Happy Presidents’ Day! And what could be more all-American for such an all-American holiday than a slow cooker ravioli casserole?
Frozen ravioli (you don’t even need to thaw the suckers!), semi-home made pasta sauce loaded with ground beef and pork and onion and garlic and shredded cabbage and…
Yep, I sneak a couple of cups of coleslaw mix into my pasta sauce, and no one notices!
Sneaky way of getting extra veg into a meal, mebbe, but it works, and the sauce is still a total winner.
•1-1/2 lb meatloaf mix (ground beef & pork)
•2 cloves garlic
•1 cup diced onion
•2 cups shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 (24-25 oz) jar pasta sauce
•1 (11.5 oz) can low sodium veggie juice
•1 tsp Italian seasoning
•1 tsp dried basil
•1 tsp dried oregano
•1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
•1/2 bag frozen ravioli (do not thaw)
•1/2 cup Cottage cheese
•2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
•1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
•Freshly chopped parsley
*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.
Note: I just upgraded my large slow cooker to a combo model that will sauté, simmer, and roast as well as slow cook; so I was able to use just one pan. If your slow cooker doesn’t have a Brown/Sauté setting, you will need to prep the sauce in another large pan on the top of the stove.
Heat your sauté pan over medium heat (or hit the Brown/Sauté button on your cooker, then add the meatloaf mix and cook, breaking up, for five minutes or so.
Add the onion, garlic, and coleslaw mix and cook, stirring, until the meat is cooked through and the veggies are tender.
I haven’t found a lot of fat left in the pan at this stage, so don’t usually bother draining, but if you’d prefer to drain your meat and veggie mixture, by all means do.
Stir in the pasta sauce, veggie juice, and the seasonings, then simmer for 15 minutes.
If you’ve used a combo cooker, transfer the sauce to a bowl, leaving a layer of sauce to cover the bottom of the slow cooker.
Combine the cheeses together in a bowl and set aside.
Note: I used frozen beef ravioli, but feel free to try any other variety you like.
Layer half the ravioli on top of the sauce, then add more sauce and about half of the cheese mixture.
Arrange the remaining ravioli on top of the cheese, then cover with the remaining sauce.
Cover and slow cook on Low for three hours, then add the rest of the cheese, cover, and cook for another hour, until the cheese is nicely melted and the sauce is bubbly.
If you like, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve – on its own, this was more than enough for the three of us, and another three servings or so for lunches later.
Tender, tasty pasta in a very nice sauce with all that lovely cheese, and, because you sneaked in those two cups of coleslaw mix and that can of low sodium veggie juice, you do not need to feel super fussed about not having a side salad.
I like that in a casserole.