I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get around to posting about this sooner as the following was extremely tasty (and continues to be tasty!).
For years, Erin and I didn’t own a slow cooker. Mostly because apartment living calls for some serious space-saving when it comes to kitchen appliances and countertop-space. This didn’t stop my mother-in-law from wanting to get us one pretty much every Christmas since we’ve been married and on our own. She finally got her wish last Christmas and we’re now owners of our first slow cooker.
And what a prize it has been! Everything we’ve made in it from beef stroganoff to chicken and dumplings to bbq ribs has been flavorful, tender, simple and extremely time saving. To be honest, I’m a little upset we didn’t just sacrifice one of our lesser-used appliances for a slow cooker a long time ago.
I picked up some Italian sausage links a week or so ago and they’ve been waiting in the freezer for the perfect time to become dinner. Normally I throw these babies on the grill like I did on Thanksgiving last year but I wanted to see what would happen if I put them in the slow cooker for a while. I couldn’t exactly find a recipe that I wanted to use so I just sort of modified one that was close and this is what happened, awesome over pasta, awesome over toast, would be awesome on a hoagie bun:
- 1 package of spicy Italian sausages (mine were 6 in total, just over 1lb)
- 1-1/2 Onions (or two, whatever, I just happened to have a half-onion saved from a previous endeavor)
- 2 Green Bell Peppers
- 1 14oz can tomato puree (I bought a 28oz can and used half)
- 1 8oz can tomato sauce (I bought 2 of these for a reason)
- 1 12oz can tomato paste (I used only half, again for a reason)
- Minced Garlic
- 2 servings of spaghetti
- The day before cooking I thawed the sausage links in the fridge for a few hours. At night, I sliced them each into about 1″ chunks and dropped them into a frying pan that I had coated with canola oil cooking spray over medium-high heat. Fry them up for about 2-3 minutes, then flip – you’re only wanting to brown them, not fully cook them.
- While the sausages were cooking, I chopped up the onions and peppers and set them aside. Once the sausages were finished, I pulled them off and put them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Drop the peppers and onions into the pan with the sausage bits and juice and sauté about 5 minutes to brown the veggies. When these are finished, I put the veggies and the sausages into their own tupperware container and put them in the fridge over night (This is not required, you can do this all in the morning if you have the time – I did not).
- The next day, toss the sausages and veggies into the slow cooker. Then, in a medium bowl, pour in 14oz tomato puree, 8oz tomato sauce and 6oz tomato paste and mix to combine. The spices are to taste and can be whatever you want them to be. I dropped in about 1-1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic, and about half a tablespoon each of basil and oregano and mixed together.
- Once the sauce is finished, pour it over the sausage and vegetables and mix well to coat. Set the slow cooker on low and let it rock for about 8 or 9 hours.
- Just before “go time,” boil up a large pot of water and throw the pasta in. Boil until tender, probably 7-10 minutes, then drain, portion and top with as much of the sausage / veggie / sauce mix as you like.
This particular recipe made enough for dinner for Erin and I and lunch for myself twice. I threw the leftovers in the cans of tomato together with some spices for a simple and quick pizza sauce for the weekend. Next time I will add mushrooms!