Among my Library Loot this week was the cookbook, Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian. Usually I'll just browse through library-owned cookbooks, rather than actually trying the recipes; while glancing at this one, however, I noticed that Chapter 5 contained recipes for the slow cooker!
I made one of the recipes, Mediterranean Minestrone Casserole, in the crockpot over the weekend. The Dean, Boo, and I liked it. After much protest, Betty ate some of the pasta and given her food finickiness, I'll take trying - and eating - a few bites as a compliment. So, I offer some up for you to try. If you like minestrone soup, you'll probably enjoy this. It's not quite casserole consistency, by my definition, nor is it soup. I'd suppose it's what Rachael Ray considers "stoup." Regardless of what you want to call it, it's pretty tasty. And frugal, in these trying economic times of ours.
Mediterranean Minestrone Casserole
prep time: 20 minutes
start to finish: 6 hours, 40 minutes
servings: 5 (each serving of this casserole provides 17 grams of protein)
(Yes, you're really seeing two crockpots in that photo. The smaller one is a 2 qt. and the larger is a 6 qt. Plus, the elbow macaroni inadvertently got left out of the photo op.)
3 medium carrots, sliced (1.5 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup water
2 tsps. sugar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15-16 ozs.) garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1.5 cups frozen cut green beans (from 1 lb. bag), thawed (I omitted this and the consensus at our table was that they weren't missed)
1 cup uncooked macaroni (3.5 ozs)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
In a 3-4 quart slow cooker, mix all ingredients except green beans, macaroni and cheese. Cover, cook on Low heat setting for 6-8 hours. Stir in green beans and macaroni. Increase setting to High. Cover; cook about 20 minutes or until beans and macaroni are tender. Sprinkle with cheese.
To make this more appealing to my kids, I served this over mashed potatoes (which The Dean and I actually enjoyed, too.) It kind of had a Shepherd's Pie type of consistency. I cooked this in the crockpot for about 6.5 or 7 hours. In addition, 20 minutes was a sufficient amount of time to cook the macaroni. Doing so made this thicken up nicely. Definitely a keeper, and one that might make me consider Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian as a keeper, too.