Bolognese-like sauce is made in the slow cooker, served over...

Bolognese-like sauce is made in the slow cooker, served over rigatoni and topped with grated Parmesan. Credit: Marge Perry

RIGATONI WITH SLOW COOKER BOLOGNESE

1 pound lean ground beef

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1⁄4 cups)

1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil

1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 (14.5-ounce cans) diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

8 ounces rigatoni

1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1⁄3 cup parsley, chopped

 

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high; add the beef and salt and stir, breaking the meat into crumbles, until it is barely pink, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of the slow cooker.

2. Add the garlic, onion, basil and oregano to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of the slow cooker. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, cover and cook on low 8 hours.

3. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with the sauce; stir in the cheese, sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 481 calories, 34 g protein 60 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 12 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 1016 mg sodium

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SLOW COOKER MEATLOAF

2 pounds lean ground beef (or turkey)

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1⁄4 cups)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon thyme

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons brown mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1⁄3 plus 1⁄4 cup ketchup, divided

 

1. Combine the beef, onion, garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, egg and 1⁄3 cup of ketchup in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Form into a 9-inch-by-4-inch loaf. (Adjust the size to fit your slow cooker).

2. Fold a 12-inch sheet of foil in half and place the loaf on top. Spread the remaining 1⁄4 cup ketchup over the top of the meatloaf. Lift the foil at both ends and place it, with the meatloaf, in the slow cooker. (The foil makes it easier to lift the cooked meatloaf out of the slow cooker). Cook on low 8 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 295 calories, 31 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 12 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 710 mg sodium

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CHICKEN CACCIATORE

3 pounds chicken thighs

3⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

1 red bell pepper, cut in strips

1 green bell pepper, cut in strips

1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1⁄4 cups)

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon thyme

 

1. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Place half the chicken in the pan, skin sides down, and cook until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and the remainder of the chicken.

2. Combine the tomatoes and flour together in a small bowl.

3. Place the bell peppers and onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle with the paprika, oregano, garlic powder and thyme. Pour in the tomatoes. Top with the chicken, skin sides facing up. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 395 calories, 33 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 23 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 583 mg sodium

Tip: Make a double batch of the sauce; it freezes well.