Slow Cooker To the Rescue!

How do you feel when you're coming home after a busy day?  Are you tired, grouchy, stressed, and really hungry? What happens if you have no idea what to make for dinner?  Do you end up grabbing snacks foods and munching through the kitchen cupboards as you try to decide what to make? This is one scenario where failing to plan leads to planning to fail:  mindless overeating takes over.

One great way to plan for dinner to be ready when you are is to put that slow cooker to use. These cooler fall days are perfect for one dish meals.  Pasta e Fagoli was one of the dishes I made for the MM groups this week, and it received rave reviews.  All I ask it that you use a manual can opener to open all those cans---you get a little more exercise that way!  Give this one a try and top it off with a little grated fresh Parmesan cheese. It's so good and really very easy. (If you need a slow cooker, I picked out 2 great ones and featured them in the My Favorites list to the right.)

Pasta e Fagioli

Place into slow cooker:
1# extra lean ground beef, cooked and drained (optional*)
1 c. onion, diced
1 c. carrots, julienned
2 c. zucchini, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 - 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 - 15 oz. can light red kidney beans
1 – 15 oz can white beans
1 – 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 - 12 oz. vegetable juice
1 tbsp. white vinegar
½ tsp. salt, or to taste
½ tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
½ tsp. thyme
Cook on low for 6 -8 hours.
Stir In:
            3 oz. cooked small whole wheat pasta
Heat through and enjoy!
*For variation, try using 1# of chicken breasts, diced