So even though the Red Gold Tomatoes Slow Cooker sweeps is over, crock pot season has just begun. Chilly, busy, back to school days are a perfect reason for using crock pots. I've had hits and misses in my crock pot. If you use the wrong cut of meat, you might be eating shoe leather at dinner time. If you keep chicken in it too long, you will have pieces that just completely fall apart when you pull them out for serving. Chicken breasts may become hockey pucks if they too are kept in too long.
But pasta is pretty forgiving in your slow cooker. It absorbs all the wonderful juice and flavor that sits in there during cooking, making it a pretty easy way to do a lasagna or casserole type dish. This concoction I came up with based in a Food Network recipe from a few years ago. I also made this gluten free using gluten free penne, but you don't have to do that. I also wanted to use ground chicken, but could only find ground turkey. You can also use sausage if you wish. Just take the casings off and crumble the sausage while browning with the back of a spoon. I prefer lighter fare these days. I am trying to stay in weight watchers, so turkey is much friendlier points-wise.
Also, fair warning, I am going to give you the recipe's full shredded cheese amount, but I did not end up using all of it. My crock pot can only hold so much, so I think I had a third left over of the mozzarella/Parmesan mix. I ended up storing it in a plastic bag for later use on some pizza. Use your "cheese" judgement.
And finally, here were my top crock pot tips from my followers! It was really hard to pick a winner. Goodness, I know I am tardy on this announcement. It's why I don't usually do give-aways. My life is too coo-coo to do them regularly! SO my apologies. Here are my faves with the winning tip.
Slow Cooker Turkey, Spinach and Mushroom Penne