering if there is really any benefit to this becoming a slow cooker meal. The truth is, to each person the answer is different. Maybe you are like me and want something you can toss together on a lunch break and forget about until dinner; or maybe you need to prepare a covered dish to take to some type of function. Who knows. Ultimately, the question you should be asking is there any need for a recipe like this in my armory?
For me, the answer was simple. I have two step children who absolutely love pizza and I needed something I could toss together during a lunch break (yes, I do work from home, but believe me, that doesn't make my job easy) and that could be prepared by dinner time so I wouldn't have to scramble around and all of us suffer from having a meal too late. It is just one of the many reasons this has been added to my armory of favorite recipes. It fits into an easy rotation and can be easily tossed together with little time out of my day. Plus, as I have mentioned, it is great for those times when you want to prepare a covered dish for some type of function that is sure to be a favorite.
Don't Be Afraid to Experiment
I cannot think of a single time I haven't expressed the importance of being comfortable with experimenting with recipes. Each person has his/her own tastes and preferences and when you are cooking, you are searching for something that suites these tastes and flavors. It is one of the reasons that I have always taken the time to seek out several recipes, take bits and pieces from each one and then created my own. While there are occassions when I may have been mistaken in my choices, I normally find the perfect flavor for myself and my family. This is why I always encourage everyone to do the exact same thing; or if you prefer, take this recipe, and tweek it to your own unique tastes and ideas. Some ideas in this one include adding olives or mushrooms (minus one person, no one in our household likes these). It is something so tiny that can make a recipe suit what you are looking for and not just another "it is okay, but something is missing."
Not only that, encourage your family to become involved. Everyone in a household have different tastes and maybe hearing a suggestion my add something new that you hadn't thought of before. Take a deep breath and then take the plunge. Food and cooking are meant to be fun and delicious at the same time, not a chore or bland!
Fun and Enjoyable!
What Do I Need?
- 1 1/2 lbs. Ground Beef
- 1 med. Diced Onion, (We prefer yellow or red)
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
- 1 Green Pepper, diced
- 1 pkg. Turkey Pepperoni
- 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp. Oregano
- 42 oz. Pizza Sauce
- 1 pkg. Pasta (Slightly undercooked), (We prefer Penne or Rigatoni)
- 2 c. Shredded Cheese, (We prefer Mozzarella)
- Begin by liberally spraying the slow cooker with Pam, or something similar.
- Brown the ground beef with the onions and peppers. Then drain and rinse.
- In a paper towel, heat the pepperoni 15-20 seconds between two paper towels and remove any excess grease.
- In large bowl, combine ground beef mixture, garlic, pizza sauce, and pepperoni.
- Beginning with the pasta, layer pasta, beef mixture, and then mozerrela cheese (approximately 3 layers of 3) ending with the cheese.
- Cook on low for 3 hours. Then serve!
The one time I added olives for others to enjoy
A Small Side Note
Here's a small side note when preparing sides to go with this meal. In our family, this meal has proven to be complimented excellently with a spinach side salad and my cheesy garlic bread recipe. Just like with pasta, the sides need to be light and an inclusion of garlic bread really helps nurture the flavor. Bearing this in mind, I have also decided to include the recipe I use for my garlic bread as an attached recipe, which is really simple (and while you can discover a similar compliment by including the frozen style, we still prefer this). So, as you scan down, you can discover the recipe I use to compliment many of my pasta style dishes! I really hope you enjoy!
(P.S. Since I am only allowed one recipe per hub, this recipe will be laid out a little differently, but should be easy enough to figure out!)
The Perfect Side with Pasta
What You Need
- 4-8 slices of Texas Toast BBQ Bread
- 3 tbsp. Butter
- 1 tbsp. Minced Garlic
- 1-1 1/2 c. Shredding Mozzarella Cheese
What To Do:
- In a small sauce pan, melt the butter on low.
- Once melted, stir the minced garlic in and spoon/spread over the toast.
- Top with the shredded cheese.
- Place in oven on Hi Broil, watching closely until the cheese began to brown lightly.
- Time to enjoy!
Now if you have a little more time...
Occassionally, I have some time to spare, so I want to do something really special with the garlic bread side. I am also including a copy of the youtube video where I discovered an amazing Cheesy Monkey Garlic Bread. Unfortunately, it does take around 55 minutes to make, so you really need to have a few minutes to spare for dinner if you want to make this. Another note that is mentioned in the video (that I cannot vouch if it is true or not because the bread disappears too fast), is that the recipe needs to be served immediately or it may get hard, so this second option will not work if you are going to a potluck, unless you can bake it there and have about an hour to spare!