School days are upon us and it’s a great time to pull out the crock-pot for easy dinner ideas with less mess to clean up and more time to spend with family.
Crock-Pot Mac ‘n’ Cheese
1½ cups milk
1 (12-oz.) can of evaporated milk
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
½ tsp. salt
3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
½ pound elbow macaroni
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Grease the inside of the crock-pot with cooking spray.
- Combine milk, evaporated milk, butter, eggs and salt in the crock-pot and whisk until smooth.
- Add Italian cheese and pepper to taste, stirring to coat.
- Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
- Cover and cook on high 30 minutes.
- Reduce heat and cook on low for 1½–2 hours, until the center does not jiggle and pasta is tender.
- Serve in bowls while warm.
Crock-pot Cheese Tortellini
1 (19-oz.) bag of frozen cheese tortellini
1 small bag of fresh spinach
2 (14½-oz.) cans of Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
1 block (8 oz.) of cream cheese (softened in microwave)
1 lb. Italian chicken/turkey sausage links
3-4 cups of chicken broth (start with 3, add more to preference)
- Slice and brown the sausage.
- Cube the cream cheese and place all ingredients in the crock-pot.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Notes: Keep an eye on your tortellini, as it may be done early. If it’s still soupy, leave the lid off for the last half hour of cooking. If you use Neufchatel (one-third-fat cream cheese), know that it will not melt as well and will leave curds.
Crock-Pot Pizza Chicken
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. Italian seasoning blend
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Parmesan cheese (plus extra for topping)
1 cup pizza sauce
¾ cups low-fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 oz. sliced turkey pepperoni
1 Green bell pepper, sliced
8 oz. pasta or pre-made pizza crust
Place chicken in crock-pot. Season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese. Add green pepper and pour pizza sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. During last 30 minutes of cooking time, toss in pepperoni and top with shredded cheese. Serve over hot cooked pasta or oven-warmed pizza crust.
Italian-style diced tomatoes
Italian shredded cheese
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Turkey or chicken sausage
½ lb. elbow macaroni
Pasta of choice, if preferred for Chicken Pizza recipe
Green bell peppers
Bag of spinach
Spices & Seasonings:
Red pepper flakes