November 25, 2008

Jen's Slow Cooker Meatball Marinara Surprise

I have had a lot of my "surprise" recipes lately, haven't I???? You don't have to answer that...I know I have. My "surprise" recipes are usually out of necessity; and tonight's dish is no exception. The beans and rice were good, but alas, did not stretch as far as I hoped. So, I dug around in my fridge and found some leftover marinara sauce I had stashed. I am telling you, my fridge is empty. I am actually a little proud that I have used almost all of my resources, without a major shopping trip.

My slow cooker was not even put away from last night's meal (hey, at least it was clean), so I decided to use it again tonight. I was also happy to find some frozen meatballs in my freezer. I love pre-made frozen meatballs! Sure, they are not as good as homemade...but they are great in a pinch. Into the slow cooker the marinara and meatballs went, with some additional flavor components.
I think I will serve my sauce creation with some odds and ends pasta I have in the pantry. Here is a tangent: I hate that some recipes don't use up a whole package of pasta. I end up with a bunch of plastic storage bags with different shaped pasta in it. I am much too frugal to get rid of the extra pasta, so I store it. And store it. And store it. No one pasta shape is plentiful enough for a whole meal. Literally, there is an ounce here a couple ounces there....yeesh. What to do???? Well, on a night like tonight, I will just boil all the weird pasta shapes together and call it dinner. It is a little ghetto, I know...but at least the pasta gets used and I don't have to look at all those little baggies anymore. Anyway...moving on...

I saved two servings of salad from yesterday to have tonight. How is that for thinking ahead!?!?! I had a half a head of iceberg lettuce and I combined it with some baby spinach leaves, green onions, and the remainder of my cilantro. It is all chopped and washed and ready to go. Mixed salad that did not cost four bucks a bag!

I will let you know how all of my crazy concoctions turn out later. Wish me luck!

Jen's Slow Cooker Meatball Marinara Surprise

1 cup of leftover marinara
1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of water
18 frozen meatballs
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon of ground mustard
2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to taste
leftover mixed up, odd and ends shaped pasta of your choice

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, except for pasta. Cook on 'low' setting for 5 hours. When cook time is almost finished (1/2 hour from end of cook time); boil water in a separate pot, and cook miscellaneous pasta until al dente. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top, and hope for the best!

The Result:
This was just okay. It was sustenance. It was a little boring, but decent. Really, it was exactly as you would expect...meatballs and marinara sauce. I found some small diatilini pasta in my pantry, so I just went with that. It turns out the only other rogue pasta I have is an ounce or two of whole wheat penne. The size difference between the two pastas was pretty significant, so I just stuck with the diatilini (by doing them both at the same time, I was afraid one would over-cook and the other would under-cook). I will find a some other way to get rid of the penne. Overall, this was filling and familiar...just not that noteworthy.

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