Pasta Fagioli

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This was another recipe floating around on Facebook. This one was billed as “just like Olive Garden” but in a slow cooker version. Can’t really compare, I’ve never had Olive Garden’s version but it was good. Making this was a lesson in PAYING ATTENTION specifically when going to the store to get stuff for the recipe. I went back and forth trying to decide if I should buy beef stock or use the beef bullion cubes I’ve got. Should I buy more diced tomatoes (big cans) or use what I’ve got (small cans). Finally, I decided that I would just buy new stuff. It would be more “accurate” that way. So when I got to putting the recipe together yesterday morning what did I find? Two big cans of stewed sliced tomatoes and a carton of chicken stock……… I can’t even begin to figure out how I managed to do that.

So, I had to chop up the tomatoes and use the bullion cubes anyway. My own mistakes not withstanding, there wasn’t much about this that was complicated. Chop everything up and put it in the crock pot. Let it cook. I went with the longer cooking time on low. After it was done I put the crock pot on warm until dinner. That is a downside sometimes, when you need to have it cook for 8 hours but by the time you leave in the morning and come back from work it’s been longer than 8 hours until you hit dinner. Luckily this time it worked out to turn it on later in the morning and I was able to get home to manage it. It sat on warm for about an hour and a half.

One more note – this took about 45 minutes to get ready in the morning. The crock pot is nice for meal without a lot of effort AT dinner time but there are times when there is a lot of work to get it ready.

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, untrained
1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (16 oz) can white kidney beans, drained (I used great northern beans)
3 (10 oz) cans beef stock (I used 4 bullion cubes with 30 oz of water)
3 TSP oregano (I used dried)
2 TSP black pepper
5 TSP parsley (also dried)
1 TSP Tabasco sauce (optional – I put it in)
1 (20 oz) jar spaghetti sauce (I used Prego Traditional)
8 oz pasta (I used rotini)

Brown beef in skillet. Drain fat off of the meat. Place all ingredients except pasta in the crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Put pasta in during the last 30 minutes if on high or the last hour if on low. It may be very liquidy. But after the pasta was in there and it sat on warm for awhile, it thickened up.

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