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I was looking for recipes to do in my crock pot. The weather was extremely hot a couple of days ago (103 before heat index) and the last thing I wanted to do was cook in my oven. That always heats up my kitchen as it stands, let alone having the temperature rise with outside temperatures so high. The slow cooker uses less energy, and puts out nearly no heat at all. I followed a recipe from the blog: A Year Of Slow Cooking. She has a recipe for pasta fagioli, a la Olive Garden style. I have never had it from Olive Garden but the photos looked good and the reviews were positive so I decided to try it out. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly as it is written but I cut it in half. The way hers is measured out would have been far too much for my crock pot. There was no way it would hold all of the ingredients. Even when I cut down the ingredients it still filled up my crock pot to the top. ...well, I guess I didn`t really cut it completely in half. For some of the ingredients I did and the rest I just eyeballed. I used about 3/4 lb of ground beef, only 1 can of the diced tomatoes, I did use the 1 can of each bean (you can`t really cut a can in half and I didn`t want to waste any), only 1 can of beef stock (the recipe calls for FOUR cups! HA that wasn`t going to be able to fit into my crock pot), and I measured out just enough pasta for us to eat at the time. OH, and her recipe calls for the dry pasta to go into the crock pot and cook in there. My crock pot was already full and wouldn`t hold anymore but also I didn`t want the pasta to get soggy sitting in the juices so I cooked my pasta separate in just salted, boiling water and then when I served I mixed in the pasta to each bowl/serving portion. That way it stayed cooked JUST right and each person could add just the amount of pasta they wanted It was very, very good. My son kind of picked through. He liked the beans and pasta but didn`t like the meat in there. My husband said he really enjoyed it, though. Me? I loved it. I thought it was very good. If you want to save time prep your veggies the night before and put them into a bowl or zip lock baggie for the next morning. Also, you could brown up your meat the night before. This way, the morning you are planning to put it together you just dump in the precut veggies, precut beef, and pop open the cans and pour everything in. If you`d like to see her recipe as it was originally written you can see that http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/10/day-305.html
--PHOTOS ARE MY OWN! YOU MAY NOT USE!