Spicing Up Our Sunday!

Another weekend comes to an end.  A good weekend spent relaxing and trying a couple of new recipes.  Josh was with us a for a little bit, he had to leave us this morning because one of his buddies was having a birthday bowling party Sunday afternoon.  I talked to my sister in Arizona for about an hour on Sunday afternoon, it was a great conversation.

I had to laugh last night, when I discovered that “Under The Tuscan Sun” was on Starz.  As I previously posted, quite a while ago actually, I swear that in another life I was/am Italian.  “Under The Tuscan Sun” is one of my all time favorite movies.  I love when Frances’ friend Martini gives her the San Lorenzo statue for Christmas and tells Frances San Lorenzo is the patron saints of cooks.  I love the scene where Frances cooks for all of the polish men working on her house Pawel, Valentine and Sasa.  I love all of the feasts that she prepares for them…I love when Frances is in her kitchen cooking with Nona Cardinale.  I love, the love love the movie….can you tell?

So it was funny in a haha, ironic interesting kind of way that this particular movie, an old movie in fact, 2003, just happened to be on the same day that I made a new spaghetti recipe in the slow cooker.  Too bad the movie didn’t start  until 9:00 p.m., (and again at midnight) had I known I might have made Walt wait for dinner so we could do dinner and a movie!

That dear readers would never have happened.  During the last two hours of cooking I had to just about beat Walt away from the slow cooker with a wooden spoon.  It wasn’t that he was that hungry, he had lunch.  It was the aroma pulling him to the pot, like an imaginary arm wafting up from the slow cooker, pulling him by his nose to the simmering slow cooker on the counter, almost like a cartoon!  Everytime Walt went into the kitchen I had to follow to make sure he wasn’t lifting the lid.  As you can imagine when the timer finally went off, Walt was ready to eat, there was no way he would have waited a few more hours until my movie came on.

Going to Italy is on my “sometime in my life” bucket list.  I want to drink and eat my way through Italy.  I would love it if Walt and I could actually at some point in our life spend the summer in Italy going through Tuscany of course visiting Cortona and then on to, at the very least, Rome, Positano, Florence and Naples.  It’s a nice little dream in the mean time I have decided to try to learn Italian, it was on my funny bucket list January 1st.

Sundays have quickly become slow cooker/crock pot Sunday’s.  I received my first Rival Crock Pot in 1974 for my wedding shower.  The first and only thing I made in it was spaghetti and was quickly disappointed  at how watery it was and it had no flavor.  That recipe came with the cookbook that came with the slow cooker.  Back in the early 70’s slow cookers were just becoming popular so there weren’t a lot of places to find recipes.  Needless to say the pot was put back in the box where it stayed, I can’t even tell you what ever happened to it.

Becoming reaquainted with the slow cooker has been quite interesting and we’ve only had one recipe that was so bad we couldn’t eat it and that was the beef stew recipe from Hunts.com.  Because of my earlier bad experience with spaghetti in the slow cooker I wasn’t sure that I wanted to try spaghetti again but after reading the reviews and discovering that yes, a few people (not many) complained of a thin sauce, I decided that I would give it a try and to make a few of my own adjustments to thicken the sauce.

As I was gathering everything, chopping onions and garlic, browning the sausage, sauteeing the onions, garlic and mushrooms, my little buddy Joshua came in to peek at what I was up to.  Joshua wanted to help me so as I assembled the ingredients he read off what I needed and how much.  Josh told me the order that I had to assemble the sauce and if I deviated or he thought I was deviating from his instructions he called me out.  It was nice having a little helper.

This was a really great spaghetti sauce, it was full of flavor and a little spicy.  We loved it.  It will definitely be on our “make again list” with only one minor change, I’ll cut down the amount of the red pepper flakes because it does give this sauce a little kick.  We like kick, but for spaghetti maybe a little less of a kick.  The recipe actually states that you can leave out the red pepper flakes completely but you know me, I had to put them in.

I repined this from Pinterest but actually the recipe originates from Betty Crocker so I’ve included that link to this recipe;

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-meaty-italian-spaghetti-sauce/937dbd6a-ba73-4713-a159-685446433b52

I wrote my recipe exactly as it appears on the Betty Crocker website, however I did indicate in parenthesis the changes that I made.  Try this, you’ll love it and if you’re not into spicy leave out the red pepper flakes.  If you make this, let us know how you liked it, we love feedback!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti

SLOW COOKER MEATY ITALIAN SPAGHETTI SAUCE

What You’ll Need:

2 lbs. Bulk Italian pork sausage or ground beef (I used the sausage and cut it into pieces)

2-Large onions, chopped (2 cups)

2 Cups sliced fresh mushrooms (6 oz)

3 Cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Can (28 oz) Muir Glen® organic diced tomatoes, undrained (I used Hunts traditional)

2 Cans (15 oz each) tomato sauce (Hunts)

1 Can (6 oz) tomato paste (I used a 12 oz can)

1 tbls. Dried basil leaves

1 tsp. Dried oregano leaves

1 tbls. Sugar

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Pepper

1/2 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes (I am going to cut this to ¼ tsp. next time)

Directions:

  • Spray 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • In 12-inch skillet, cook sausage, onions, mushrooms and garlic over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.
  • Spoon sausage mixture into cooker.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 9 hours.

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Spaghetti

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