Simple Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat (with Rice, Potatoes, or Pasta)

Did you know that life is terribly unfair? It’s not fair that we let our youngest son go to camp by himself at age 11 but we made his brothers wait until they were 12. It’s not fair that one boy got more ice cream than his brothers. And it’s not fair that our entire family had to smell this Stew Meat cooking all day but couldn’t eat it until the evening came.

Torture. Smelling this meat cooking all day is torture, I tell you.

Slow cooker stew meat

Honestly, it doesn’t look like much in the picture. But the flavor of this meat is incredible because of the simple seasonings you sprinkle on. The crock pot does the work of cooking this slow and low so that the meat becomes tender and juicy. Then you add cream at the end to finish it off to perfection.

Having Ranch Dressing Mix and Onion Soup Mix on hand makes putting this meal into the crock pot very quick. As you probably expected, I didn’t thaw my stew meat ahead of time. I just pulled it from the freezer and put it directly into the crock pot. Easy, easy, easy!

Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat

Simple Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat (with Rice or Pasta)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds beef stew meat
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. In a crock pot, stir together stew meat, seasoning mixes, and water.
  2. Put a stick of butter on top.
  3. Place lid on crock pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  4. Add cream and heat for another 10 minutes.
  5. Serve over rice or pasta

Simple Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat

We really loved this stew meat over steamed brown rice. But it would be equally wonderful served over mashed or baked potatoes, or even whole grain pasta!

Keep in mind that if you do make mashed potatoes to go with this meat, you must make them in the simplest way possible! (I suppose this would require that you have two crock pots though. Hmm…)

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Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast (5 Minute Prep!)

I first attempted this Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast recipe about a month ago on a busy night in which I was feeding out of town guests who had come to watch our youngest son, Malachi, perform in our local Children’s Theater production.

hawaiian roast beef

Malachi is the first of all our kids to choose to be involved in theater. It is a gross understatement to say that before this summer, I knew nothing about being a theater mom.

I kept calling the costumes “uniforms” because I have been a sports mom for so many, many years. But more difficult than this is the fact that I volunteered to help create said costumes. What in the world was I thinking?

Well, I’ll tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking that since all parents needed to be involved in some way with helping to pull off a huge 50-kid theater production, volunteering to help with costumes would be a better choice for me than volunteering to put on stage make-up. No way, no how should I be allowed to attempt to paint a child’s face.

I showed up to the first costume meeting where about 10 talented moms joined to talk to the director about all the costume needs. For two entire hours, everyone sat and discussed costumes – in German. Thoroughly lost while hearing all the words I didn’t understand, I eventually asked the director a question. He kindly said, and I quote, “Blah, blah, blah, stuff, stuff, blah. Does that make sense?” [DEER IN HEADLIGHTS]

I wanted to exit back stage left. Please someone tell me where I can sign up to bake cookies!!! Deliver me from trying to understand how to put together uniforms! I mean costumes.

As it turned out, the other moms did a marvelous job creating fabulously impressive costumes. The make-up moms transformed kids’ faces so that they actually looked like daisies and rabbits and mice.

Malachi's play 1

In the meantime, I used my talent to write actors’ names on Wal-mart bags with a sharpie so we could keep track of each character’s gloves, socks, and shoes. Rock on.

When all was said and done, I had so much fun meeting theater parents and kids from our community that I would join the costume committee again next year if I’m “needed.” I might even remember to stop calling them “uniforms.”

malachi's play 2

So this roast recipe. It’s so simple you can throw it into the crock pot to cook all day without exerting any effort. You can set out plates and direct your guests to help themselves to the roast as you head out the door to go help 30 sweet girl actors between the ages of 7-17 don their hedgehog, cook, queen, and daisy costumes as you pretend with all your might that you actually know what you’re doing.

Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast

Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast (5 Minute Prep!)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound beef roast (frozen or thawed!)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 20-ounce can of pineapple, drained (or 2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple)
Instructions
  1. Place roast in crock pot.
  2. Pour barbecue sauce over the top.
  3. Add pineapple.
  4. Cook on low for 10 hours if roast is frozen and 8 hours is roast is thawed.

Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast

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How to Make Cheesecake in a Crock Pot (Crustless! Low Sugar!)

You know how I eat these Fat Bombs every day? Well, I also eat one of these Low Sugar Mini Cheesecakes every day.

easy-mini-crustless-baked-cheesecake

They are lightly sweet, filling, and full of good fat and protein.

So what’s a girl to do when she runs out of her Mini Cheesecakes on a hot day in the summer? She certainly doesn’t want to turn on the oven to bake more for herself. And I think we all know the waffle iron just won’t work for something like this (but don’t think I didn’t at least consider it for one insane moment).

cheesecake12

How to Make Cheesecake in a Crock Pot

How to Make Cheesecake in a Crock Pot
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 full droppers of liquid stevia
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a crock pot.
  3. Cook on low for 3- 3½ hours or until the center of the cheesecake is no longer liquid.
  4. Turn off crock pot, remove lid, and allow it to sit for 1-2 hours to cool.
  5. Transfer cheesecake to the fridge to chill for 3-4 hours before serving.
  6. Cut into 12 slices.

How to Make Cheesecake in the Crock Pot

I forgot to mention – this Crock Pot Cheesecake is crustless. (I’m so used to eating them this way, I forget cheesecakes are supposed to have crusts. Ha!)

This same idea will work to make these Low Sugar Brownie Cheesecakes in the Crock Pot. Follow the recipe on this page and the directions above to make a chocolate version.

Or, if you want some No-Bake Cheesecake Varieties, check out the list below.

Can’t wait to hear how you like this Cheesecake in a Crock Pot idea!

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Simple Crock Pot Taco Pasta

After experimenting with the Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta and discovering that we can dump uncooked pasta into a crock pot, then walk away and come back to a finished meal a few hours later, I’ve been on a mission to see what other varieties of pasta our crock pots can cook for us.

Not that cooking pasta is difficult, but if we can even skip that step in our real food culinary endeavors, we can consider all of life a vacation. The conversation can go something like this:

Person: What do you do all day?
You and Me: I spend a lot of time not cooking pasta.

We can expand the conversation by explaining that we also spend a lot of our time not thawing meat, and an additional portion of our day not soaking beans. We have become experts at all the kitchen tasks we don’t do while still managing to put amazing, real food meals on the table.

This Simple Meals life is beautiful, isn’t it?!

The Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta really saved my neck one day recently when I had only three hours to make a meal for a table full of last minute company. I grabbed a package of pasta and two jars of sauce from my pantry, dumped it all in the crock pot and did not go back into the kitchen until time to serve the cooked meal along with some fresh fruit and fresh greens from our garden.

The Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole would have worked just as nicely. And today I will show you how to turn this Simple Skillet Taco Pasta recipe into an effortless crock pot recipe.

crock pot taco pasta1

The first time I made this was a day I had to have one kid out the door by 8:00, another kid and my husband out the door by 8:50, myself out the door by 10:00, and lunch on the table for my entire family plus a house guest by 12:30. I had some leftover taco meat in the fridge, so I dumped it into the crock pot with a package of dry pasta, stirred in two jars of salsa, and added some water. I sprinkled in some sea salt and left the house.

When I came home at 12:15, I stirred the delicious smelling meal, spread on some shredded cheese, and let the food sit while I got out grapes and salad. Lunch was served within minutes of me not being home to cook. I am so grateful for recipes like this!

Crock Pot Taco Pasta

If you don’t want to wait 2-3 hours for this casserole to cook itself in the crock pot, simply follow this Simple Skillet Taco Pasta version instead. It’ll be ready in about 20 minutes from start to finish. But for the I don’t have one minute to spare days...

Simple Crock Pot Taco Pasta

Simple Crock Pot Taco Pasta
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground taco meat (cooked)
  • 16-ounces whole grain pasta (uncooked)
  • 32-ounces salsa
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. Stir all ingredients into a crock pot.
  2. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  3. Stir mixture.
  4. Top with cheese and let sit for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Simple Crock Pot Taco Pasta

Obviously it helps to make this recipe easier if you have some leftover meat all cooked and ready to go. I love using seasoned hamburger meat, but leftover Shredded Ranch Chicken would work great too. Any time I’m making seasoned meat, I always make extra so I can use leftovers in salads or meals like this!

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Do you have any other great ideas for me as for sauces to cook pasta in the crock pot?

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Simple Barbecue Beef Roast (2 Minute Prep!)

Before I tell you about the easiest Barbecue Beef Roast on the planet earth, I must ask this:

How did we ever get through life without knowing how to make the Easiest Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes?? I don’t even know.

Well, I guess I do know. I had given up on making mashed potatoes altogether. Never able to fit it into my schedule, or not wanting to mess with the mess if I did have time – I just stopped making them. We’ve been through all this.

But now that I know I can make them like this and it takes almost no effort, time, or clean-up? I’ve made them for my family at least once each week since.

My children are so happy. My husband is so happy. But I am the happiest because I feel like a great big champion when I’ve made not just a delicious, wholesome dinner but fantastic mashed potatoes too. I feel like a rock star. Mashed potatoes have made me a rock star.

I obviously measure success in ways that no one else does. Everyone else can have their fame, fortune, fancy boats, big houses, and cool cars. We have our mashed potatoes. This is what dreams are made of.

bbq roast beef

Well, perhaps it’s time to move on to information about the Barbecue Beef Roast?

This new recipes is even easier than the potatoes, which of course, is saying something. So if you happen to have two crock pots, you can make both of these on the same day and your family will stand up at the table and give you an ovation.

The first time I made this roast, I did this:

  • Walked to the freezer and got out a roast. (30 seconds)
  • Opened the package and put it into a crock pot. (20 seconds)
  • Got out some barbecue sauce and dumped it on the roast. (20 seconds)
  • Grabbed and onion, pulled off the outer layer, rinsed it, and quartered it, then threw it in with the meat. (40 seconds)
  • Plugged in the crock pot, turned it on low, walked away. (10 seconds)

This, my friends, is how we make dinner in 2 minutes.

My kids scrubbed the potatoes for me and we got those started in our second crock pot a couple hours later. At dinner time, we mashed the potatoes (2 minutes), steamed some green beans (30 seconds of “work”/5 minutes of cook time), and got out a bowl of fresh pineapple.

This dinner is glorious.

P.S. I considered making gravy but decided I had “worked” hard enough to make this dinner. So I chose to simply use the juice in the crock pot. That was still perfection.

Simple Barbecue Beef Roast

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Barbecue Beef Roast (2 Minute Prep!)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound beef roast, frozen or thawed
  • 1-2 cups BBQ sauce
  • 1-2 medium onions
Instructions
  1. Place roast in a crock pot (frozen is fine).
  2. Douse the meat with barbecue sauce.
  3. Quarter the onion and place in the crock pot.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours if frozen or 8 hours if thawed.

Simple Barbecue Roast Beef

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Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Of all the Simple Recipes I’ve been sharing around here, this Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole has proven to be the very simplest. Get this: No cooking necessary to make this recipe. A two-year-old could make this. Or a very busy adult. Either one will do.

pizza casserole1

This Simple Meal requires one dish (a crock pot) and thirty-seconds of prep (dump/stir/plug in). Your meal cooks itself.

As you can see from the above picture, I even cheated on my veggie side dish by simply setting out mixed greens and grape tomatoes. Therefore absolutely nothing about this meal took any work or actual cooking.

Now, you can add other cooked meats to this if you want. You can chop in some mushrooms and peppers if you want. None of those tasks take long, but they do take a few more minutes of prep. Sometimes I throw those veggies onto the table as side dishes, along with a can of black olives. Or, in a pinch, sometimes I skip it all and just throw out the mixed greens.

Either way, this meal is completely effortless, very inexpensive, and ridiculously good.

This spring, we’ve found this meal great to throw together before leaving for the soccer field. When we get home, we immediately get to sit down to an awesome, warm dinner. (Spring soccer is cold. I have done this cold soccer season for 15 years. When does it end?! Good thing my kids are worth it. Good thing I have a really great coat, and hat, and gloves, and fuzzy blanket. Good thing I can come home to warm comfort food at the end of my wind-blown, drizzly soccer cheering experience.)

Look how effortless this is —>

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 16-ounces UNCOOKED whole grain pasta
  • 50-ounces pizza or spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 6-ounces pepperoni
  • Optional: additional cooked meat, sliced olives, chopped sweet pepper, and/or sliced mushrooms
Instructions
  1. Stir uncooked pasta and pizza sauce in a crock pot.
  2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
  3. Stir.
  4. Top with shredded cheese and pepperoni.
  5. Cook for an additional 10 minutes on low to melt cheese.

Simple Crock Pot Pizza Casserole

Will your family love this, or what? But trust me: no one will love it as much as you. Because this recipes allows you to cook without cooking. It provides you a great meal without working for it.

And now, if we could all find ourselves such a thing as a Self-Cleaning Crock Pot. (Tip, I soak my crock overnight and everything comes clean easily in the morning. No need to scrub when soaking does the hard work for us, am I right?)

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Why I Don’t Make Broth in the Crock Pot

I’ll get right to the point.

I think it’s a fabulous idea to make homemade bone broth in the crock pot. But that doesn’t work for me and here’s why:

My crock pot only makes 3 quarts of broth at one time.

(It’s a 6-quart crock pot, but after the bones are strained out, the amount of broth only ends up being about 3 quarts.)

Instead of a crock pot, I make broth in my big stock pot, which makes almost 2 gallons at one time! (The same is true for applesauce. It absolutely doesn’t save me time to make a crock pot full of applesauce when I can make many quarts in my stock pot in much less time.)

broth in stock pot

My food prep mantra: Go big or go home.
Except that the food prep happens when I already am home. So…
Go big or go bigger.

Indeed, my stock pot makes almost three times the amount of broth (or applesauce) at one time compared to my crock pot. Since broth simmers slowly for several hours no matter what I cook it in, efficiency tells me to always use my stock pot.

In addition to this, I typically make two huge batches of broth in one day to make the most of my chicken or beef bones. I make one batch of broth when I’m cooking a couple of chickens. Then I strain the broth to put into jars, pull the chicken off the bones, and throw the bones back into the pot to make a second batch. In both batches, I throw several pounds of onions, carrots, and leeks. I get almost four gallons of broth in a day when I do this! (Read the following links for specifics on  how I make Chicken Broth and Beef Broth.)

This process gives us enough broth for soups and other recipes for about two weeks. It is awesome.

A Side Note: I Make Orange Chicken or Beef Broth

Let’s talk for a moment about all those veggies I cook into the broth. They get ridiculously mushy after cooking for so many hours, so I just blend them up and stir them back into the broth for added nourishment. You know what this means, don’t you? This means that my broth always turns a beautiful orange color.

How to Make Chicken Broth

A word to the wise:

If you follow this example of cooking and blending carrots/onions/leeks/celery/spinach into your broth, turning it a beautiful orange color – I suggest that you inform your family about the contents of the pretty orange liquid you’ve placed in jars in the fridge. Otherwise they might say, “Can I have some orange juice?” and you might absentmindedly say, “Sure” before you realize you don’t actually have any orange juice. And then your kid will take a big swig of chicken broth and almost puke.

Hypothetically.

It could happen I think.

I have no idea why my youngest won’t touch orange juice anymore.

Back to talking about the Stock Pot Broth Making Method

Now in a few years when all these strapping teenage sons of mine have left the nest (sniff) and I no longer need pounds and gallons and cases of food like I do now, might I go back to using my crock pot to make broth again?

I haven’t decided. I like efficiency. Broth freezes just fine, so I may always use the stock pot for broth-making to avoid having to make the mess as frequently.

And the truth is, I’m not even sure I remember how to make less than 16 quarts of something at once. We may enjoy a lot of leftovers (or company) until I can figure that out.

In the meantime,

This is why I don’t make broth in the crock pot.

Why I Don't Make Broth in my Crock Pot

How do you make your broth?

 

Simple Crock Pot Shredded Ranch Chicken (for Tacos or Salad)

Once again, feel free to make this new recipe even if you failed to thaw chicken ahead of time. (See also: Simple Crock Pot Chicken Soup with a KickSimple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot ChickenSimple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast, and Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp – all recipes that do not require thawing meat ahead of time.)

You might be thinking, “Do you ever plan ahead? Don’t you ever thaw your meat? This is what lists are for, Laura. Get yourself a planner!”

ranch chicken salad1

I do have a planner. And a calendar. And several phone reminder alarms that go off all week to remind me of important things to do and places to be.

But my planner, calendar, and phone can’t walk to the freezer to get out the chicken, now can they? So basically, frozen meat is what I have learned to deal with in this life, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. My crock pot gently says, “I’m here for you. I’ll thaw and cook your meat – all at the same time. So you just quickly throw it in here and go about your day.”

Hmm. I think I like my crock pot better than my planner. My crock pot saves my neck, makes my house smell amazing so as to make people think I’m actually working at today’s food, then kindly provides my family with dinner. Meanwhile my planner just bosses me around and tells me what to do all day. Rude.

Planner? You could learn a thing or two from Crock Pot. And Phone Alarms? You need to just sssshhhhhhhhhussshhh once in a while. I heard you the first four times you went off. I know I have a deadline. Can you not see that I’m down on the floor trying to sort through these tax forms? Seeing as you are way over there in the other room, one cannot expect me to just bounce off the floor and spring into the kitchen to swipe your sound off. I can’t afford to be inflicted with a strained muscle if I want to try and keep up with everything Planner is making me do.

And Calendar? I’d much appreciate it if you stop staring at me, mocking me with all your words and appointments. Why don’t you just say, “Stay home. Relax.” once in a while? But no. You’re all, “Take your kid to this, head over to that, so-and-so and such-and-such, be sure to, and don’t forget.”

It’s possible that I may need anger management classes as I learn to deal with the organizational tools that help me handle all my responsibilities. In the meantime, I will happily forget to thaw my meat and let my BFF, the Crock Pot, save me once again with another Simple Recipe.

Simple Shredded Ranch Chicken (for tacos or salad)

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Shredded Ranch Chicken (for tacos or salad)
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning*
  • 3 Tablespoons dry Ranch Seasoning**
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in the bottom of a crock pot.
  2. Drizzle on olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle on seasoning mixes.
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Shred chicken and serve with favorite taco toppings on hard or soft shells.

*Here’s my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe.
**Here’s my Homemade Ranch Seasoning recipe.

Simple Crock Pot Shredded Ranch Chicken (for Tacos or Salad)

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The Easiest Mashed Potatoes in the World! (How the crock pot can make mashed potatoes great again)

Because I work from home and we school at home, my daily commute and our trek to school are as far as walking downstairs to the kitchen from our bedrooms (uphill both ways, mind you). This also means that my work attire is typically quite casual and sometimes involves pajama pants.

It all makes sense, then, that I would run out the door to a meeting a few evenings ago where I would join many professionals who had just left their offices. They were so dressed up and looked so nice! I took a seat, looked down, and that’s when I noticed that I was still wearing my slippers.

Nailed it. But at least I had on actual pants.

I’ve gotten to the point of laughing (most of the time) about the craziness of my days – mostly because I truly do love my life – even if it is sometimes questionably insane. The “day of the slippers” I had gone from one kid to the next to the next as we tried to crank out papers and assignments for school, along with a video that was due for a church event the minute we got back from a three day out-of-state basketball tournament. Try as I might, never once was I able to sit down to even answer a work email.

The day after that was no different (except that I was still wearing those same slippers). So I’m not sure what came over me when I decided that morning to try the Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes so many of you told me about after I’d lamented that my mashed tater making days had come to an end.

They take too much time, said I. They make too much of a mess. I’ve got to keep my meals simple!!

All of this is true. After all, I don’t even have time to remember to wear shoes when I go out in public. Therefore no one should expect me to make mashed potatoes for dinner.

But since the crock pot version seemed just as simple as making baked potatoes in the crock pot – and I’ve been doing that for years – I decided to give mashed potatoes one last chance.

The easiest mashed potatoes in the world!

You guys. My children are so happy that you are in my life. They had long since forgotten that mashed potatoes were an actual thing. Imagine their faces (and their full plates) when I presented them with a crock full of beautiful, fluffy, delicious mashed potatoes THAT HAD TAKEN ALL OF 2 MINUTES TO MAKE.

The crock pot has made mashed potatoes great again.

What’s the difference in the amount of work/time/dirty dishes compared to making mashed potatoes on the stove-top? The difference for me is enormous!

When I made potatoes on the stove-top, I’d dirty a pot, and I’d almost always allow the potato water to spill over and dirty the stove-top. Then I’d transfer the cooked potatoes to a bowl and use my beaters to mash them. This means I’d dirty my counter-tops because I’m a messy cook and potatoes would fling precariously from the beaters.

I can’t even handle the memory of making mashed potatoes this way. I just had to walk away.

But here’s how to make Simple Mashed Potatoes in the Crock Pot. I do warn you ahead of time and apologize because I no longer know how to cook in small quantity. If you aren’t feeding an army of teenage boys, feel free to cut this recipe in half.

The Easiest Mashed Potatoes in the World

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Mashed Potatoes (How the crock pot can make mashed potatoes great again)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds potatoes (I prefer yukon gold)
  • 1 cup whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • ¼-1/2 cup butter
  • sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Scrub, but don't peel the potatoes
  2. Cook them in a crock pot on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5 hours.
  3. Mash soft potatoes directly in the crock with a potato masher.
  4. While mashing, dump in the milk, sour cream, butter, and salt.
  5. Continue mashing until potatoes have reached desired consistency.

How to make the easiest mashed potatoes in the worldA few extra tips: 

  • If you don’t like potato skins, peel them before baking them. Of course, this requires an extra step, takes away some nourishment, and I just can’t handle it. (The skin on yukon gold or red potatoes is much thinner and easier to eat, so I recommend sticking with those potatoes in this recipe!)
  • You don’t have to add sour cream and butter to these, but if you don’t, what even is the point of eating them??
  • These will cook faster if you cut the potatoes into chunks, but again, then we’ve added an extra step to the process which changes the name of these potatoes to “Almost the easiest mashed potatoes in the world.”

Much to my family’s delight, I have made mashed potatoes two weeks in a row after a very long mashed potato hiatus. A huge thank you to all who suggested this method!

Tell me if you’ve tried mashed potatoes this way? If you haven’t, promise me you’ll join this mashed potato party!

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta

I’m a big believer in this: If my kids are capable of doing it, I ask them do it.

How else will they learn to clean, cook, think, be responsible, work hard, and take care of me in my old age?

That’s why I asked Malachi, our 12-year old, to put this meal together one morning. Knowing it was as easy as “dump these ingredients into the crock pot, stir it up, turn it on, then run do your math lesson” it seemed like the right thing to do. He’s learning that cooking is simple, I’m getting help around the house, and it’s amazing how cooking a meal by himself makes him stand a few inches taller while everyone eats it up with many, “Wow, this is so good” compliments.

Or maybe the kid is literally growing taller. Well yeah. But we already knew that.

crock pot pasta2

Here’s my little issue with crock pot meals that include pasta: If I have to cook the pasta ahead of time before adding it to the crock pot, what even is the point in using the crock pot? How does that save any time? It certainly dirties up more dishes. I am not okay with this.

Therefore I never make pasta dishes in the crock pot. (Nor do I have my children make them.)

But recently I did a little looking online to see how it might work to dump uncooked pasta into a crock pot. Might it cook along with the other ingredients? A little experimenting turned out this Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta recipe, which is as easy as can be.

Now, this is a meatless meal. You’re more than welcome to stir cooked hamburger or cooked chicken into your crock pot. But then, of course, you’d have to cook the meat first, which means dirtying up another dish, and I refuse to take responsibility for making you do that. Also, you should know that my family full of carnivores ate this and never once asked, “Hey. Where’s the meat?” I think the three cheeses in this recipe make this hearty enough to keep everyone happy.

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (25-32 ounces each)
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella, cheddar, or Colby jack cheese
  • 1 pound UNCOOKED whole grain pasta, any shape
  • Sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Dump all ingredients into a crock pot and stir well.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours or until pasta is tender.

Simple 3-Cheese Crock Pot Pasta

Serve this easy crock pot dish with a quick salad and steamed veggie. It’s as simple as can be. I don’t think I need to tell you that it’s delicious. This is a given. And now we know that we can dump uncooked pasta into the crock pot and turn out a great meal in just a few of effortless hours.

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

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