Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cheesy, Beefy Crock-Pot Ravioli

Oh, Crock-Pot. How I love you. I can literally just pile food up in it, let it cook for a little while, then take it out and have something delicious. I don't have to stir it, I don't even have to look at it! So if I'm able to make something in it, I will. 

Combine that with my love of ravioli, and I have a very good, very easy meal. It was one of my favorite things the cafeteria would make in high school. Of course, it came from a Chef Boyardee can, straight into a pan for the oven, topped with cheese. It isn't something they could mess up.

I, personally, don't mind Chef Boyardee brand. But CM loves to remind me of how he's Italian (he's like 1/8 Italian or something- he says he's "Olive Garden Italian"), and being the slightest fraction of Italian makes him despise Chef Boyardee. So I'm not allowed to take an industrial-sized can of ravioli, dump it in a dish and bake it with cheese. He would know. That's why I have this recipe for Crock-Pot ravioli.

Now, I didn't make my own pasta dough and whip up my own batch of ravioli. I used frozen cheese ravioli, which is just about as easy as making it from a can... only it tastes better (in my opinion). And this recipe is very flexible, as far as what you use in it.

Here's what you need:
  • 40 oz of frozen unbreaded ravioli (I got the 4 cheese kind, but there are many varieties)
    • Also, the kind I use says, "Ready in 5 Minutes." Don't let that confuse you! Putting it in the Crock-Pot will not make it ready in 5 minutes, even if you've got it on high. I promise.
  • 16 oz of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Classico 4 cheese sauce because we love cheese)
  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

Here's what you do:
  • Toss your frozen ravioli into the Crock-Pot.
  • Mix in your pasta sauce
  • Let your pasta cook on high for 2 1/2 hours. 
    • But some Crock-Pots are faster, and some slower. So it could be done as soon as 2 hours, or as late as 3 hours.
  • About 30 minutes before you're ready to serve it, begin to brown your hamburger.
  • Stir in your hamburger, then add your cheese on top.
  • Let it continue to cook for another 20 minutes to let the cheese melt.

If you want to leave this cooking for the day while at work, or out and about, you can cook it on low for about 6 hours or so. As well, I love having leftovers for the next day, so if you don't want to make enough for a family of 4+, or you don't want leftovers, simply cut the amount of ravioli, sauce, and cheese in half.

It's really that easy. It takes about 2 1/2 hours (at the least) to whip it up. And, as I said earlier, there is a ton of flexibility for how you can make this dish. Instead of the 4 cheese pasta, you can use meat-filled pasta, or seasoned pasta, or any other kind of frozen pasta you find. You can use different meats, such as ground turkey, or chop up pieces of chicken or sausage, or no meat at all! You don't have to use mozzarella, either. Mozzarella is just the standard cheese that is used for ravioli, so that's why I used it. And if you want to add SOMETHING healthy, you can always throw in some veggies. I might stick some broccoli in there next time because CM positively loves broccoli. That may or may not be a lie. The number of variations for this dish means you can have it pretty frequently and (probably) won't get sick of it quickly.

So, let me know how you liked it, and how you made it your own! If you loved it, be sure to share it with your family and friends.

And as an added bonus for my readers, here's a photo of my sweet CD:

1 comment:

  1. Ok I definitely want some of this, looks so good.