Monday, March 22, 2010

My crock pot and I are on speaking terms again

The crock pot and I are once again on speaking terms. Thanks to the thorough crock pot recipe research provided by Stephanie at A Year of Slow Cooking. I have now made 2 successful recipes, both soups but I have plans to branch out.

Last week, while I was home from work due to illness my crock pot made dinner. End of Summer Harvest soup to be exact (see recipe below sourced from Stephanie's blog). I had, before I got sick, chopped up all the ingredients and put them in the fridge in my slow cooker, so all I had to do was put the pot insert in and turn it on (and go back to bed). It was amazing.

My only problem was I could NOT find dry cannellini beans. I went to two different grocery stores. I could only find the pre-cooked canned variety. I thought about substituting another kind of bean but I know nothing about beans (I don't really like them). So I bought the canned ones, intending to add them toward the end, but ended up not using them (they looked gross). I just added a little extra pasta at the end and the soup was very tasty, though the beans would give it more nutritional value.

Next time, I'm adding lentils. I love lentils and they would give the soup lots of fiber, just like the beans. If you wanted to make a version with meat, I'm thinking sausage or turkey sausage would be good additions. I'm trying to be a good Catholic this Lent so I made this recipe specifically because it was vegetarian.

Single girls should keep portion size in mind. I cut the portion in half and still had about 5 bowls of soup. This soup does not keep particularly well in the fridge, I tried to eat the last bowl for lunch 3 days after making it and it was definitely a little bit questionable.

End of Summer Harvest Soup (yes I realize it's winter)

4 cups chicken broth (I used vegetable, works fine)
1 cup prepared pasta sauce
1 cup water
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 zucchini, washed well and sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
2 yellow summer squash, washed well and sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/3 cup dry white Cannellini beans (could not find them!)
1/2 cup pasta (to add 20 minutes before serving)
salt and pepper to taste
garnish with Parmesan and Romano cheeses

I used a 5-quart slow cooker and cut this recipe in half. Wash squashes well, and slice in rounds. Place into slow cooker, with diced onion and tomato wedges. Rinse your beans in hot water, and add to cooker. Add broth, pasta sauce, and water. Stir in Italian seasoning.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until beans have reached desired tenderness. 20 minutes before serving, stir in raw pasta. Serve with grated Parmesan and Romano cheese.

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