The Crock-Pot Makes a Traditional Spaghetti Dinner Easy
Spaghetti is the quintessential family meal. Grandma made it, Mom made it and now it’s one of your own kids’ favorites. However, Mom and Grandma might have had a little more time on their hands to devote to perfect family meals, while you’re holding down a job and shuttling the kids between school, soccer and scouting events. Fear not – you can still have a spaghetti dinner complete with slowly simmered sauce within a half an hour when you get home if you use the Crock-Pot.
Total Time: 6 hours, 45 minutes | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 6
- 1 pound ground beef
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups spaghetti sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon basil
- 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 12 ounces spaghetti noodles, uncooked
- Place the ground beef in a skillet and add salt and pepper to taste. Brown the beef over medium heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the spaghetti sauce, onion, garlic, oregano and basil.
- Drain the beef and add it to the mixing bowl with the sauce mixture. Mix well.
- Pour the beef and sauce mixture into a 4-quart Crock-Pot and set it to low. Cover and cook for 6 hours.
- Add the uncooked spaghetti to the Crock-Pot and stir well. Increase the heat to high and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses.
- Spread the cheese mixture on top of the spaghetti. Cook an additional 30 minutes or until the spaghetti has softened to the desired texture and the cheese has melted.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Serving younger children the finished product might be easier if you snap the spaghetti noodles in half before cooking them. This won’t affect cooking time.
Substitute fettuccine or linguini for regular spaghetti, but increase the additional cooking time by 15 to 30 minutes to make sure the noodles cook to your desired tenderness.
If you have any leftover cooked pasta you’d like to use instead, that’s fine, too. Just reduce the additional cooking time to a total of 20 minutes or so after six hours when you add the pasta and the cheese.
Jarred spaghetti sauce works if you don’t have time to make your own from scratch. The addition of the onion, garlic and spices jazzes it up from plain old store-bought. You can also feel free to add in any top-secret, super-special spices or extras that you normally use in your own sauce recipe.
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.