I'm in love with my Crock Pot. Aside from the fact that I purchased it for $15 from someone moving back to the US when it retails for $50, aside from the fact that it has a removeable insert and carrying case, and aside from the fact that I can run it through the dishwasher when I'm finished so I don't have to battle the monster in the sink... it makes a-mazing soup.
This is all to say: send me Crock Pot recipes!
My mom gave me this recipe a LONG time ago. I love Olive Garden's pasta fagioli soup and thought I'd finally give the recipe a whirl with my new Crock Pot, per Will's suggestion. I prepped everything the night before and just set my Crock Pot insert in the fridge to keep over night. The next morning all I had to do was take it from the fridge, place it in the Crock Pot, and set it to "low." EASY.
I came home to a house that smelled so amazing! All that was left to do was make the noodles to go in it. When all is said and done, this soup definitely makes 14-16 servings. I used lean ground beef and added crushed fennel as it cooked to make it taste like italian sausage. I also added garlic here and there. The soup was incredible and we will be eating it for awhile.
Last night I decided to try a Rachael Ray recipe for sesame chicken that I had clipped awhile back. In addition to the green beans and red bell pepper, I added mushrooms and broccoli. I steamed all the veggies prior to cooking so they'd be easier to stir fry. I also used 1 tbsp. of honey instead of 3 tbsp. and used sambal olek instead of hot sauce. I also added garlic here and there because I can. I steamed the rice in my microwave rice cooker (buy it - it will change your life! its one of my favorite kitchen items - rice in 12 minutes!) and just added the chopped green onions when it was done. The rice tasted kind of like fried rice, but without all the grease. The stir fry was really light and tasty and I loved the toasted sesame seeds. I also liked making my own sauce rather than using a bottled stir fry sauce. This is a great way to use up veggies that are about to turn bad!