Today’s recipe for Slow Cooker Beefy Mac was inspired by a conversation that my husband Jack overheard a few months ago when he took our daughter Emma to dance class. Some of the moms that were waiting outside the classroom started talking about slow cooker recipes – and Jack listened in!
While everyone loved the convenience of their crockpot, the biggest complaint seemed to be that many slow cooker recipes are written for just a few hours of cooking time. But when you leave the house in the morning for work and don’t get home until 8 or 10 hours later – sometimes the dish can be overdone!
So this recipe – our Slow Cooker Beefy Mac – is meant to cook during a long day away from home! It’s also super simple to prepare – just place all of the ingredients (except for the pasta) in the slow cooker and set it to low for 10 hours. When you get home from a long day at work – you’ll end up with tender shreds of beef (similar to a pulled beef) in a rich tomato sauce that is absolutely delicious!
And, we give you two options for adding the pasta – you can cook the pasta right in the slow cooker (which will take some additional time) OR you can transfer the beef and sauce to a stove-top pot and cook the pasta right in the tomato sauce in about 10 minutes. After a long day at work – dinner is served and you’ll have enough leftovers to pack for lunch the next day!
- 1½ pounds chuck, cut into 4 or more large pieces
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 quart beef or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 teaspoon dry basil
- 3 cups water
- 1 pound Ditalini or elbow pasta
- Place all ingredients except pasta in slow cooker and set to low for ten hours.
- After ten hours remove beef and shred with two forks.
- With immersion blender, puree contents of crock pot and add beef back in.
- At this point, you have two choices. The first choice is to put the pasta in the crock pot with sauce and beef, cover and cook on high for two hours. Or pour contents of crock pot into a stove top pot and add pasta and cook until pasta is soft, about ten minutes. Be advised however that you need to stir the stove mixture often so it does not stick. Add a little more water or tomato sauce if needed to keep it moist. We did the stove top method over medium to medium high and added one more cup of water to achieve optimum results.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
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