Crock Pot Meaty Pasta Sauce

In our house, we're big on weekend cooking. My kids love helping out and I find that if I make a few recipes on Saturday or Sunday to store in the fridge or freezer, I have a lot less cooking to do during the week when life gets overwhelming. That doesn't mean that we spend the entire weekend in the kitchen. Far from it. Our recipes have to be quick and easy so we can get out and do other things together. I treasure our weekends because they often feel like the only time we can just relax and play, enjoying our favorite activities and not being on a schedule.

Times like this are when my crock pot is my best friend because it assures that I need not spend a moment more than necessary in the kitchen. Chloe helps me wash the veggies, Kenya and I chop them, I sauté the meat and we all toss everything in the pot together. That's it. When we come home from our adventures at the end of the day, dinner is all ready….with plenty leftover for the week ahead. Don't forget to double, especially for recipes like this one. Store what you don't eat in dated single or multiple-serving containers in the freezer and all you have to do on school nights is defrost and reheat and your homemade meal is done within minutes. One more reason to live for the weekends!

[amd-recipeseo-recipe:13]

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Crock Pot Meaty Pasta Sauce (Serves 6)

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 6 mins

egg free

nut free

dairy free

gluten free

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Lb Lean Ground Beef
  • 2 Tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 28 oz Can Diced Tomato
  • 1 15 oz Can Tomato Puree
  • 1 Cup carrots, grated
  • 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Italian Herbs
  • 1 Bay Leaf

Preparation

1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium sauté pan and sauté onions for 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and 1 tsp of salt and sauté for 4 more minutes, breaking apart the meat as it cooks.
2. Add the sautéed meat and onions to the crock pot.
3. Whisk 2 tbsp of tomato paste in 1 cup of water until the paste dissolves.
4. Add the tomato paste mixture to the pot along with the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
5. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours.
6. Serve over pasta.
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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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44 comments

  • Sharon

    And if I do not have a crockpot..how long should this cook for?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Simmer on very low heat for at least two hours! You don't want it to be bubbling the entire time, just heating through and \"marrying\" (small bubbles every now and then is okay). Like Natasha said, the longer the better! The flavors will continue to combine and become deeper the longer it sits on heat.

      leave a comment

  • Jennifer

    Crockpots are a godsend for busy busy Moms! Gives our families a good homecooked meal--- quickly! And more time to spend with our kids :)

    Great Recipe! I added a cup of celery to mine and some fresh basil at the end. YUM.

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  • Vicki

    Yay! I will make this this weekend thank you. Going to try turkey meat though I think!

    leave a comment

  • Natasha

    Hey Sharon! Just cook on stove for a few hours. The longer the better. The flavors mix. Just simmer on stove top. And remember to drain grease from meat after frying. Don't add to sauce mixture. Enjoy!

    leave a comment

  • Cristine

    Is tomato puree the same thing as tomato sauce?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      They are basically the same consistency, but products labeled \"tomato sauce\" usually have many things added to it, like sugar. So get the can that is labeled \"tomato puree\". It will be in the same aisle next to all the other canned tomato products!

      leave a comment

    • Sara

      Tomato puree I believe is thicker than tomato sauce.

      leave a comment

  • Erikamroy

    Great recipe! I'll be trying this for sure.

    leave a comment

  • Stefany

    great minds think alike... just made a very similar version of this yesterday, only I use italian sausage, and I added an onion, lots of garlic, and celery. It was my first time making it in my crockpot, and it turned out amazing... even better today as leftovers :)

    leave a comment

  • Laurel

    I have not had good luck finding a reliable crock pot; temperature settings aren't accurate, large crack in the insert, etc. Is there a certain manufacturer/model you would recommend? Anyone have one that has worked well? Thanks so much!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      This slow cooker was given to me as a gift by my parents. I absolutely LOVE it! http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/all-clad-deluxe-slow-cooker-with-aluminum-insert/

      leave a comment

  • [email protected]

    Catherine, this is random, but where did you get the red and orange forks in that picture?! I have been looking for some just like that, but can't find them!

    Lauren

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Aren't they so cute?! I got them from a store in LA called Yolk. http://www.shopyolk.com/

      leave a comment

  • Megan C

    This was delish! We had it last night and I made a double batch and froze some for a day when I need a quick meal:-)

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  • Bree

    Made it tonight it was Ok

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  • Suzie

    I made this last night and it was yummy!!!! Mine turned out a little watery. After reading some of the comments, I used tomato sauce instead of tomato puree. I'm thinking that could be the reason why.

    leave a comment

  • Sara

    Catherine,

    I want to use fresh tomatoes, instead of the canned dice tomatoes. Can you please tell me how much would I substitute it with and also, if it requires more stock/liquid with it. Thanks, and your reponse is greatly appreciated.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      One 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes comes out to about 3 cups of tomatoes and juice. Cut your fresh tomatoes (or quickly pulse in a blender or food processor) to the size you want them. Add them with all their juice to the recipe! If you use all the juice that comes from cutting the tomatoes you shouldn't have to use any extra liquid.

      leave a comment

  • Joanna

    I am trying to cut red meat out from our diet due to my husbands health problems. Would this recipe work if I substituted ground turkey for the beef?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes it would work! Ground turkey will have a slightly different texture and flavor since they are different animals, but it'll work. :)

      leave a comment

  • Kate

    I just made this and it was so good! My 3 yo who never eats carrots gobbled this up. I couldn't find tomato puree either so I bought a 26.46 oz box of Pomi Strained Tomatoes and used the whole thing. I omitted the tomato paste and water combo to make up for adding the extra liquid. It was nice and thick and there was plenty leftover to freeze for another dinner. Thank you! Please keep the slow cooker recipes coming! I love having done the dishes earlier in the day!

    leave a comment

  • Brandy C

    i always put 1-2 acorn squash in my pasta sauce, gives it a creamy taste

    leave a comment

  • Carol

    You suggest serving this atop pasta, but is there anything else you could use it for? I'd love to double this recipe and make it the basis for 2 different weeknight meals.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You could make chicken or eggplant parmesan and serve it that way! Or make it into a sloppy joe-style sandwich! I bet it would be yummy as a hearty pizza sauce, too!

      leave a comment

  • Erica

    This looks great and is in my crock pot right now :-) The recipe says 6 servings, do you know the size of those servings? Are they 1 cup each, etc? Thanks!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      It's about 1 cup per serving!

      leave a comment

  • Catherine McCord's Keys To The Kitchen Aida Mollenkamp

    [...] you’ve got labeled zipper bags or containers already filled with everything you could need: pasta sauce, ripe fruit, raw vegetables, pesto, muffins, waffles, lasagna, pancakes, veggie or chicken nuggets [...]

    leave a comment

  • Lorraine

    Can you use plum tomatoes instead of diced?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You can, just make sure to use all the liquid!

      leave a comment

  • Sandy

    What is a bay leaf?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      It is a leaf that you can find the in spice aisle at any grocery! It adds tons of flavor to soups and sauces! Here is a Wikipedia article that talks more about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_leaf

      leave a comment

  • Cbm

    Hi! What is the % lean you use? I used 85% but it looks a little greasy to me. Also, I couldn't find tomato puree., only strained tomatoes. Is that an ok substitute or is that why it's a little runny? Should I just add more paste to thicken it up? Thanks so much!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I'm not exactly sure what strained tomatoes are, but I would imagine they are more watery than pureed tomatoes, so yes that could be contributing to the texture you're getting. I use 90% - 95% lean meat!

      leave a comment

  • Sabrina Carlin

    I have this in my crock pot right now! Yummy! Just wanted to see if it's possible to make the slow cooker and crock pot recipes searchable by both \"crock pot\" and \"slow cooker\". It took a lot of tries to refind this recipe, and it might be an easier way for others to search your recipes (if it's possible to use both terms). Happy Holidays!

    leave a comment

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  • Angie

    A big thank-you for this recipe. I make this all the time, my kids just LOVE it. I double the recipe in my slow cooker and always have some on-hand in the freezer. Such a lifesaver on those busy nights.

    leave a comment

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  • Liz

    Thank you and Happy New Year!

    leave a comment

  • Barbara Harris

    Happy times coming your way.

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